What is informed consent?

Informed consent is an important principle which dictates that an individual must give permission or consent before undergoing any medical treatment, procedure or examination.

From a medical perspective, the clinic or doctor must give a clear explanation what the treatment involves, including any potential risks, before treatment can commence.

These principles of consent form a crucial part of medical ethics and international human rights law.

Principles of Informed Consent

Acquiring informed consent is an ethical and legal obligation upon every clinic before a patient can be treated. Patient consent cannot be considered valid unless it is “informed consent”. As such, the following criteria must be met:

  • Consent is given voluntarily, without any deceit or deliberate coercion
  • Consent is given by the patient or the patient’s representative who has the capacity to do so
  • Consent is given by the patient or the patient’s representative who has been made fully aware of the procedure, potential issues or different treatment options

Consent can either be written, verbal or implied/non-verbal. A written consent might be given by signing a consent form prior to a surgical procedure. And, a non-verbal consent may be in the form of an acknowledgement from the patient; that they understand what treatment or procedure they are about to undergo, such as willingly extending their arm for a blood test.

Importantly a written consent form is not necessarily the actual informed consent, but rather proof that your consent was given, even if you were not informed.

This is a very crucial distinction. Throughout the informed consent process you will be presented with medical and legal consent forms which usually have various sections highlighting the important elements that you need to be aware of, and which you need to acknowledge.

Fertility News

IVF: A Test Case – Whether, When and How Clinics Should Test Patients and Staff for COVID-19

‘IVF: A Test Case – Whether, When and How Clinics Should Test Patients and Staff for COVID-19’.

Appeared in BioNews 1058 3 August 2020

Known genes associated with male infertility doubled

Thirty-three genes associated with male infertility have been identified through a ‘genomics-first’ approach to understanding the condition.

Appeared in BioNews 1058 3 August 2020

HFEA publishes 2018 trends in fertility treatment

The Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has published its latest analysis on trends in fertility treatment, based on data from across the UK in 2018.

BAME women make up 55% of UK pregnancy hospitalisations with Covid-19

Study prompts experts to issue guidance for maternity workers about increased risk

Good odds for baby number two using IVF

Many couples who have used in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to conceive a baby will likely need it again if they want another child – and the odds are better the second time round, according to a study published in the journal Human Reproduction.
By Natalie Parletta

Sperm containing virus raises small risk of COVID-19 spread via sex: study

A study by doctors at China’s Shangqiu Municipal Hospital of 38 men hospitalised with the disease found that six of them, or 16%, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in their semen.

Coronavirus: Am I at risk during pregnancy?

As a precaution, pregnant women have been told to be particularly strict about avoiding social contact, so they reduce their risk of catching coronavirus. But what do we know about its impact on pregnancy?

IVF Education and Virtual Meetings

Inviting the IVF community to come together to get through this difficult time with education and collaboration.

HFEA letter to fertility patients regarding Covid-19

“23 March 2020

An open letter to fertility patients: 

Sally Cheshire CBE, Chair HFEA 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

As Chair of the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology), the regulator responsible for overseeing all UK fertility clinics, I wanted to write an open letter to all of you who are currently undergoing or were planning fertility treatment at this difficult time.

Preparing To Give Birth During A Pandemic

Back in 1976, my mother came home to Britain from India eight months pregnant, not having seen a single midwife, doctor or nurse for the entirety of her pregnancy. Everything she knew about babies, she now only half jokes, came from what she’d read on the side of a box of tampons. She gave birth just a week later to my older sister, a happy, healthy – if surprisingly hairy – baby.