Assessment of United States fertility clinic websites according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)/Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) guidelines

Fertil Steril. 2007 Jan;87(1):88-92. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2006.05.073. Epub 2006 Nov 1.

Abstract

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.

Patients: None.

Interventions: None.

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.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Advertising / standards*
  • Internet / standards*
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data
  • Marketing of Health Services / standards*
  • Marketing of Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards
  • Reproductive Medicine / standards*
  • Reproductive Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / standards*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / statistics & numerical data
  • United States