91% of UAE residents don't know when their biological clock starts ticking

The newly opened, Orchid Fertility Centre at Dubai Healthcare City, is encouraging all men and women in the UAE to get the facts on fertility, after a nationwide survey revealed a lack of awareness amongst 91% of respondents, who failed to correctly identify the age fertility begins to decline.

For women, fertility starts to decline gradually around the age of 27 before dropping more dramatically after age 35[1]. The research commissioned by the Orchid Fertility Centre, which involved more than 1,000 men and women in the UAE, found only 9% of respondents correctly pointed out a woman’s fertility begins to decline in their late 20s, while 38% of men and women believed a man’s fertility declines in their late 50’s and 60’s despite it dropping from age 402. A further 15% thought it did not decline at all.

While age can affect the success of fertility treatments, such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), awareness of this factor in the UAE also remains low. The survey reported that only 15% of respondents correctly understood that IVF does not easily resolve infertility in a person’s 40s; highlighting a prevalent misconception about IVF in the UAE.

According to Dr Bohaira El Geyoushi, Medical Director at Orchid Fertility Centre, the results demonstrate a real need to address misconceptions about fertility and IVF to ensure that men and women are fully informed when planning a family.

“The fertility awareness survey results show an alarming misconception that women can delay getting pregnant until their late 30s and rely on IVF to conceive. However, as a woman ages so do her eggs, and this will impact on the woman’s chance of conceiving both naturally and with IVF. It’s not just about women either. For couples undergoing IVF, the possibility of not being able to conceive is more than five times higher if the female partner is aged 41 or older[2],” Dr Bohaira El Geyoushi said.

“With our clinic recently opening in Dubai, we wanted to commission research to gain a local understanding of people’s perceptions of fertility. From the results, it is clear that there is a need for more clarity on the matter and we urge all couples to educate themselves so they can make informed choices and decisions when planning a family.”

Orchid Fertility works closely with internationally renowned Northwestern Medicine, an American academic medical centre, providing a working collaboration into the world’s latest fertility practices and ongoing fertility research.

“We’re thrilled to be affiliated with Northwestern Medicine which allows our team of experts to cross-train and share knowledge with leaders in their field, setting a new standard for the highest quality fertility care and outcomes across the UAE,” Mark Adams, CEO of Anglo Arabian Healthcare which owns Orchid, said.

“Orchid’s team of fertility experts are internationally trained and are dedicated to providing first class fertility care through the latest evidence-based medicine and advanced technology combined with a holistic pathway that considers the physical, emotional, psychological and psychosocial needs of every couple with the intention to deliver healthy babies into healthy families.”

Orchid’s evidence based holistic approach may involve dietary adjustment, stress management, psychological counselling, psychosocial support and acupuncture. The fertility awareness survey found that 68 % of respondents believed a holistic approach to fertility would improve chances of getting pregnant.

“These results show that there is an understanding of the benefits of a holistic approach towards fertility. Our experts recognise that no two cases are the same and know emotional support and holistic care are essential to a couple’s well-being throughout their journey. We’re committed to supporting our clients medically, physically, and emotionally from pre-conception planning to fertility treatment,” Mark Adams added.

The fertility awareness survey also revealed that half of people in the UAE did not realise that being overweight (51%) and smoking (48%) can affect fertility in both men and women. Fifty-seven percent of respondents also did not identify diabetes as an infertility factor.

“At Orchid Fertility, we believe a patient’s general health is greatly affected by his or her lifestyle choices. Such choices are an integral aspect of holistic fertility care. Our experts work closely with every couple to tailor treatment plans.”

Orchid Fertility Centre in affiliation with Northwestern Medicine, Chicago opened its doors on 15th November in Dubai Healthcare City. To find out more about Orchid’s treatments and services, visit http://www.orchid-fertility.com.

4 things men and women need to know:

1) Fertility isn’t just an issue for women.

It isn’t just harder to get pregnant when you’re older if you’re a woman – it gets harder for men too. The quality of a man’s sperm decreases with age. As a man ages, it takes longer for his partner to get pregnant. There’s also an increased risk of not conceiving at all.

2) Be aware - being healthy doesn’t guarantee you’re fertile.

Just because you have overall good health, don’t assume that it is a sign that you (or your partner, for that matter) are fertile. One in 10 healthy couples of reproductive age will experience fertility problems.

3) Put that cigarette out... smoking is a no-go.

Men and women who smoke – and women who are exposed to other people’s smoke – are more likely to take longer to get pregnant. Both active smoking and passive smoking increases a woman’s risk of infertility. In fact, passive smoking is equally harmful to a woman’s fertility similar to active smoking.

4) Weight can also affect your fertility.

For men, being overweight or obese can also cause hormonal changes that reduce fertility.

For women, obesity can affect fertility by causing hormonal imbalances and problems with ovulation, particularly for obese women having their first baby.

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