Sunday 29 May 2022 - 9:09:13 am

Arab Health to address impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and fertility


DUBAI, 19th January, 2022 (WAM) -- As the MENA region’s official meeting place for women’s health practitioners, the Arab Health Obs & Gyne Conference returns to Dubai for its 14th edition to discuss current trends in women’s health – among these, the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and fertility.

Held under the theme ‘Updates, consensus & controversies in Obstetrics & Gynecology’, the Obs & Gyne Conference is a regular feature at the MENA region’s leading exhibition for the healthcare industry, Arab Health, which returns to the Dubai World Trade Centre from 24th to 27th January 2022 as a co-located event for the healthcare and laboratory industries.

According to research from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), public health crises and economic shocks have long been recognised as conditions that alter reproductive behaviour. Indeed, data from the US, Europe and East Asia reveals sharp declines in births starting in October 2020, compared to the same months of the previous year, indicating that COVID-19 has prompted short-term fertility decline in many countries.

Meanwhile, research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows one in five Australian women changed their plans of having children because of COVID-19, and one in seven women indicated that COVID-19 likely impacted when they would have children, with most of the study cohort (92%) choosing to delay having children.

This was supported by the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, which reported on the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and births for 22 high-income countries, finding particularly strong declines in southern Europe: Italy (-9.1%), Spain (-8.4%) and Portugal (-6.6%).

Speaking ahead of the conference, Professor Dr. Human M. Fatemi, Group Medical Director, ART Fertility Clinics, Abu Dhabi, UAE, discussed how the pandemic had impacted the intentions of people to have children.

He said, "The pandemic has definitely postponed the desire to be parents, and the desire of having a child. For some patients, especially women who have reduced ovarian reserve and are older, the pandemic will significantly impact fulfilling their desire to have a child.

"As a specialist in infertility, I would not be worried about COVID-19 and getting pregnant. The key message is to maintain hygiene, wear masks, ensure social distancing and be cautious. If you have a reduced ovarian reserve and desire to get pregnant, one should not delay it."

The 14th Obs & Gyne Conference will host several key sessions covering fertility, reproduction and COVID-19, including a session on ‘COVID-19 and the fetus’, which will be presented by Professor Asma Khalil, Professor of Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, St George’s University Hospital, London, UK, and ‘COVID-19 and the impact on fertility’, presented by Dr Johnny T. Awwad, Executive Chair of Women’s Services & Chief of Reproductive Medicine at Sidra Medicine & Research Center, Qatar.

Arab Health, co-located with Medlab Middle East 2022, will attract global healthcare professionals and feature 12 CME conferences, over 550 international and regional speakers, and more than 250 unique sessions.

WAM/Amjad Saleh