A study by researchers at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia has found a very high incidence of infertility in the Gulf. As high as 20% in fact.
Addressing a medical conference in Riyadh, Dr Hassan Jamal, a gynaecology and obstetrics professor at King Abdul Aziz University in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah said: “Infertility in both men and women in Saudi Arabia is very high as it estimated at around 20 per cent.”
He added: “Infertility in the region is very high mainly in Saudi Arabia’s eastern region and the other Gulf countries.”
Unfortunately, Dr. Jamal offered no possible explanation for this alarming statistic. He did however suggest somewhat bizarrely that men should be tested first for infertility before women.
While the high incidence of infertility in the Gulf region is obviously worrying, Dr. Jamal did say that with advances in technology, it can be solved. This view is echoed by researchers in the USA, who recently discussed the benefits of reproductive technologies such as IVF at a meeting at Stanford University.
One scientist said: “It is now technologically possible, in principal, for a brother and sister to be born 80 years apart.” Whether this is beneficial however is another question. Technology may allow great thing to be done but whether it is ethical to allow it remains to be seen.
One panellist, Dr. William Hurlbut said: “This new and mysterious form of laboratory reproduction, the mark of ethics is that it is coherent. We need to ask ourselves, is what we’re doing medically sound, is it sound for our species … or society … individual relations … for the offspring?”
However Dr. Valerie Baker, MD, a specialist in IVF technology countered this. She said: “If you get a cut on your arm, and you have a doctor sew it up, your arm still has to heal itself. The doctor’s stitches don’t heal it. That’s what we do—we’re a helping hand,”
Whatever the moral and ethical issues are, the fact is reproductive technology is here to stay.