Dr. Amiri: ‘UAE maintains leadership in the fields of assisted reproduction and fertility’
H.E. Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for the UAE Ministry of Health’s Public Health Policy and License Sector, stated that the country aims to offer the highest standards of health services in accordance with the best international practices in response to the changing aspirations and expectations of society. Within the framework of essential reforms, the government has issued Federal Law No. (11) for the year 2008 on Licensing Fertility Centers in the UAE to regulate the work of fertilization centers.
Through this legislation, the UAE has become one of a few Arab countries that have passed legislation in the field of assisted reproduction. The Law defines the terms and conditions governing fertilization centers under various categories:
The law states that establishing, operating or managing fertilization center requires obtaining a license from the Ministry of Health or local health authorities. This procedure is designed to make sure that the applicant satisfies all legal requirements in assisted reproduction, right from the recruitment of medical, technical and administrative staff to technical specifications and the availability of medical equipment and devices. Through the regulation, the UAE aims to achieve the overall objective of ensuring the right to access health services in assisted reproduction in accordance with the best international standards because the procedure requires high-precision technologies.
Supervision and Coordination Among Health Authorities
The law has provided for the creation of a technical committee to oversee and control fertilization centers in the UAE. Its membership shall comprise technical, Shari’ah and legal members, including representatives of all health authorities, the private sector, as well as specialist doctors and professors involved in the field of assisted reproduction.
H.E. Dr. Al Amiri states that the law has defined the assisted reproductive techniques to be followed by fertilization centers. In addition, it is open to any universally accepted fertilization technique as determined by the Cabinet upon the proposal of the Oversight and Control Committee. The techniques include all aspects related to the process of fertilization as well as how to preserve oocytes, sperm and embryos.
The Center is committed by law to ensure the quality of the services provided to clients by developing and raising the efficiency of technicians and is subject to performance evaluations, with a negative assessment possibly leading to license cancellation or suspension.
The legislation complements the provisions of Shari'ah by ensuring the highest degree of care and precaution in maintaining oocytes, embryos and sperms to prevent confusion on lineage.
Compliance with the Legislation
As assisted reproduction is a highly sensitive subject, the privacy of individuals should be protected at all levels in compliance with prevailing legalities. Violations of the law can lead to license cancellation or suspension.
The law for regularizing fertilization centers in the UAE includes implementing appropriate sanctions in case of violations.
Freezing of Embryos
The law defines the procedure of preserving embryos through freezing to protect against misuse, exploitation or replacement that can lead to confusion on lineage in cases where embryos are not immediately transferred to the wife due to medical reasons until she is deemed fit for transplant.
The legislation indicates that it takes into account the importance of responding to the needs of patients and provides them with the appropriate health services.