Data collection systems in ART must follow the pace of change in clinical practice

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Abstract

In assisted reproductive technology (ART), quality control necessitates the collection of outcome data and occurring complications. Traditional quality assurance is based on data derived from single ART centres and more recently from national registries, both recording outcome parameters during well-defined observation periods. Nowadays, ART is moving towards much more diverse approaches, with sequential activities including short- or long-term freezing of gametes, gonadal tissues and embryos, and cross-border reproductive care. Hence, long-term cumulative treatment rates and an international approach are becoming a necessity. We suggest the initiation of an easy access European Reproductive Coding System, through which each ART recipient is allocated a unique reproductive care code. This code would identify individuals (and reproductive material) during case to case data reporting to national ART data collecting institutions and to a central European ART monitoring agency. For confidentiality reasons, the identity of the individuals should remain with the local ART provider. This way, cumulative and fully reliable reproductive outcome data can be constructed with follow-up over prolonged time periods.

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