11 September 2021 – Dubai: The 3rd HealthPlus Middle East Fertility Conference, organized by HealthPlus Fertility, part of United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical) and a Mubadala Health partner, has concluded today Saturday 11 September 2021. The 3-day hybrid conference was held at JW Marriot Hotel in Dubai under the theme “Fertility Without Borders” bringing together over 2500 participants virtually from across the globe and another 250 who attended in-person.
During the conference, physicians praised the level of healthcare provided at fertility centers in the UAE, adhering to quality measures and applying best practices in the field. Participants were pleased with the informative engaging educational sessions throughout the 3 days, which helps in keeping the medical community informed about the latest in the field of infertility.
“The conference has allowed us to achieve our set goals of exchanging knowledge about the latest technologies in fertility, IVF, ICSI, stem cells and genetics; while attracting many experts from inside and outside the UAE,” said Dr. Bohaira Elgeyoushi, Conference President, and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility (IVF) Consultant at HealthPlus Fertility Center in Dubai. “On behalf of HealthPlus Fertility, we thank and appreciate the participation of H.E. Dr. Maryam Matar, founder and president of the Sheikh Zayed Center for Genetic Research and the Emirates Genetic Diseases Association, for her support and for presenting a very informative lecture on epigenetics.”
During Her Excellency’s lecture about epigenetics and genetic changes due to the influence of environmental factors (nutrition, microbiome, sleep, cellular systems, etc.), Dr. Maryam Matar spoke about how they can be passed on to future generations and cause genetic disorders; and how the latest advanced genetic testing can help eliminate reproductive problems and improve clinical outcomes for the safety of the mother and child in the short and long term. “Science has proven to everyone that reproductive health begins from the grandmother’s generation and even before the mother’s birth, and continues for generations. Performing genetic testing is considered a gift to the family,’ Her Excellency added.
The conference attracted a large number of participants throughout the three days, while the last day witnessed back-to-back sessions, lectures, scientific debates and multiple hands-on workshops.
Dr. Wael Ismail Madkour, Medical Director and Fertility & Reproductive Endocrinology Consultant at HealthPlus Fertility Center in Dubai led one of the morning sessions titled “Fetal Health”. He said, “this was one of the important sessions where futuristic look into embryology was discussed. We also had a lecture presented by Dr. Luis Navarro, Molecular Biology Specialist from Spain, who talked to us about a scientific study “Embrace” showcasing how genes affect the health and may cause tumors. Within the same session, Dr. Sara Bisari, Genetics Lab Manager at HealthPlus Fertility Center in Abu Dhabi presented a paper about “Prioritizing Embryos in Preparation for their Transfer to the Womb” with all the mechanisms and timings that control the process.”
Dr. Irfan Aslam, IVF Lab Director at HealthPlus Fertility Center, Abu Dhabi chaired two debate sessions in which a number of embryologists from leading IVF centers in UAE participated. The first debate was about genetic testing of embryos, while the second was a debate showing the differences between frozen embryo transfer and fresh embryo transfer.
“The first debate focused on whether to genetically test or not the embryo from the embryologist point of view,” Dr. Irfan said. “The second debate was about fresh embryos versus frozen embryos. The discussion revealed that there are no differences of clinical pregnancy rates between frozen embryos and fresh embryos in cases where high-quality embryos were transferred. However, there are certain conditions in which fresh embryos cannot be transferred directly in the same cycle and should be frozen. Therefore, it is not advisable to adopt either a “freeze all strategy” or a “fresh embryo transfer”, as clinical indications should dictate the use of fresh or frozen embryo transfer.”
Mr. Ahmed Sulieman, IVF Lab Director at HealthPlus Fertility Center in Dubai conducted a 4-hour hands-on workshop during the conference. Mr. Ahmed said that “the introduction of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) 30 years ago was groundbreaking technology in the invitro fertilization (IVF) field. However, it still continues to improve due to multiple reasons including the quality of the spermatozoa which has been pointed out as critical, and the presence of high percentages of DNA-damaged spermatozoa in patients indicated for ICSI. In this workshop, we discussed the most updated technologies and approaches for sperm selection to ensure the highest quality of the spermatozoa used in ICSI and specifically, in terms of genetic integrity which aims to increase the pregnancy outcome in this cohort of patients.”