-Region specific causes of infertility include Vitamin D deficiency, consanguinity and obesity

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: It is estimated that infertility affects 15% of the global population of reproductive age, resulting in the introduction of specialty clinics to assist with reproductive health, such as ART Fertility Clinics in this region. ART Fertility Clinics are recognized internationally as leaders in assisted reproductive technology, research, and development. With clinics in Dubai, Abu Dhabi Al Ain, Oman, and India and documented pregnancy rates of 71% and live birth rates of 55% ART Group is fast becoming a world leader in reproductive medicine. The clinics specialize in a range of infertility treatments including diagnosing and treating male and female infertility, undertaking root-cause analysis of infertility, providing counselling support, and delivering end-to-end services to infertile couples. Fertility preservation for both oncology and social reasons is offered by all ART clinics.

Commenting on the rise of infertility in the region, Dr. Carol Coughlan, MD, Medical Director, Dubai Clinic, said, “We are seeing a continuous upward trajectory in primary and secondary infertility in our region due to cultural and lifestyle-related issues. The global estimates of infertility are around 15% whereas our data for the region suggest infertility to be nearly as high as 35 - 40%. We aim to ensure that our services are available to all couples who need support to conceive and provide these couples with the very best of care.”

ART Fertility Clinics’ research shows that there are many causes of infertility globally including advanced maternal age, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and male factor highlighting the importance of requesting a semen analysis. Other factors may vary among countries and might be associated with climate, social, cultural, economic, or religious disparities.

Interestingly, an in-depth study conducted by the health facility has shown that in the GCC, there are additional factors specific to this particular region that contribute significantly to the documented increasing infertility rates. This study highlighted the need to include region-specific counselling and treatment modalities in the current standard evaluation of infertile couples.

Parental consanguinity continues to be an embedded sociocultural trend in the local population in the UAE, with an over 50% incidence. Parental consanguinity is associated with female infertility as this study demonstrated that the daughters of consanguine couples have a reduced ovarian reserve as compared to their similarly-aged counterparts.

Vitamin D is increasingly recognized as an important vitamin in human reproduction. Due to insufficient exposure to direct sunlight, Vitamin D deficiency is also a paramount cause of infertility in the region. Middle Eastern countries have the highest vitamin D deficiency rates in the world attributed to the dress code of wearing concealing clothing, insufficient dietary intake of vitamin D, and the increasing time spent indoors. Specific measures aim to counteract these issues such as taking vitamin D supplements and encouraging an active outdoor lifestyle.

The prevalence of obesity is rising globally with the Middle Eastern regions notably reporting extremely high obesity rates. A sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical exercise, and high-calorie diets are common contributory factors to the increasing prevalence of obesity.  An elevated body mass index seems to be related to an increased risk of infertility due to hormonal irregularities and ovulatory dysfunction. It has also been documented that obese women undergoing IVF are more likely to respond inadequately to controlled ovarian hyperstimulation and experience higher miscarriage rates. Clinicians must take into account lifestyle factors that can adversely affect treatment success but can be modified to enhance pregnancy rates and improve the overall health and wellbeing of the Middle Eastern population. ART Fertility Group holds many educational conferences and meetings to educate both doctors and patients on the many factors contributing to the increasing incidence of infertility rates documented in this region.  As a group, they feel a responsibility to share their knowledge and research findings to increase public awareness of the health risks to which they are exposed and with correct measures can be prevented.

Taking account of the various factors contributing to the significant decline of fertility in the region, ART  

Fertility clinics offer a comprehensive range of evidence-based treatments and consultations with very experienced doctors and embryologists who are all working with a common goal of providing their patients with the very best chance.