Moving towards patient-centredness in fertility care: how is it achieved?


  • Johanna WM Aarts Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre
  • Marjan J Faber Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Willianne LDM Nelen Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Jan AM Kremer Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands



Fertility care mainly focuses on pregnancy rates and complications as measures for quality of care. However, high-quality fertility care should not only be effective and safe, but also patient-centred. Because of the substantial emotional and physical burden of being infertile and fertility treatments, patients benefit from care that is tailored to their individual needs. Patient-centredness takes into account what in care is important to patients. However, healthcare professionals do not always acknowledge and recognize the importance of patient-centredness as a dimension of quality of care of its own right. The last few years a series of qualitative and quantitative research explored what patient-centred fertility care encompasses according to patients, how it can be measured and where improvement is needed. Analysis determined that there are ten domains of patient-centredness: accessibility; information; communication; respect for patients’ values; continuity and transition of care; patient involvement; and competence.  Averagely, patients experienced ‘communication’ the most positively, ‘accessibility’ the least. This paper shows that in fertility care professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the relevance and need for patient-centred care. Through focus groups and the development of a measurement instrument we also know what is encompasses and what aspects need improvement. The challenge we are now facing is to achieve patient-centred care by designing and implementing interventions to improve this important dimension of quality of care.

Author Biographies

Johanna WM Aarts, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre

MD, PhD student reproductive medicineDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Marjan J Faber, Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands


Willianne LDM Nelen, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands


Jan AM Kremer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

MD, PhDProfessor in reproductive medicine


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Contributions to the advancement of person-centered care