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The prevalence, promotion and pricing of three IVF add-ons on fertility clinic websites

van de Wiel, L; Wilkinson, J; Athanasiou, P; Harper, J; (2020) The prevalence, promotion and pricing of three IVF add-ons on fertility clinic websites. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 10.1016/j.rbmo.2020.07.021. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

RESEARCH QUESTION: How are IVF clinic websites advertising three common IVF add-ons: assisted hatching, time-lapse embryo imaging and preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidies (PGT-A)? DESIGN: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority ‘Choose a fertility clinic‘ website service was used to identify IVF clinics and their websites. Assisted hatching, time-lapse embryo imaging and PGT-A were examined to determine which websites advertised them, what price they charged and what claims they made in relation to the add-ons. RESULTS: Eighty-seven eligible clinics were identified, with 72 unique websites; 37 (43%) clinics were part of one of nine groups of IVF clinics, of sizes ranging from two to eight clinics in the UK. Time-lapse imaging (TLI) was the most frequently advertised of the three add-ons (67% of clinics), followed by PGT-A (47%) and assisted hatching (28%). Very few websites stated that the effectiveness of the add-on was in doubt or unclear (four, two and one websites for TLI, PGT-A and assisted hatching, respectively), and none raised the possibility that an add-on might have negative effects. Claims of efficacy were often based on upstream outcomes (e.g. implantation, pregnancy). Some claims that PGT-A and TLI improved live birth rates were found. There was substantial variation in pricing. CONCLUSIONS: IVF clinic websites provide valuable information for patients seeking fertility treatment so it is key that the information is accurate and complete. There is a need for transparent information on interventions, including uncertainties and risks, to be made available by IVF clinics to support well-informed treatment decisions. The selected add-ons are widely advertised, and there is wide variation in pricing.

Type: Article
Title: The prevalence, promotion and pricing of three IVF add-ons on fertility clinic websites
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2020.07.021
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2020.07.021
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: Add-ons, Assisted hatching, IVF, PGT-A, Time-lapse embryo imaging
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Reproductive Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110195
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