Infertility information on the World Wide Web: a cross-sectional survey of quality of infertility information on the internet in the UK

Hum Reprod. 2008 Jul;23(7):1520-5. doi: 10.1093/humrep/den072. Epub 2008 Mar 27.


Background: The internet is a frequently used source of information for infertile couples. Previous studies suggested that the quality of health information on the internet is poor. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of websites providing information on infertility and its management in the UK. Differences between website types and affiliations were assessed.

Methods: A Google search for the keyword 'infertility' was performed and 107 relevant websites were identified and categorized by type. Websites were assessed for credibility, accuracy and ease of navigation using predefined criteria.

Results: The total scores for all types of websites were low, particularly in the accuracy category. Websites affiliated to the UK National Health Service (NHS) scored higher than those affiliated to private fertility clinics and other clinics providing non-conventional fertility treatment. Specifically, NHS websites were more likely to report success rates (92.9% versus 60% and 0%, P < or = 0.05) and display information about their sources of funding (85.7% versus 15% and 14.8%, P < or = 0.0001).

Conclusions: Internet resources available to infertile patients are variable. Differences in the quality of infertility information exist between the different types of websites.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Education / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infertility*
  • Internet / standards*
  • Male
  • National Health Programs
  • Private Sector
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / standards*
  • United Kingdom