A survey of scientists’ awareness of and attitudes to the use of human blood products and alternatives in human assisted reproductive technology
Taylor & Francis Ltd
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Teaching and Learning
Scientists working in assisted reproduction [members of Scientists in Reproductive Technology (SIRT) Australia, and subscribers of the online forums EmbryoMail and Quartec] were invited to complete an online questionnaire on the use of human blood products in assisted reproductive technologies (ART). A total of 260 started the questionnaire, with 208 (80%) completing it. A total of 62% of respondents had worked in human ART ≥8 years and 68% had post-graduate qualifications. The majority (82%) reported using products of animal or human origin, with 75% knowing why protein was added to culture media and 41% not worried by this. Almost half (49%) of respondents were unaware of regulations surrounding the use of human blood products in health care and 70% were unaware of adverse events involving human blood products in human ART. Most respondents (70%) indicated that they were not concerned about infections such as hepatitis, but agents such as prions were a cause for concern (57%). A total of 57% of respondents were unaware of alternatives, but 77% would use a suitable alternative. Using blood products in human ART is surrounded by a lack of awareness, often independent of respondents’ qualifications or experience. A better understanding of these products and possible alternatives is required if informed decisions about their suitability are to be made.