Sociocultural Influences on Fertility in the Middle East

Infertility is acknowledged as a global health problem with a prevalence which is estimated to be one in every seven couples in the Western world and one in every four couples in developing countries. Geographical, sociocultural/ religious and ethnical dissimilarities contribute to these global variations in infertility prevalence. This study critically appraises’ the existing evidence regarding the association between female fertility and relevant sociocultural factors in Middle East countries focusing on aspects such as obesity, vitamin D deficiency and parental consanguinity which has been shown to be associated with female infertility and prematurely reduced ovarian reserve. In addition to the current standard evaluation of infertile couples, region-specific counselling is required and treatment modalities such as Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) and Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) may be of benefit. This study reviews the advances in PGS and PGD and the role played by these treatments in the management of the infertile couple. Considering the facts presented in this presentation, it is important to develop educational public health strategies for couples with the aim to increase public awareness about the impact of consanguinity, obesity and vitamin D deficiency. Future diagnosis, counseling and treatment of infertility should take region-specific risk factors into account.


Carol Coughlan

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