The rise in infertility rates is an issue plaguing many modern societies, especially in more developed countries
27 September 2018| Last updated on 30 September 2018
The situation is particularly grim in the UAE, where one in five couples are seeking fertility treatment, according to a study conducted by a leading healthcare clinic in UAE.
The same study also predicts that women in Dubai seeking treatment every year could almost double in the near future, from 5,975 in 2015 to 9,139 by 2030. It is believed that the infertility rate is correlated with the low birth rate in the Emirate, which was just 1.8 per 1,000 population in 2011.
Failing to get pregnant is indeed a worrying and heartbreaking situation, which is why more and more women are turning to fertility clinics in the region for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments.
In order to tout more customers, these clinics use different methods such as running lucky draws to offer free IVF cycles or providing a refund in case of failure. However, is it true that this treatment technique is applicable to everyone and provides a once-and-for-all solution to infertility?
In this feature by leading insurance broker Pacific Prime Dubai, we will take a look at how IVF works, who it's suitable for, as well as its success rate and cost.
How does IVF work?
In Vitro Fertilization is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) that combines the egg and sperm outside of the body. Typically, it involves the following four steps:
Step 1 - Control ovarian hyperstimulation (COH)
Fertility medications will be prescribed to encourage the woman's ovaries into producing as many eggs as possible since some of them will not develop after retrieval. Ultrasound imaging will be taken to examine the ovaries, while blood samples will be used to assess hormone levels.
Step 2 - Egg retrieval
Once the eggs are mature enough, a minor surgical procedure will be performed which uses ultrasound imaging to guide a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity to retrieve the eggs.
Step 3 - Sperm preparation
The male is asked to produce a sample of sperm, which is then prepared for combining with the eggs.
Step 4 – Insemination
The sperm and eggs are mixed together and stored in a laboratory dish to encourage fertilization. The eggs will be examined after 16-20 hours to determine whether they have been fertilized. The fertilized eggs (embryos) will be allowed to grow for up to six days in the lab before embryo transfer.
Step 5 - Embryo Transfer
The embryo will be carefully placed into the uterus with the use of a catheter three to five days following egg retrieval and fertilization.
Who is IVF treatment suitable for?
There is a wide range of contributing factors to infertility, such as obesity, hormonal imbalance, advanced age, consanguinity, damage from previous pregnancies, and many more. While IVF treatments seem to provide a simple solution to infertility, not all women are suitable candidates. Below is a list of individuals deemed unsuitable for IVF:
Women who don’t produce healthy eggs
Low ovarian reserve and/or eggs of poor quality can make fertilization difficult even under ideal conditions in the lab. Under these circumstances, donor eggs can be used to boost the success rate of IVF.
Severely obese women
Obesity has an adverse impact on egg quality, and fertility medications may act differently on obese individuals.
Women with certain body conditions
Women with health conditions such as fibroid tumors, abnormal hormone levels, ovarian dysfunction or uterine abnormalities might not be suitable for IVF.
The success rate of IVF
While some fertility centers allege that they have a success rate of 80 percent, the real pregnancy rate of IVF is actually much lower. Even women under the age of 35 with good ovarian reserves and no other comorbidity have a success rate of 35-40 percent only.
If the woman is over 35 years old, the rate will drop to around 20 percent. For those in their early 40s, they have only a 10 percent success rate of getting the embryo transferred. The success rate further plummets to 2 percent for women over the age of 44.
How much does IVF cost?
Those who require multiple cycles face a heavy financial burden, as IVF is in almost all cases not covered by insurance. As a result, thousands of couples in the Emirate are paying as much as Dh45,000 per cycle.
Does medical insurance cover IVF in Dubai?
As mentioned above, virtually all health plans in Dubai exclude IVF treatment costs. That said, some insurers will cover maternity care if you fall pregnant under ART treatment - though all IVF costs are not covered.
As an insurance brokerage, Pacific Prime Dubai knows the ins and outs of different insurance products, and can offer you impartial and pragmatic advice.
With 18 years of experience, we have helped countless parents overcome their maternity challenges by picking the insurance solutions that best match their requirements. We also excel in handling a broad spectrum of parenting insurance matters from maternity insurance to newborn child coverage!
Contact us today to get the answers to your insurance-related questions, a free quote, and a price quotation!