Informed choice is a voluntary, well-considered decision that an individual makes on the basis of options, information, and understanding. The decision making process should result in a free and informed decision by the individual about choices for her and her baby, and what method or procedure she will choose and consent to receive.
Informed consent is the communication between client and provider that confirms that the client has made an informed and voluntary choice to use or receive a method or procedure. Informed consent can only be obtained after the client has been given information about the nature of the procedure, its associated risks and benefits, and other alternatives. Voluntary consent cannot be obtained by means of special inducement, force fraud, deceit, duress, bias, or other forms of coercion or misrepresentation.
Health care providers are often required by law or institutional policies to obtain informed consent before administering certain medical procedures, including experimental methods or procedures. Although informed consent is often equated with a signed written form used to document an individual’s decision, written consent is neither inherently necessary nor sufficient. Regardless of the presence or absence of written documentation, informed consent requires providers to ensure that a client receiving a method or treatment has knowingly and voluntarily agreed to be treated. Whether informed consent is written or verbal, however, it cannot replace the informed choice process, which is dependent on counselling and the information exchange between providers and clients.