Muslims embrace brave new world of IVF

IVF procedures are spreading rapidly in the Muslim world, as both Sunnis and Shi’ites embrace assisted reproductive technology as a means of overcoming the suffering caused by fertility, an international conference of fertility experts heard today. Medical anthropologist, Dr Marcia Inhorn, told the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology that legal adoption was not allowed in Middle Eastern Muslim countries, although children were loved and valued. As a result, IVF remained many couples’ last hope of having children, and IVF centres have opened in nearly 20 nations in the Muslim Middle East, ranging from small, oil-rich Bahrain and Qatar to larger but less prosperous Morocco and Egypt.

Should men abstain from sex before fertility treatment?

New research by Israeli fertility experts has challenged current medical opinion, which holds that refraining from sex for up to a week at least is beneficial for men prior to undergoing some types of fertility treatment. Doctors and scientists from Soroka University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, tested over 7,200 semen samples for semen volume, sperm concentration and shape, and the percentage and total count of motile (active and moving) sperm. The samples were from around 6,000 men being investigated or treated for infertility who had abstained from sex for periods up to two weeks.