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Committee Opinion Number 385, November 2007

Reaffirmed 2016

ABSTRACT: Health care providers occasionally may find that providing indicated, even standard, care would present for them a personal moral problem—a conflict of conscience—particularly in the field of reproductive medicine. Although respect for conscience is important, conscientious refusals should be limited if they constitute an imposition of religious or moral beliefs on patients, negatively affect a patient's health, are based on scientific misinformation, or create or reinforce racial or socioeconomic inequalities. Conscientious refusals that conflict with patient well-being should be a...


Committee Opinion Number 695, April 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 371, July 2007)

ABSTRACT: Sterilization is the most common method of contraception among married couples, with nearly twice as many couples choosing female partner sterilization over male sterilization. Although sterilization is among the most straightforward surgical procedures an obstetrician–gynecologist performs, it is enormously complex when considered from a historical, sociological, or ethical perspective. Sterilization practices have embodied a problematic tension, in which some women who desired fertility were sterilized without their knowledge or consent, and other women who wanted sterilization to...


Committee Opinion Number 564, May 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Because of the growing importance of infectious disease prevention in the individual patient and the larger community, it is vital that Fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists be prepared to navigate the practical and ethical challenges that come with vaccination. Health care professionals have an ethical obligation to keep their patients’ best interests in mind by following evidence-based guidelines to encourage patients to be vaccinated and to be vaccinated themselves. College Fellows should counsel their patients about vaccination in an evidence-based m...


4.
August 2007

Committee Opinion Number 373, August 2007

Reaffirmed 2016

ABSTRACT: The physician-patient relationship is damaged when there is either confusion regarding professional roles and behavior or clear lack of integrity that allows sexual exploitation and harm. Sexual contact or a romantic relationship between a physician and a current patient is always unethical, and sexual contact or a romantic relationship between a physician and a former patient also may be unethical. The request by either a patient or a physician to have a chaperone present during a physical examination should be accommodated regardless of the physician's sex. If a chaperone is prese...


Committee Opinion Number 510, November 2011

(Replaces No. 341, July 2006) (Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: It is ethical for physicians to market their practices provided that the communication is truthful and not misleading, deceptive, or discriminatory. All paid advertising must be clearly identified as such. Producing fair and accurate advertising of medical practices and services can be challenging. It often is difficult to include detailed information because of cost and size restrictions or the limitations of the media form that has been selected. If the specific advertising form does not lend itself to clear and accurate description, an alternative media format should be selected....


Committee Opinion Number 501, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: The past two decades have yielded profound advances in the fields of prenatal diagnosis and fetal intervention. Although fetal interventions are driven by a beneficence-based motivation to improve fetal and neonatal outcomes, advancement in fetal therapies raises ethical issues surrounding maternal autonomy and decision making, concepts of innovation versus research, and organizational aspects within institutions in the development of fetal care centers. To safeguard the interests of both the pregnant woman and the fetus, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and t...


Committee Opinion Number 370, July 2007

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Hospitals, academic institutions, professional corporations, and other health care organizations should have policies and procedures by which alleged violations of professional behavior can be reported and investigated. These institutions should adopt policies on legal representation and indemnification to protect those whose responsibilities in managing such investigations may expose them to potentially costly legal actions. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on Ethics supports the position of the American Association of University Professors regardi...


Committee Opinion Number 582, December 2013

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 417, September 2008. Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Noncoital sexual behavior is a common expression of human sexuality, which commonly co-occurs with coital behavior. Sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex virus, human papillomavirus, hepatitis virus (types A, B, and C), syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydial infection, can be transmitted through noncoital sexual activity. When engaging in oral and anal sex, most individuals, including adolescents, are unlikely to use barrier protection for a variety of reasons, including a greater perceived safety of noncoital sexual activity comp...


Committee Opinion Number 606, August 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Adolescents undergoing cancer treatment are at high risk of heavy menstrual bleeding, and gynecologists may be consulted either before the initiation of cancer treatment to request strategies for menstrual suppression or during an episode of severe heavy bleeding to stop the bleeding emergently. Therapy in both situations should be tailored to the patient, her cancer diagnosis and treatment plan, and her desires for contraception and fertility. Options for menstrual suppression include combined hormonal contraceptives, progestin-only therapy, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agoni...


Committee Opinion Number 580, December 2013

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 451, December 2009. Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Von Willebrand disease, the most common inherited bleeding disorder among American women, is a common cause of heavy menstrual bleeding and other bleeding problems in women and adolescent girls. Von Willebrand disease and other inherited and acquired disorders of coagulation and hemostasis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of all patients being evaluated for heavy menstrual bleeding, regardless of age. There are many treatment options available for patients with von Willebrand disease and heavy menstrual bleeding, including hormonal and nonhormonal therapies. A mult...


