Dubai - The main causes of infertility in the UAE are polycystic ovaries (PCOs) in women as well as male infertility
Take home a baby or get your cash back, is what a fertility centre is offering couples planning to undergo an invitro fertilization treatment (IVF) in Dubai.
Bourn Hall Fertility Centre on Wednesday announced the launch of the "shared risk' IVF programme that offers couples discounts of between 50 to 100 per cent for three cycles.
"It's either a baby you take home or get a refund," said Amin Neghabat, Group CEO for Bourn Hall International citing financial strain as a burden on couples.
Experts said that a woman, who has signed up for a 100 per cent shared risk programme, does not get pregnant even after three treatment cycles will get a full cash refund of Dh78,000 which includes the cost of medicines, lab tests, anesthesia services as well as ICSI which are normally excluded in episodic care. Other plans include a 70 per cent shared risk at Dh72,000 and 50 per cent shared risk at Dh68,000.
On average, pregnancy success rates escalate anywhere from 65 percent to 80 per cent by completion of the third cycle, said the experts. Though such shared risk programmes are offered in the UK and US by BournHall, it is the first centre to do so in the UAE.
Six couples have already enrolled in the programme that had a soft launch four weeks ago. "We had 24 applications of which 11 have been approved and six are already enrolled," said Amin, adding that those part of the programme are Indians, Pakistanis and Filipinos. Emiratis make up 25 per cent of the patients treated at the centre.
"By limiting the amount of money 'at risk,' this programme preserves financial resources for other family-building options should IVF fail," he said.
He also said that infertile couples who don't have access to medical insurance coverage for fertility services can avail of this option. "Normally three episodic cycles will cost Dh90,000 and the patient loses the entire amount paid if each cycle fails," he explained.
However, not all couples meet the criteria to apply for this programme. A woman aged upto 39 years (maximum) can start the treatment and even extend it until a year later. Other criteria are clinical such as the ovary cycle.
While factors such as age and embryo health add to the equation, research indicates that on average about a third of patients experience live birth after their first IVF cycle.
The success rates generally increase and can escalate anywhere from 65 percent to 80 percent by the third IVF.
"We have to assess if the patients are following the agreed upon criteria before starting the next cycle which depends on the readiness of the couple," said Dr David Robertson, Group Medical Director at Bourn Hall Centre.
He also said that research proves that stress and IVF success rate directly affect the other. "Rise in the so-called 'stress hormone' cortisol can reduce the chances of conceiving by almost one-third."
The main causes of infertility in the UAE are polycystic ovaries (PCOs) in women as well as male infertility.
Recent findings show that around 50 per cent of women in the UAE face issues pertaining to infertility.
In Dubai alone, the incidence of infertile women seeking treatment per year could nearly double from 5,975 cases in 2015 to 9,139 cases by 2030
A United Nations in 2015 study shows that the global IVF market is estimated to grow up to $21.6 billion by 2020