For two days starting today, Wednesday, 24 April, Ain Shams University's Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics will hold its annual conference with high profile participation from leading international experts.
Ahram Online talked to Khaled Saïd Moussa, chair of the prominent medical conference, who said the newest techniques in gynecologic operative laparoscopy and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) are to be discussed in Cairo by leading international and Egyptian gynecologists and obstetricians.
The focus of this year’s conference, the 23rd edition, is designed to meet the top concerns of women’s health, as rated by leading members of the conference.
“More and more we, as gynecologists, come across young couples who are having problems having a child; this is certainly a growing concern for many couples and there is a growing need for assisted pregnancy,” said Moussa.
“Of course one can notice that there is a social side to the issue, that relates to the tendency towards delayed marriage, which at times ends up compromising the chances of women to get pregnant,” Moussa said.
He added that there is also growing concern about the contraceptive choices that some women resort to in the early phases of marriage.
“Some contraceptive choices are unintentionally harmful for the chances of women to get pregnant, especially for women who are marrying at a relatively delayed point, or for women with undiagnosed fertility problems,” he added.
According to Moussa, there is also growing concern over the fertility of young men. “We are not here talking about the physical capacity of men as much as fertility chances,” he said.
Again, there are no firm numbers to share but overall, Moussa argued, “the incidence of male factor infertility is increasing.”
Moussa said that obvious concerns relate to increasingly unhealthy diets that many people adopt, including a tendency to consume fast food, as well as disturbing levels of pollution, unhealthy lifestyles where physical fitness is often compromised, and heavy smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol.
“Now, if you add these factors up and then add them to concerns related to the naturally declining fertility of women beyond a certain point of age, then we end up with a situation where the need for assisted pregnancy is likely to be on the increase,” Moussa said.
“IVF is only one of many techniques and our conference this year will consider updated research on this and on other techniques,” he added.
The conference will also host a talk, on its second day, by Louise Brown, an English lady known for being the first human to have been born after conception by IVF in 1978.
Meanwhile, Moussa said, interest in examining recent operative laparoscopy relates to the growing number of cases of young women suffering ovarian cysts with their possible complications.
Again, Moussa cannot share specific figures about trends. He argued that any increase might well be a function of "more diagnosis" of cases.
“I think this is one of the good things that has been happening recently, as it is becoming more and more the practice for parents to condone gynecological consultations for young daughters who suffer reproductive health issues,” Moussa said.
“Only a few decades ago it was really uncustomary for young women who are not yet married to seek the medical advice of a gynecologist. Now we have parents bringing in teenage daughters for gynecological check ups. This is about awareness,” he added.
A third item on the agenda of this year’s conference, Moussa said, is concern of the medical community about the recorded increase in the cases of delivery via caesarean section.
“We are aware that our rates are getting too high and we are also aware that in some cases neither the expecting mother nor the obstetrician should resort to operative intervention,” Mosusa said.
He added that the medical community is also following the debate on whether or not a medical doctor should or should not consent to the wish of an expecting mother to opt for caesarean section without compelling medical need.
“In fact, our conference this year would examine other options for assisted vaginal delivery that go a bit beyond natural delivery but do not amount to operative intervention,” he said.
In addition to these three items, Moussa said the two-day conference, that will be held in Heliopolis, would also examine updates on the diagnosis and treatment of prominent reproductive health issues, including those related to fibroids and reproductive organ cancer.
According to Moussa, it is very important for the medical community to get updated on the most recent medical research. However, he added, that it is equally important for concerned government and media bodies to work on expanding awareness and the services needed for prevention, early detection and prompt treatment.
“For example, we are still very short on awareness on matters related to issues of male fertility. We are also short on fertility clinics on a national scale. And we don’t have enough awareness among all sexually active ladies to pursue the papsmear, without which it would be very hard to detect abnormalities that may be indicative of cervical cancer,” he stated.
This said, Moussa added, there needs to be some sort of "quality control" on the approach of medical information offered through the media.
“Often the information offered through the media is too medically detailed or too un-contextualised, to the point that it could mislead the audience. This matter has to be regulated if we really wish for this service to help increase awareness,” he stated.