VALUE study: a protocol for a qualitative semi-structured interview study of IVF add-ons use by patients, clinicians and embryologists in the UK and Australia

S.C Armstrong* (Corresponding Author), S Lensen, E Vaughan, E Wainwright, M Peate, A.H Balen, C.M Farquhar, A Pacey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction:- For couples undergoing assisted reproduction, a plethora of adjuncts are available; these are known as ?add-ons?. Most add-ons are not supported by good quality randomised trial evidence of efficacy, with some proven to be ineffective. However, estimates suggest that over 70on, often at extra cost to the patient. This study has three aims. First, to undertake a survey of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinics in the UK to ascertain which add-ons are being offered and at what cost. Second, to undertake qualitative semi-structured interviews of patients, clinicians and embryologists, to explore their opinions and beliefs surrounding add-ons. Third, to review the interpretation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority traffic light system, to better understand the information required by IVF patients, clinicians and embryologists when making decisions about add-ons. Methods and analysis:- All UK IVF clinics will be contacted by email and invited to complete an online survey. The survey will ask them which add-ons they offer, at what cost per cycle and how information is shared with patients. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted in the UK and Australia with three groups of participants: (i) fertility patients; (ii) clinicians and (iii) embryologists. Participants for the interviews will be recruited via social media channels, website adverts, email and snowball sampling. Up to 20 participants will be recruited for each group in each country. Following an online consent process, interviews will be conducted via video-conferencing software, transcribed verbatim and data subjected to inductive thematic analysis. Ethics and dissemination:- Ethical approval has been granted by the Universities of Sheffield, Bath Spa and Melbourne. Findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and disseminated to regulatory bodies in the UK and Australia. A lay summary of findings will be shared via Fertility Network, UK.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere047307
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number5
Early online date1 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding This research was funded by an Obstetrics and Gynaecology Innovation Grant from the University of Melbourne Australia. MP is supported by a University of Melbourne Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology MCR Fellowship.

Acknowledgements Our heartfelt thanks to our PPI panel who gave up their time to contribute to the development of VALUE. UK: Isabella Dash, Jennifer Nisbett, Hannah Reid, Ally Richardson, Victoria Thomas, Bassel Wattar. Australia: Katherine Gobbi, Hilary Smith, Natasha Devetak, Alex Polyakov, Anna Ninnis, Lisa Lee, Vadim Mirmilstein.


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