HEALTH speaks with Dr. David Robertson, Group Medical Director and IVF Consultant, Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic who reveals why so many couples are travelling to Dubai for fertility treatments.
With Dubai gaining a strong foothold in many facets of medical tourism, Dr. Robertson explains that typically, 10 percent of the patients they see are overseas tourists. “We’ve recently seen an increase in people coming from Nigeria, India, and Oman,” he tells. “The IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) package is our most popular treatment for medical tourists, followed by genetic screening.”
This drive in the demand for fertility treatments, suggests Dr. Robertson, is helped by the regulatory bodies in the UAE who mandate strict protocols on the quality of care to ensure patients are always in the best of hands. “We have experienced doctors, stateof- the-art facilities and world class technology in the fields of embryology and infertility treatments,” he points out.
THE TREATMENTS AND CARE
In terms of prolonged treatments requiring a longer duration, how are these patients managing? The duration of the IVF or IUI treatment can last between three to four weeks, explains Dr. Robertson. “For a couple seeking IVF, the woman usually stays for the duration of the treatment since she needs to take medications and have routine blood tests taken,” he says while the husband can come just for the egg and sperm collection procedure, and doesn’t need to be there during the whole treatment.
The UAE, explains Dr. Robertson, has been very forward thinking and protective of patients as there are very strict regulations for embryologists and doctors to practice in this field. “This gives patients coming here the reassurance of the high level of care offered,” he notes.
With unwavering transparency interwoven into the system of medical tourism, Dr. Roberson indicates that they aim to make it as simple as possible for medical tourists to visit them. “We ask them to do initial blood screenings in their home country to save time, so they are ready to start treatment when they arrive,” he reveals. “To make it easier to communicate, we’re happy to have Skype conversations or communicate online to answer any questions they have.”
RECENT GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES
Dr. Robertson explains that the government is very active in promoting the UAE as a medical tourism hub, which he is happy to support. “We hear IVF is the most popular treatment that medical tourists are traveling for, so the number of overseas patients visiting us should increase in coming months,” he notes. In fact, he strongly feels that medical tourism is definitely set to grow stronger in the coming years, as the protocols for experienced doctors, and high quality facilities is getting stricter. This, he adds, will position the UAE as a destination for quality clinical care, and patients will appreciate this, as the region is already a popular tourism hub.
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