Marriages within family can lead to infertility problems

ABU DHABI – Obesity, diabetes, age and consanguinity are major factors affecting fertility in the region, said an expert.

By Olivia Olarte

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Published: Sat 27 Aug 2011, 10:19 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:11 AM

Professor Dr Human Fatemi, medical director of the Centre for Reproductive Medicine (CRM) at the University Hospital Brussels in Belgium, said these trends, which are “significantly different” than Western Europe, have been observed by the University’s CRM branch in Kuwait.

He was speaking at a press conference to announce the opening of a new reproductive clinic in January 2012 at the soon-to-open Burjeel Hospital in the Capital.

Dr Charles Stanford, CEO of Burjeel Hospital, said that the reported statistics from around the world suggest that approximately 10 per cent of married couples have fertility problems.

“We do know that in 2009 alone, almost 5,000 women in Abu Dhabi were treated with In vitro fertilisation (IVF),” Dr Stanford said.

He added that due to health, social and other reasons, “the fertility rate in women in the UAE has dropped from 5.2 per woman in the 1980s to 1.9 in the past five years.”

Prof Fatemi underscored the Kuwait clinic’s findings which links consanguinity, or marriages within the family, not only to genetic defects but also to infertility.

“It seems that within the first degree consanguinity for second or first generation, you decrease significantly the ovarian reserve and the sperm production,” he stated.

He added obesity also reduces chances of having a child.

“If you look at the rate on the chance of succeeding, it’s directly linked to the body mass index (BMI) of the woman being treated. So even

a reduction of two kilos will enhance your chance of getting pregnant,” he pointed out.

Prof Fatemi also stressed the importance of healthy lifestyle for those who want to conceive and the significant impact of age specifically on the women, starting at the age of 35 and 36.

Diabetes also increases the rate of infertility in male and female patients, he added.

To start with, the new reproductive clinic in Abu Dhabi will offer IVF treatment, and later on endoscopic surgery and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

When the new CRM opens to the public early next year, the clinic expects to see between 500-1000 cycles (couple undergoing treatment) per year.

The CRM is a specialised centre in reproductive healthcare since 1983. It has performed groundbreaking work in the development of reproductive techniques and their application.

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