The In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) Unit of the UAE’s Tawam Hospital in Al Ain has issued last notification regarding disposing of surplus frozen embryos.
IVF is a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body -in vitro. IVF is a major treatment for infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed.
There may be leftover embryos or eggs from IVF procedures if the woman for whom they were originally created has successfully carried one or more pregnancies to term. Through a process known as cryopreservation of embryos, patients who fail to conceive during their first attempt at IVF can use such embryos at a later date without having to go through a full IVF cycle to become pregnant. Or, if pregnancy occurred, they could return later for another pregnancy.
Many patients end infertility treatment with frozen embryos remaining and must decide what to do with these unused leftover embryos. According to a study conducted by the Rand Consulting Group, an estimated 400,000 surplus frozen embryos lay in the US alone, pending indecision on the part of the patients on what to do with them after they have either successfully reproduced from other frozen embryos or have given up trying.
Hospitals across the world usually dispose of surplus embryos on a regular basis, after consultations with their patients and in accordance with the laws.
The UAE’s Tawam Hospital too is following medical and scientific standards, as well as UAE Ministry of Health regulations in this regard, the notification states.
“With reference to the Ministry of Health circular No. 117 for 2012 regarding disposing of surplus frozen embryos (fertilised ova), Tawam Hospital has decided to extend the grace period for another one month as of date of this re-announcement publication,” said the notification published in local dailies dated September 13, 2012.
“Accordingly, concerned couples wishing to use their frozen embryo(s) in the immediate future are urged to contact the Tawam Hospital IVF unit within one month…,” it said, and listed contact numbers for the same.
The hospital clarified that, unless contacted within the said period, it will be discarding surplus frozen embryos in accordance with the regulations. “Failure to contact the Tawam Hospital IVF unit within the above specified grace period will result in the frozen embryo(s) being discarded in accordance with the professional and scientific standards without any legal liabilities for Tawam Hospital,” it stated, adding “Please note that this is the last notification.”