Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology advertising guidelines: how are member clinics doing?

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Authors:

May-Tal Sauerbrun-Cutler, M.D., Emma C. Brown, B.S., Warren J. Huber, M.D., Ph.D., Phinnara Has, M.S., Gary N. Frishman, M.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To examine whether Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) member in vitro fertilization (IVF) centers adhere to the Society’s new advertising policy, updated in January 2018, and evaluate other services advertised by region, insurance mandate and university affiliation status. Historically, a large percentage of IVF clinics have not adhered to SART guidelines for IVF clinic website advertising and have had variability in how financial incentives and other noncore fertility services are advertised.


Design

Cross-sectional study.


Setting

Not applicable.


Patient(s)

None.


Intervention(s)

None.


Main Outcome Measure(s)

Adherence of SART participating websites to objective criteria from the 2018 SART advertising guidelines.


Result(s)

All 361 SART participating clinic websites were evaluated. Approximately one third of clinics reported success rate statistics directly on their websites, but only 52.6% of those clinics reported current statistics. Similarly, only 67.5% of SART member clinics included the required disclaimer statement regarding their outcome statistics. Only 10.5% of websites were wholly compliant with SART guidelines regarding presentation of supplemental data. There were no significant differences between academic and nonacademic centers, programs in mandated versus nonmandated states, or East versus West Coast clinics in any of these areas.


Conclusion(s)

Many of the SART member websites failed to adhere to core guidelines surrounding reporting IVF clinic success rates. Consideration for additional education and streamlining as well as simplifying success rate advertising guidelines is recommended.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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