Federal Law Requirements
Congress has passed specific, detailed laws governing consent to sterilizations performed under federal programs. With one exception, these laws are also a useful guide to the information that must be provided to all patients considering a sterilization procedure. The exception is that the federal law requires a 30-day waiting period between signing the consent to sterilization and the actual procedure. There is a waiver provision in cases of emergency abdominal surgery and premature delivery (as long as the form was signed more than 30 days before the estimated date of delivery), but these waivers require at least a 72-hour delay.
The waiting period and other federally mandated requirements must be followed by all medical care practitioners who deliver services in “programs or projects for health services which are supported in whole or in part by Federal financial assistance, whether by grant or contract, administered by the Public Health Service.” These health care practitioners must use the statutorily approved consent form and patient information brochures mandated in the federal law. These materials are available from the U.S. Public Health Service. The following is the summary of the information that must be provided and the structure of the consent form: