<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 4, Issue 2, May 2008

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Use of the Internet to obtain IVF information trends and patient opinions in Greece

A. Zafeiriou, G. A. Palmer, T. Triantafillou, R. J. W. , S. Z. , P. Peitsidis, G. Iatrakis, C. Manzonni

Abstract: The Internet is increasingly perceived to be a fast and anonymous information resource. Here we present data from a questionnaire posed to 297 patients attending an IVF unit in Athens detailing their use and perceptions of the Internet for health-related matters. Concurrently we monitored 178 emails derived from our IVF information website over a period of 30 months and report our findings. A large proportion of patients had Internet access (75%) and used the Internet to research information relating to health issues (69%), and specifically IVF (66%), with many expressing a wish to communicate with their physician as a consequence (86%). In contrast, relatively few emails directly requested IVF treatment (3%). Overall the majority of emails related to general questions pertaining to IVF treatment (29%), donor oocytes (17%), or donor sperm (10%). A marked difference however was observed when comparing country of origin. A greater proportion of emails from overseas requested donor egg (39%), surrogacy (8%), or sex selection (5%) as compared to few or none from Greece. We conclude the Internet is both a valuable and established information resource for IVF in Greece, with many patients preferring to communicate online with their IVF healthcare provider directly. In summary the frequency and nature of email communications varied greatly depending upon the country of origin, and implications for medical tourism are discussed.
Keywords: Internet, IVF, in vitro fertilization, opinion, medical tourism

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