Objective: To evaluate SART-member fertility clinic websites for their compliance with the 2004 ASRM/SART guidelines for advertising (which is deemed mandatory for clinic membership), to survey the general characteristics of the websites, and to assess differences between academic and private clinic websites.
Design: Cross-sectional evaluation.
Setting: The Internet.
Main outcome measures: Eleven objective criteria based on 2004 ASRM/SART guidelines for advertising and eight objective criteria for general characteristics of fertility clinic websites.
Results: All 384 SART-registered clinics were evaluated; 289 (75.3%) had functional websites (211 private, 78 academic). Success rates were published on 51% of websites (117 private, 31 academic), the majority of which were private clinics (p=.025). The percentage of fertility clinic websites adhering to ASRM/SART guidelines was low in all categories (ranging from 2.8%-54.5% in private centers and 1.3%-37.2% in academic centers). No statistically significant difference was found in the services offered at private versus academic clinics.
Conclusion: A significant proportion of SART-member fertility clinics, both private and academic, that have websites are not following the ASRM/SART guidelines for advertising. Increased dissemination and awareness of the guidelines is warranted.