Committee Opinion Number 626, March 2015

Reaffirmed 2017

ABSTRACT: Young women (aged 18–26 years) are a heterogeneous population transitioning from adolescence into adulthood who may present with unique issues and challenges, including a potential gap in health care after pediatric health care. Obstetrician–gynecologists should note that these patients may need assistance in transitioning from a pediatrician to a provider of adult health care (an internist, family practitioner, or obstetrician–gynecologist), especially in the absence of a parent. Preventive counseling is crucial for helping young women anticipate changes and stressors and for easin...


12.
September 2017

Committee Opinion Number 714, September 2017

ABSTRACT: Rates of obesity among adolescents in the United States have increased at a dramatic rate along with the prevalence of weight-related diseases. Between the 1980s and 2014, the prevalence of obesity among adolescent females in the United States increased from approximately 10% to 21%. Although the steep increase in the prevalence of obesity in children (2–11 years) has slowed, the prevalence of obesity in adolescents (12–19 years) continues to increase. Because the obese female adolescent faces medical, psychologic, and reproductive health challenges, early intervention is imperative...


13.
June 2017

Committee Opinion Number 702, June 2017

ABSTRACT: The female athlete triad is a medical condition observed in physically active females involving three components: 1) low energy availability with or without disordered eating, 2) menstrual dysfunction, and 3) low bone density. An individual does not need to show clinical manifestations of all three components of the female athlete triad simultaneously to be affected by the condition. Consequences of these clinical conditions may not be completely reversible, so prevention, early diagnosis, and intervention are critical. All athletes are at risk of the female athlete triad, regardles...


Committee Opinion Number 710, August 2017

ABSTRACT: Modern contraceptives are very effective when used correctly and, thus, effective counseling regarding contraceptive options and provision of resources to increase access are key components of adolescent health care. Regardless of a patient’s age or previous sexual activity, the obstetrician–gynecologist routinely should address her contraceptive needs, expectations, and concerns. Obstetrician–gynecologists should be aware of and be prepared to address the most common misperceptions about contraceptive methods in a way that is age appropriate and compatible with the patient’s health...


Committee Opinion Number 704, June 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 641, September 2015)

ABSTRACT: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with anogenital cancer (including cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, and anal), oropharyngeal cancer, and genital warts. The HPV vaccination significantly reduces the incidence of anogenital cancer and genital warts. Despite the benefits of HPV vaccines, only 41.9% of girls in the recommended age group, and only 28.1% of males in the recommended age group have received all recommended doses. Compared with many other countries, HPV vaccination rates in the United States are unacceptably low. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved t...


Committee Opinion Number 705, July 2017

ABSTRACT: Mental health disorders in adolescence are a significant problem, relatively common, and amenable to treatment or intervention. Obstetrician–gynecologists who see adolescent patients are highly likely to see adolescents and young women who have one or more mental health disorders. Some of these disorders may interfere with a patient’s ability to understand or articulate her health concerns and appropriately adhere to recommended treatment. Some disorders or their treatments will affect the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis, causing anovulatory cycles and various menstrual disturba...


Committee Opinion Number 740, June 2018

ABSTRACT: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, defines eating disorders as a “persistent disturbance of eating or eating-related behavior that results in the altered consumption or absorption of food and that significantly impairs physical health or psychosocial functioning.” The correct diagnosis of and distinction between eating disorders are important because the course, prognosis, and treatment may be vastly different. Although the age at peak incidence can vary depending on the eating disorder, these disorders commonly arise during adolescence. Adult ...


Committee Opinion Number 605, July 2014

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Primary ovarian insufficiency is the depletion or dysfunction of ovarian follicles with cessation of menses before age 40 years. There is no consensus on criteria to identify primary ovarian insufficiency in adolescents, and delay in diagnosis is common. Health care providers who make this clinical diagnosis should be mindful of the sensitive nature of this medical condition. Patients and their families should be counseled on the effect of the patient’s condition on future fertility, on the risk of comorbidities associated with primary ovarian insufficiency, and on the condition’s p...


Committee Opinion Number 735, May 2018

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 539, October 2012)

ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of adolescent childbearing is complex and far reaching, affecting not only the adolescents but also their children and their community. The prevalence and public health effect of adolescent pregnancy reflect complex structural social problems and an unmet need for acceptable and effective contraceptive methods in this population. In2006–2010, 82% of adolescents at risk of unintended pregnancy were currently using contraception, but only 59% used a highly effective method, including any hormonal method or intrauterine device. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC...


Committee Opinion Number 668, August 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 448, December 2009)

ABSTRACT: For an adolescent with physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or both, and for her caregivers, menstruation can present significant challenges. If, after an evaluation, the adolescent, her family, and the obstetrician–gynecologist have decided that menstrual intervention is warranted, advantages and disadvantages of hormonal methods should be reviewed and individualized to each patient’s specific needs. Complete amenorrhea may be difficult to achieve, and realistic expectations should be addressed with the patient and her caregivers. The goal in menstrual manipulation sho...


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