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Picture for illustrative purposes: IVF Image Credit: Pixabay

Abu Dhabi: Dr Mouza Mohammad Al Ameri, a member of the House from Abu Dhabi, demanded more IVF clinics be set up to meet vision to raise birth rate among citizens over the coming years.

Demand for fertility services continues to increase and to meet the growing demand, more fertility clinics need to open across the country, especially in remote areas, Al Ameri said.

The member cited women, aged 45 or above, who are discouraged from undergoing infertility operations. “Also women who have gone through four or more failing IVF cycles are forced to resort to private IVF clinics, for lack of public clinics.”

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Moaza Mohammad Saeed Hamro Al Amri Image Credit: WAM

She demanded more public clinics be set up especially in the northern emirates.

Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention said the UAE has 25 IVF clinics, three public and 22 private, across the country and there are no long waiting lists. “UAE spares no effort in providing the best health care to citizens, and infertility patients are even sent abroad if it is necessary,” Al Owais said.

The minister, however, vowed to study the need for setting up more IVF clinics in remote areas in the northern emirates.

“Whoever needs assisted reproductive technology over and above that is available in the UAE, the country will bear the expenses of treating patients and sending them abroad. The UAE has achieved a high ratio of number of IVF clinics to population,” Al Owais said.

More than 40 years ago, when the world’s first test-tube” baby was born, the success rate was around nine percent. Now, the rate for pregnancy through fertility services is above 50 per cent.

The number of reported infertility cases in the Middle East is the highest in the world. In the GCC, it has been estimated that 6-7 million couples in the 20-40 age group are suffering from infertility.

Today, among the GCC member states, UAE has the highest number of infertility incidence.

IVF specialists estimate almost 15-20 per cent of couples regionally have difficulty conceiving naturally. According to industry reports, the number of cases among the local population is even higher since more and more people are now opting to delay having a baby for many reasons. For many couples, consanguinity, Vitamin D deficiency, genetic, social, and environmental factors play the trigger factors of infertility. Sedentary lifestyle also contributes to the rising number of infertility cases, experts say.