Friday, July 25, 2008

Issues of CONSENT! When is a consent valid?

"THE lesbian mothers of IVF twin girls have lost a legal bid to sue their doctor for the cost of raising one of the toddlers."

Issues surrounding consent are always interesting. As you are aware there are many forms of consent, verbal, implied and written. Off course we expect that clients are informed about the procedure therefore have "informed" consent. However the notion of informed" is open to interpretation.
The above case was reported in the Sun Herald today:,21985,24070929-661,00.html.
A lesbian couple lost their case against an obstetrician when he implanted two embryos instead of one. They also complained of loss of love within their relationship due to the increase in family due to having two babies instead of one. Now we all do know that the chances of multiply pregnancies are greater in IVF when you implant more than one egg - it would be interesting to know if this couple were aware of that. However it was stated that
the birth mother only told him she wanted one embryo minutes before she was sedated, after previously signing a form consenting for up to two embryos to be implanted.

Does this mean that the obstetrician should have postponed the procedure until he was sure what his client wanted? or that the written consent was more valid than the spoken word?
The couple said it was Dr Armellin's responsibility to ensure his patients wishes were carried out during the operation

The case, before Justice Annabelle Bennett, sparked nationwide condemnation of the women in the media.
The mothers issued a statement during the civil proceedings arguing the case had nothing to do with their feelings towards their daughters, but with Dr Armellin's failure to comply with their wishes....

The ACT Supreme Court today ruled in favour of Dr Armellin, and ordered the couple, who live in Melbourne, to pay his legal costs

I think this case involved several issues: that is, it was blurred due to it being a lesbian couple, and the perception that the couple were suing because they were unhappy about the second baby. The real issue here for me was of CONSENT, the woman changed her mind at the last minute and was ignored, she said "I only want one egg inserted" the rest is a red hearing!
It will be interesting to read the full judgement, what do you think?


Anonymous said...

great grandchildren

Carolyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone has commented on the videos in your side bar Pauline. I can see the happiness and contentment in the final shot of the Greek couple so it all worked out fine in the end but my goodness is that really normal vaginal birth. It seems hugely disrespectful and uncaring to both the mother and the baby. I have been a midwife for a long time and in the 1970s I was involved in this type of care, that is the way it was, but I have moved a long way and it is distressing to think that this is how some people still experience normal birth.

In the Indian one what a great idea this compilation is. But the doctor tells the woman the best position is flat on her back. Has this doctor not read any research at all?

Thank goodness for Ina May and the twins.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add one more wee thing. Although I said thank goodness for Ina May and the twins they actually are at the opposing end of this scale. I wonder if this makes the previous two videos seem like the most acceptable of the options to some people? For example many women will be appalled at the idea of human milk icecream, and twin birth at home particularly in some of the scenarios shown here is also an unusual and unacceptable idea for some people.
I am interested in your perspective on this and why you chose these particular scenarios.
Thanks Carolyn

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