One baby born every 3.5 hours in Dubai
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One baby born every 3.5 hours in Dubai

One baby is born every 3.5 hours in the UAE’s second largest emirate. This article looks at why the frequency of births is so high in Dubai, and what this means for expectant parents looking to start a family.

New findings from the Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC) has revealed that one baby is born every 3.5 hours in the UAE’s second largest emirate. It has also been revealed that the number of births from expat mothers stood at 22,755 babies, nearly triple the amount of Emirati births, which stood at 7,728. This high number of expat births is not surprising, especially when considering that over 90% of Dubai’s population are expats. The following article looks at some of the reasons behind why the frequency of births is so high in Dubai, and what this means for expectant parents looking to start a family.

Looking behind the numbers

There’s a plethora of reasons that explain the high frequency of births in Dubai. Two key factors behind this include the increased use of IVF, and the rise in multiple birth rates.

Increased use of IVF in Dubai

The new figures released by the DSC has been tied with the announcement of opening a new IVI Fertility clinic in Dubai. This announcement comes after the international fertility treatment centre saw over 120 successful pregnancies in 2015 when it opened in Abu Dhabi in May. This facility is one of many fertility clinics in Dubai that delivers In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the most common fertility treatment in which the sperm is injected into the egg in a laboratory.

One of the major reasons behind the popularity of IVF in Dubai is the high percentage of infertility in the region, which continues to spike up the demand for IVF. In the UAE, 20% of all couples experience fertility problems, including low sperm count in men and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in women.

Women in the UAE were found to be at a higher risk of developing PCOS due to the higher level of diabetes in the region - a whopping 25% of adults here have diabetes. As diabetes produces a high amount of insulin, this has a negative impact on women’s egg production. Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as binge drinking and smoking are also damaging the sperm quality of men in the region.

The rise of multiple birth rates in Dubai

The increased use of IVF has also led to a rise in the number of multiple births in Dubai. In 2015, with over 52 twins and six triplets in Dubai were born through IVF. This twin baby boom trend is also a worldwide phenomenon -  the global twin birth rate in 2015 stood at 33.7 per 1,000 live births - a large increase from 18.9 per 1,000 births in 1980.

One reason particular to the UAE is that local laws ban the freezing of embryos. Despite standards set by the Health Authority which recommends implanting one embryo during IVF, some doctors may implant more than one or two embryos as they don’t want to lose them (as they are not able to freeze them), thus increasing the chances of a multiple pregnancy.

Another reason behind the growth in multiple births is that there is a growing trend in couples waiting until they are older before starting a family. As women get older, they produce more follicle-stimulating hormones (which boosts ovulation), meaning that they are more likely to have multiple pregnancies.

What this means for expectant parents

The high demand in healthcare and maternity treatment from expats and local citizens means that healthcare costs are increasing. This, combined with a range of factors including the recent mandatory insurance law in Dubai (more on mandatory insurance here), has resulted in an overutlization of care witnessed in the UAE region, where expats are visiting the doctors on average 4.6 times per year! This will mean longer waiting periods at maternity units, especially in public hospitals where expectant mothers are expected to book their delivery 3 months into their pregnancy.

This increased strain on healthcare and increase in number of insurance claims means that there is a noticeable trend towards insurers increasing insurance premiums, and it might not be surprising to see insurers start imposing longer waiting periods on maternity plans. Please note that although the minimum coverage mandated by DHA does call for maternity benefits, it does not require health insurance plans to cover certain coverage elements such as IVF treatment. Therefore it is important to check what’s covered in your policy, and purchase a top-up plan to make up for deficiencies in your existing plan.

It can be hard to look through all the specific details on what exactly is covered in your plan, so if you would like some help, feel free to contact one of our experienced insurance advisors at UAE Medical Insurance today!



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