Statistical evidence from Bourn Hall Fertility Centre, Dubai, highlights an increasing number of IVF cases among couples aged 18 to 34
PCOS, Endometriosis among the medical factors, cultural reasons include family balancing, familial pressure, among others
Dubai, UAE, December 25, 2016: An increasing number of couples in the UAE within the younger age group are turning to IVF treatment to conceive, state the doctors at Bourn Hall Fertility Centre, Dubai. As per the latest statistics revealed by the Fertility Centre, 43 percent of the couples who underwent IVF treatment in 2016 belonged to the age bracket of 18 to 34, which is a rise from 36 percent recorded last year. The data also significantly deviates from what has been witnessed in the UK and the US, suggesting cultural as well as medical implications for the shift in this region.
“Medical reasons such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis are two significant factors of infertility even in younger women. Besides these, there is increased awareness of the impact of female age on fertility and many couples now realise that a pregnancy can be achieved more easily under the age of 30,” explained Dr David Robertson, Group Medical Director at Bourn Hall Fertility Centre. “In addition, there is an increasing culture of immediacy – couples are less inclined to wait for a couple of years after marriage and see if a pregnancy occurs naturally, even if there is no obvious medical problem with either partner. This is perhaps more noticeable in the Gulf region and the Indian sub-continent – although the age of marriage is increasing, it is still much younger than average, as compared to other parts of the world.
“Moreover, since the UAE laws allow gender selection for family balancing, it has an attractive appeal in this region. IVF also increases the chances of twin pregnancies, which is an effective driver as well, as many couples see this as desirable” added Dr David.
PCOS, which can reduce fertility at a young age, may necessitate assisted reproductive techniques. According to news reports, the UAE has one of the highest rates of PCOS in the world – some studies suggest that the incidence of the health issue may be as high as 60 percent in Gulf women and, around 30 percent in Indian women. Compounded by the increasing cases of diabetes and obesity in the region, more couples than ever before are facing difficulty conceiving naturally. Statistical evidence has also proves that women with PCOS have experienced high success rate using IVF treatments.
Commenting on the psychological impact on young couples unable to conceive, Dr David said that it can be quite devastating. “Young couples understandably expect that a pregnancy will be achieved quite easily, especially if they see their peers and family members are having children. No matter the reason, infertility is often accompanied by a feeling of failure – at a personal level, but also with regard to family expectations. In this region, there is usually great family pressure to have children and infertility can lead to divorce and family conflict. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that couples suffering from infertility have access to supportive counselling and education regarding possible solutions,” advised Dr David.
Calling out for more quantifiable data on fertility issues in the UAE, Amin Neghabat, Group CEO, Bourn Hall International, said: “Independent research by fertility centres is an important source to indicate which way the wind is blowing. This study by Bourn Hall Fertility Centre, Dubai, is based on our internal data and derived from the cases which have been treated at our Centre in the last one year. Such information is essential in identifying and understanding the region-centric fertility issues”.