Worldwide, the concept of patient involvement has a growing impact on health care. Involvement in care represents a benefit to many patients, but while being involved is inevitable for the patient, we assume that getting involved is not in all cases obtainable. On this background, we aimed to investigate patients’ perceptions and experiences concerning their treatment and care in a clinical fertility treatment setting, and discuss how these may influence their possibilities for involvement in care.
Based on findings from focus-group interviews with women undergoing fertility treatment, we have dealt with two aspects that impact the patients’ possibilities for getting involved in their care: Imbalanced power relations in clinical settings, and patients’ experiences of their physical vulnerability. Framed by phenomenological-hermeneutic text interpretation theory key condensations were analysed and critically discussed.
We found that (a) to the individual patient it did not represent a free choice to seek and undergo treatment; (b) patients experienced substantial dependency, vulnerability, and anxiety during their clinical pathway.
We conclude that it is essential to integrate also the influence of the clinical setting and the bodily aspects of care in the understanding of patient involvement in clinical practice.

© 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.