Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The procedure is mostly indicated for women who have suffered recurrent miscarriages or couples with a history of genetic diseases in the family, said Pankaj Shrivastav, director the Sharjah gynaecology and fertility hospital Conceive.
The procedure is mostly indicated for women who have suffered recurrent miscarriages or couples with a history of genetic diseases in the family, said Pankaj Shrivastav, director the Sharjah gynaecology and fertility hospital Conceive.

Genetic testing sometimes necessary, say UAE doctors

Testing is necessary in a country like the UAE, where certain genetic disorders are common.

Doctors say genetic testing is key in a society where consanguineous marriages are common.

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which allows doctors to identify embryos that carry common genetic disorders such as thalassaemia, sickle cell anaemia or Down syndrome before they are implanted, is now widely available at UAE fertility clinics.

The average cost of one cycle of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) with PGD is around Dh40,000.

"It is very important because you have intermarriages, people marry first cousins, second cousins, and so more diseases could be transmitted to the children," said Dr Michael Fakih, founder of Fakih IVF in Dubai.

Nearly half of UAE nationals are carriers of the blood disorder thalassaemia, and a 2007 study by Al Wasl Hospital, now Latifa Hospital, showed that 1 in 319 live births among nationals has Down syndrome, compared to 1 in 1,000 worldwide. The study said advanced maternal age was a major contributing factor.

PGD is often recommended for women over 38, said Dr Fakih, to rule out any chromosomal abnormalities as the risks increase with age.

In addition, he said, PGD can increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

"It helps to select the best embryo which is normal, so if the embryo is healthy genetically then it will more likely give you a pregnancy," he said.

The procedure is mostly indicated for women who have suffered recurrent miscarriages or couples with a history of genetic diseases in the family, said Dr Pankaj Shrivastav, director the Sharjah gynaecology and fertility hospital Conceive.

"Clinics should only do it when indicated," he said. "It's unfair to convince couples do this when it is unnecessary."

Different types of PGD tests are available depending on what couples are looking for. Comprehensive chromosomal screening is used to detect chromosomal abnormality, however how the baby might be affected is unknown. Meanwhile, the single-gene test uses probes to detect known single-gene disorders, such as Down syndrome.

Generally, PGD is more than 90 per cent accurate. However doctors warn that there are some limitations.

Certain tests may reduce the chances for successful pregnancy in older women, because a portion of the embryo is biopsied. The exception to this is the trophoblast biopsy, which is done on day five of the embryo's development. At this point the embryo has developed into so many cells that a biopsy does not affect it.

Another limitation is mosaicism - where one embryo has different chromosomes in different cells, which may lead to inaccurate results.

"So it's not always as simple as coming in and saying, 'I want it and I can do it', there are limitations," said Dr David Robertson, medical director of the Bourne Hall fertility clinic in Dubai. "And obviously if we see people that express an interest in doing it we go through all of this with them and sometimes someone might elect not to go ahead."

mismail@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National