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In the last edition of Fetal and Neonatal we carried a leader on obtaining consent for neonatal research. We follow that up with some important data from Canada, and a further commentary on the subject. Although it is tempting to view parents with ill babies as less than competent to give truly informed consent, the parents who participated in this study both acknowledged the added stress of considering enrolment into studies, and most importantly were willing for their child to participate in more than one study. Since many ethics committees insist that parents should not be asked for enrolment into more than one study, on the grounds of preventing distress to the family, these data need to be seen more widely than just the community of neonatal doctors and nurses. Commenting on these data, Alan Fenton makes the point that the experience of parents whose babies are enrolled in studies is in itself an important outcome, and we should be auditing it routinely if our research and consent protocols are to be of …
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