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Hum Reprod. 2011 Sep;26(9):2382-91. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der207. Epub 2011 Jul 8.

Information provision and decision-making in assisted reproduction treatment: results from a survey in Germany.

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Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum, Bochum, Germany.



The objective of this study was to investigate the views of patients and experts in Germany on information provision and decision-making in assisted reproduction treatment (ART).


Standard questionnaire techniques were used for interviewing Reproductive Physicians (n= 230), Psychosocial Counsellors (n = 66) and Patients (n = 1590). Descriptive data analyses and non-parametric tests for significance were performed.


Higher scores were assigned for information on the chances for treatment success and on direct, physical risks of fertility treatment than for information on the risks and burden of multiple pregnancies and on the emotional risks and burden associated with infertility treatment. Three-quarters (74%) of the Patients (P) reported that they had experienced an overwhelming desire for a child at some point during their treatment, and half (47%) stated that they had experienced the feeling of losing control over the situation. According to 25% of the Reproductive Physicians (RP) and 47% of the Psychosocial Counsellors (PC), patients are often or very often limited in their capacity to decide when to stop the treatment.


A significant number of patients in reproductive care in Germany are not well informed on all the aspects that are relevant for treatment decision-making, are overwhelmed by their desire for a child, lose control over the situation, and are limited in their capacity to end unsuccessful treatment. Information provision should be ensured and monitored during treatment by standardized safeguards. A strategy for stopping ART and embarking on alternative ways of coping with infertility should be installed from the outset of every treatment.

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