Complexities and potential pitfalls of clinical study design and data analysis in assisted reproduction

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of the current review is to describe the common pitfalls in design and statistical analysis of reproductive medicine studies. It serves to guide both authors and reviewers toward reducing the incidence of spurious statistical results and erroneous conclusions.

Recent findings

The large amount of data gathered in IVF cycles leads to problems with multiplicity, multicollinearity, and over fitting of regression models. Furthermore, the use of the word ‘trend’ to describe nonsignificant results has increased in recent years. Finally, methods to accurately account for female age in infertility research models are becoming more common and necessary.

Summary

The pitfalls of study design and analysis reviewed provide a framework for authors and reviewers to approach clinical research in the field of reproductive medicine. By providing a more rigorous approach to study design and analysis, the literature in reproductive medicine will have more reliable conclusions that can stand the test of time.

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