Accuracy of Self-Reported Survey Data on Assisted Reproductive Technology Treatment Parameters and Reproductive History

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Aug;215(2):219.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 Feb 11.


Background: It is unknown whether data obtained from maternal self-report for assisted reproductive technology treatment parameters and reproductive history are accurate for use in research studies.

Objectives: We evaluated the accuracy of self-reported in assisted reproductive technology treatment and reproductive history from the Upstate KIDS study in comparison with clinical data reported to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic Outcome Reporting System.

Study design: Upstate KIDS maternal questionnaire data from deliveries between 2008 and 2010 were linked to data reported to Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic Outcome Reporting System. The 617 index deliveries were compared as to treatment type (frozen embryo transfer and donor egg or sperm) and use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection and assisted hatching. Use of injectable medications, self-report for assisted reproductive technology, or frozen embryo transfer prior to the index deliveries were also compared. We report agreement in which both sources had yes or both no and sensitivity of maternal report using Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic Outcome Reporting System as the gold standard. Significance was determined using χ(2) at P < 0.05.

Results: Universal agreement was not reached on any parameter but was best for treatment type of frozen embryo transfer (agreement, 96%; sensitivity, 93%) and use of donor eggs (agreement, 97%; sensitivity, 82%) or sperm (agreement, 98%; sensitivity, 82%). Use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (agreement, 78%: sensitivity, 78%) and assisted hatching (agreement, 57%; sensitivity, 38%) agreed less well with self-reported use (P < .0001). In vitro fertilization (agreement, 82%) and frozen embryo transfer (agreement, 90%) prior to the index delivery were more consistently reported than was use of injectable medication (agreement, 76%) (P < .0001).

Conclusion: Women accurately report in vitro fertilization treatment but are less accurate about procedures handled in the laboratory (intracytoplasmic sperm injection or assisted hatching). Clinics might better communicate with patients on the use of these procedures, and researchers should use caution when using self-reported treatment data.

Keywords: assisted reproductive technology; intracytoplasmic sperm injection; participant self-report; patient communication; survey study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Reproductive History*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*
  • Self Report*