There are several universities, private researchers and major medical centers who are studying the causes of PCOS and the effects of different medications on PCOS. Some women have decided to participate in a clinical study to either help physicians learn more about the condition or perhaps find a medication that might manage their symptoms. Other studies may look at diet or exercise regimens to see their effectiveness on the condition. Still others may look at ways to boost fertility and increase the chances of a pregnancy. While safety is the utmost importance to researchers, not everyone wants or feels comfortable with participating in a clinical study. Is it right for you? Read on for more information and factors you should consider before signing up.
Does the study require daily blood tests or frequent visits? Do you have the time to commit to such a regimen? You should be honest about your availability and whether you will be realistically able to finish the study. Researchers are responsible to reporting their data to the government and other organizations, and while they expect a certain number of drop-outs, need to minimize the number of people who are not able to finish the study.
Religious or Personal Beliefs
Some studies, particularly those involving the effect of PCOS on fertility, may interfere with your religious beliefs. If the physicians need to study the chemical composition of your eggs or the surrounding fluid, they may need to freeze, manipulate or destroy the eggs or even formed embryos. Many religious officials and believers find this to be offensive and not in accordance with their core beliefs. Even women or couples who aren’t religious may have personal issues with this type of research.
If you aren’t sure about the procedures involved in the study, don’t hesitate to ask. Researchers are legally required to obtain informed consent before allowing your participation. This means that you must be fully aware of, and given the opportunity to ask questions about the study. Knowing that you are fully aware of what you are doing actually makes it easier for the study administrators to do their jobs, so please don’t feel silly asking your questions.
Your Family/Significant Other’s Support
Keep in mind that if you are married, your spouses’ consent will probably also be required particularly if the study involves your fertility and the collection of your eggs or other reproductive material. If your spouse is very much opposed to your participation in the study, you may not be allowed in the study. Even if his support isn’t legally required, speak with him and your other support systems to gauge their response. If your family is very opposed to your volunteering in a clinical study, they may not be willing to help or support you if needed during the process.
How long will it last? Where will you need to go? Is hospitalization or surgery required? Will I need time off from work and will my employer be supportive? If the medication or therapy is effective, will I be allowed to continue once the study has finished? Has the medication or therapy been tested before and is it safe? Have side effects or complications been reported? What happens if I suffer from side effects or complications after the study? Who oversees my care during this time? What about after the study? Who is administering the study? Will I be paid for my participation? What about my other expenses? Will I get to know the results?
These are all important questions that you should ask before signing your consent – the answers may influence your willingness to participate.