“Add-Ons” for Assisted Reproductive Technology: Do Patients Get Honest Information from Fertility Clinics’ Websites?

Valentina Galiano, Raoul Orvieto, Ronit Machtinger, Ravit Nahum, Emanuele Garzia, Patrizia Sulpizio, Anna Maria Marconi, Daniel Seidman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

“Add-on” procedures are actively promoted on some fertility clinic websites as proven means to improve IVF success rates, especially for couples with repeated implantation/IVF failures. However, the actual contribution of these interventions to live birth rates remains inconclusive. At present, little is known about the type and quality of the information provided on the IVF clinics’ websites regarding the merits of “add-ons.” A systematic evaluation of the quality of information on “add-on” procedures in fertility clinic websites was performed using 10-criteria structured questionnaire. We included English language websites that presented in the Google.com search engine after typing the following key-words:“endometrial scratching”(ES), “intralipid infusions”(ILI), “assisted hatching”(AHA), “PGT-A,” or “PGS”. In total, 254 websites were evaluated. In most cases, an accurate description of the “add-on” procedures was provided (78.8%). However, only a minority (12%) reported their undetermined effectiveness. The use of PGT-A was more often encouraged (52.8%) than ES (23.6%) and AHA (16%). The cost was infrequently presented (6.9%). Scientific references were only rarely provided for ILI, versus 12.7% for ES, 4.0% for AHA, and 5.6% for PGT-A. The information entry date was often missing. None of the websites reported the clinic’s pregnancy-rate following the “add-on” procedures. Information on “add-ons” available to patients from IVF clinic websites is often inaccurate. This could perpetuate false myths among infertile patients about these procedures and raises concern regarding possible commercial bias. It is imperative that IVF clinic websites will better communicate the associated risks and uncertainties of “add-ons” to prospective patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3466-3472
Number of pages7
JournalReproductive Sciences
Volume28
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Fertility clinics websites
  • IVF “Add-on” procedures
  • Infertility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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