How technology is making fertility treatment more accessible to all
By Susan Diamond, Director at Fertility Consent
From the moment you have your first consultation in a fertility clinic, there are many things to consider about your journey. There are different treatment options available and different approaches. Importantly, before treatment can begin, consent forms need completing.
Each form can take around 45 minutes to complete, depending on treatment and if you are being treated with a partner they will also be required to provide consent.
These forms are important and are a requirement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Association (HFEA) to demonstrate all relevant information has been read, understood and that consent has been given to move forward.
This process is known as informed consent.
Informed consent is a key part of the fertility journey and is a time for the clinic to provide as much information as possible about your available options and treatment. This is also the time to ask any questions or raise any concerns you might have about any of the information or content of consent forms.
Taking the time to properly process and understand everything is vital.
This is why it’s important not to rush these forms.
We know that trying to complete these forms in a clinic and under time pressure of an appointment can feel daunting and overwhelming.
Technology is changing fertility treatment
Clinics want to provide the best possible service and make fertility treatment as welcoming and comfortable as possible so technologies like digital informed consent platforms are helping to make that a reality.
Many clinics now offer the opportunity to complete consent forms online. This is via a secure platform that can be accessed on a computer, tablet or smartphone.
Using these platforms can provide patients access not only to the consent forms they need to sign, but also to other materials – such as videos and information leaflets that explain procedures and provide advice.
The benefit of this digital approach is that consent forms can be completed at home, at a time and pace that feels comfortable to you. If there are any questions, the time that would usually be spent in the clinic filling in a form can now be used to have a conversation with your nurses and clinicians.
When the pandemic meant fertility clinics had to close, it was a difficult time for those in the middle of their treatment. Having access to consent forms online and the option of video consultations meant services didn’t have to stop. Forms could be completed safely at home and as soon as clinics were able to reopen, they could restart treatment as consent had already been provided.
We believe that accessibility should not be a barrier to treatment. One of the many benefits of electronic informed consent is that it is more accessible than traditional paper-based forms.
For example, our informed consent platforms include an accessibility plugin which means patients can access the required forms and resources in a variety of formats including larger text, voice dictation and screen brightness.
Fertility Consent also includes the functionality to provide text translations of medical information in many different languages to improve user accessibility.
Previously, if information was needed in another language an interpreter would be required to attend consultations. In the current climate when in-person consultations are limited, the added complexity of treatment information being provided via video interpreter has the potential for misunderstanding.
The informational videos and leaflets provided by our consenting platforms are available with subtitles in multiple languages to ensure that every patient can digest the information about their treatment in their own time and in their preferred language so that they can provide informed consent.
Speak to your clinic
Fertility Consent is designed to help patients and their partners navigate the medical and legal issues involved with fertility treatment in an easy and convenient way.
We understand having fertility treatment is both an exciting, and sometimes stressful time. We provide fertility clinics with a portal which has both medical and legal information specific to your treatment. You can access this secure information at your convenience from home or on the go via the clinic’s patient portal.
Speak to your clinic about Fertility Consent and digital informed consent to see if it is an option as part of your treatment.