Dr David Robertson, Group Medical Director, Bourn Hall Fertility Centre Image Credit: Supplied

What is the prevalence of diabetes in the UAE?

The UAE has a very high prevalence of diabetes, with 25 per cent of the local population being diagnosed with this chronic disease. Underneath that, there is a whole catalogue of disorders like pre-diabetes, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance which affects people.

How does diabetes affect fertility?

Diabetes has a serious impact on male and female reproductive health. A woman with higher than normal glucose levels will find it hard to get pregnant as diabetes can prevent the embryo from implanting in the uterus, causing a miscarriage.

Any figures to substantiate that?

High glucose levels are reported to increase a woman’s chances of miscarriage by 30-60 per cent.

What about male fertility?

Men too can experience infertility issues due to high glucose levels. For some, retrograde ejaculation, where semen backs up into the bladder, making it impossible to get to the woman’s reproductive organs, becomes a problem, as does erectile dysfunction caused by both the diabetes itself as well as medications which may be used to control it.

What special treatment do you give couples with diabetes?

While it is important to understand the risks involved in high glucose levels and fertility, a couple trying to conceive should work with their medical team and fertility specialist to pave the way for a safe pregnancy.