ASRM Practice Document Type and Methodology
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ASRM guidelines follow a rigorous developmental process based on documented, verifiable systematic reviews of the scientific literature. Summary statements within the guidelines include evidence-based recommendations intended to optimize patient care and help guide medical practice in the field of reproductive medicine. These statements are supported by a rating of both the quality of the evidence and the strength of the recommendation.
ASRM guidelines adhere to criteria for development set forth by the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC), created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On July 16, 2018, federal funding to support the NGC ended. Prior to that date, the NGC provided an online collection of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to the public. Each submitted document underwent an extensive panel review against an NGC guideline assessment tool. Accepted guideline documents were summarized in a structured abstract prepared by the NGC and included in the NGC library for 5 years (or until outdated). ASRM submitted each of its published guidelines to the NGC for inclusion. At the current time, the NGC site is offline. The AHRQ plans to announce options to access the NGC’s repository in the coming months. But, you can access all ASRM guidelines at: www.asrm.org/news-and-publications/practice-committee-documents/.
Committee opinions and guidance are documents produced by the ASRM Practice and Ethics Committees which are NOT based on a systematic review. Not all topics are appropriate for a systematic review. In some cases, the literature is not yet available. Committee opinions represent expert consensus, while guidance documents summarize suggested best practice in the context of available literature.
Task forces develop ASRM guidelines. Task forces are comprised of topic experts of varying levels of experience, a past CREST scholar (if possible), other experts as needed, an international member of ASRM (non-USA based), the task force chair who is a member of the Practice Committee, the Practice Committee chair, a clinical epidemiologist, a guidelines specialist with experience in systematic search strategies and unbiased evaluation of the scientific literature, coordinator for the Practice Committee, the ASRM chief executive officer, and the ASRM chief scientific officer. ASRM task forces for guideline development must follow a strict methodology to objectively evaluate available scientific literature on their assigned topic to make evidence-based recommendations for clinical practice.
The Practice and Ethics committees typically develop and update committee opinions and guidance documents, but they also collaborate with affiliated societies, other societies, and ad hoc document-specific task forces. All ASRM documents—guidelines, committee opinions, and guidance documents—undergo member and Board review before publication.
ASRM leadership encourages all members to be active participants in their society. Simply fill out the volunteer form and indicate your areas of expertise and interest: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ASRMVolunteer.
All ASRM documents are reviewed for currency at least every 5 years. At the time of review, the document can be affirmed as is, revised, or retired. Documents can be revised sooner than 5 years if meaningful new data emerge before a scheduled review. Sometimes documents are retired because their content is substantially merged into a new or existing document.
Ideas for new guidelines come from ASRM affiliate societies, special interest groups (SIGs), and individual members. Click here to submit a topic idea for consideration: https://www.research.net/r/submitatopic.
Suggestions for guidelines are reviewed by the ASRM Practice Committee. The Practice Committee is comprised of representatives from ASRM affiliate societies (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Society of Reproductive Surgeons, Society of Reproductive Biologists and Technologists, and Society for Male Reproduction and Urology), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the ASRM Patient Education Committee; the ASRM Vice-President; 2-3 members-at-large; a consulting epidemiologist; the ASRM Chief Executive Officer; the ASRM Chief Scientific Officer; and two members of the ASRM staff.
The ASRM collaborates with other societies in the development of documents of mutual interest. Collaborative documents are published simultaneously by both organizations. ASRM has two categories of acknowledgment of guidelines, committee opinions, and guidance material published by other organizations: endorsement and affirmation of value. Endorsement means that the document “fully meets ASRM standards; ASRM can endorse all of the statements. The process used to develop the document is substantially equivalent to the process the ASRM uses to develop evidence-based documents.” Affirmation of Value indicates that the document “either does not fully meet ASRM endorsement standards, or ASRM cannot endorse all of the statements. However, ASRM leadership determines it is of benefit to the ASRM membership.”
Please visit the volunteer form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ASRMVolunteer to get involved with ASRM short-term projects, long-term projects, and everything in between!
Get involved in the affiliated societies: SREI, SRBT, SART, SMRU, and SRS. Every 3 years, each of these affiliated societies nominates a representative to various ASRM committees, including the Ethics, Patient Education, Coding, Education, Practice, Content Review, and CME Committees. Learn more about them here: https://www.asrm.org/membership/asrm-member-groups/affiliates/.
Get involved in the Professional Interest Groups (PIGs): NPG, LPG, MHPG, ARM, and SREI. Learn more about each one here: https://www.asrm.org/membership/asrm-member-groups/professional-groups/.
Get involved in Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Find out more here: (https://www.asrm.org/membership/asrm-member-groups/special-interest-groups/.
- ASRM guidelines have been developed to assist physicians with clinical decisions regarding the care of their patients.
- They are not intended to be a protocol to be applied in all situations, and cannot substitute for the individual judgment of the treating physicians based on their knowledge of their patients and specific circumstances.
- The recommendations in these guidelines may not be the most appropriate approach for all patients.
- Medical science and ethics are constantly changing, and clinicians should not rely solely on these guidelines.
- Practice Committee documents become operational at the time of publication.