A cabinet decision in the UAE will soon allow married couples who have gone through IVF to freeze and store surplus embryos for future use. The government is set to outline the exact criteria which include reversing the embryo freezing law, and updating options for unmarried women choosing to freeze their eggs.
Dr David Robertson, Group Medical Director at Bourn Hall Fertility Centre, comments: “A change in the law permitting embryo freezing would be very welcome. Fertility clinics worldwide now recognize the advantage of transferring 1-2 embryos in order to minimize pregnancy complications. This means in many cases, there are surplus embryos which could be frozen for future use. Not all IVF cycles are successful, and in these cases embryo freezing would allow further treatment to be carried out with the patient having to go through a course of injections to stimulate multiple egg development.
Dr Robertson notes: “In this region in particular, there is a high incidence of PCOS, and these patients are more likely to face complications with repeated courses of hormone stimulation.
Furthermore, we are seeing an increase in demand for genetic testing of embryos, and this is best done at a later stage of embryo development. For technical reasons, these embryos need to be frozen while the result is awaited, in order to get the most accurate results. In a region where consanguinity and genetic diseases are highly prevalent, this is an important consideration.”
Hoda Abou Jamra, Group CEO of Bourn Hall International and Founding Partner of TVM Capital Healthcare believes in the wellbeing of women going through IVF, “I advocate the legalization of embryo freezing because I consider the protection of women’s health a fundamental right. IVF treatment is an emotional, physical, financial, and even spiritual journey. Any woman going through it is a warrior and she should not be subject to another hormone cycle when it is not needed. A healthy frozen embryo (from a previous cycle) will be a much better solution for her; physically and mentally.”
“We should not ignore that embryo freezing (like other reproductive treatments) is not a guarantee to conceiving a healthy child. It is one more option to be considered and couples need to be aware of it, especially in a region with high prevalence for genetic diseases and certain medical conditions such as cancer.” Abou Jamra adds.
There are also financial implications for undergoing multiple fresh cycles of IVF, which can be avoided if embryo freezing were allowed. There are some clinical situations, where frozen embryo transfer could be more successful than a fresh transfer.
About Bourn Hall Fertility Centre, Dubai
Bourn Hall Fertility Centre has been a pioneer in the field of fertility, and home to the first IVF baby, Louise Brown who was born in the UK 40 years ago. The clinic continues to introduce innovative technologies and procedures to further improve chances for couples struggling with infertility. Bourn Hall has the first and largest clean room laboratory in the MENA region which maximises high-quality embryo development, and the only stand-alone fertility centre to receive the prestigious American quality accreditation – JCI. The centre also conducts regular seminars, campaigns and meet-ups to raise the level of awareness on fertility-related issues.
Learn more on www.bournhalll-clinic.ae and follow us on social media to know about our seminars, promotions and activities: Facebook @bournhall.ivf.dubai | Instagram: @bournhall_fertilitycentre