Objective: To better understand practice patterns and opportunities for standardization of ET.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Not applicable.
Patient(s): Not applicable.
Intervention(s): An anonymous 82-question survey was emailed to the medical directors of 286 Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology member IVF practices. A follow-up survey composed of three questions specific to ET technique was emailed to the same medical directors. Descriptive statistics of the results were compiled.
Main outcome measure(s): The survey assessed policies, protocols, restrictions, and specifics pertinent to the technique of ET.
Result(s): There were 117 (41%) responses; 32% practice in academic settings and 68% in private practice. Responders were experienced clinicians, half of whom had performed <10 procedures during training. Ninety-eight percent of practices allowed all practitioners to perform ET; half did not follow a standardized ET technique. Multiple steps in the ET process were identified as "highly conserved;" others demonstrated discordance. ET technique is divided among  trial transfer followed immediately with ET (40%);  afterload transfer (30%); and  direct transfer without prior trial or afterload (27%). Embryos are discharged in the upper (66%) and middle thirds (29%) of the endometrial cavity and not closer than 1-1.5 cm from fundus (87%). Details of each step were reported and allowed the development of a "common" practice ET procedure.
Conclusion(s): ET training and practices vary widely. Improved training and standardization based on outcomes data and best practices are warranted. A common practice procedure is suggested for validation by a systematic literature review.
Keywords: Embryo transfer; in vitro fertilization; survey.
Copyright © 2017 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.