Autonomy of children and adolescents in consent to treatment: ethical, jurisprudential and legal considerations

Iran J Pediatr. 2014 Jun;24(3):241-8.


Autonomy is usually considered as a main principle in making decisions about individuals' health. Children and particularly adolescents have the capacity to take part in medical decision-making to some extent. For the most part the parent-doctor-child/adolescent triangle sides are essentially in agreement, but this may not be true in some cases, causing physicians to face problems attempting to determine their professional duties. According to Islamic jurisprudent upon reaching the age of Taklif (15 full lunar years for boys and 9 full lunar years for girls) no one can be treated as incompetent based on mental immaturity unless his or her insanity or mental immaturity is provend Moreover the Islamic Sharia, decrees that parents should lose their authority to make medical decisions for their children, if their bad faith or imprudence is proven, in which case a fit and proper person or an institution will be appointed to make decisions in this respect based on the child's best interests.

Keywords: Pediatrics; Autonomy; Medical Ethics; Islam; Jurisprudence; Iranian Legal System; Iran.

Publication types

  • Review