Informed consent is considered to be an application of one of the Belmont principles, which is respect for persons.


The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research created the Belmont Report that identifies the ethical principles that might arise from healthcare research with human subjects. The basic ethical principles included in the Belmont report are respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. The principle of respect for persons has two major requirements, which are the need to recognize the autonomy and the protection of those whose autonomy is diminished. This principle also requires the human subjects to have the opportunity of choice of what will happen to them, to the degree of their capability. Therefore, this opportunity exists when the standards of informed consent are fulfilled. The Belmont report suggests that the significance of informed consent is unquestionable. Still, controversies might arise due to the possibility and the essence of the consent. In such a way, the principle of respect for persons suggests the three most significant elements of the consent process, which are information, comprehension, and voluntariness.

The subjects of the research should be provided with sufficient information about the study, such as the procedure, the purpose, potential risks and benefits, and alternative procedures. It is also crucial to include the statement, which gives a possibility for the human subjects to ask questions and be able to withdraw from the study. The next critical point in informed consent is the way the information is comprehended. It is essential to present the information understandably so that the subject of the research can make an informed choice. The last element of the consent is that the agreement to participate in the study was given voluntarily. Thus, the Belmont principle of respect for persons requires each research to provide those elements for informed consent.