Private abortion

If you do not want to have an abortion on the NHS then your other option is to go to a private clinic.

What are the reasons for doing so?

The main reason is that of having to wait. Some women want the procedure to be done as soon as possible and with little disruption to their lives. They do not want to go on a waiting list but would rather have it done when they want.

Another reason is the chance of meeting someone they know. They may know someone who works in the NHS, for example, their local hospital and do not want to take the risk of bumping into them.

The difference between an NHS abortion and a private abortion

Well, the first one is cost. You will have to pay to have an abortion at a private clinic and prices will vary according to the type of procedure and the stage of your pregnancy.

Abortion costs are discussed in more detail further on in this article.

Another difference is that you do not have to apply for an abortion via your GP.

If you choose to ‘go private’ then the process is as follows:

  • You make an appointment at a private abortion clinic
  • You are offered counselling and other forms of support at the initial consultation.
  • You undergo a pregnancy test and an ultrasound scan
  • The date and time of your abortion is arranged (this can be done in a weekend if you prefer)

The main factor here is time. An abortion can be carried out much quicker at a private clinic than an NHS one which suits some women more than others.

Benefits of a private abortion

You will find that a private clinic will treat you in a sympathetic and non-judgemental manner. They offer support and advice and will answer any questions you may have.

Note: if you choose to have an NHS abortion then you will also experience a relaxed and sympathetic approach. There should not be any difference in the attitude and approach to you between an NHS and private clinic.

In most cases your abortion will be carried out within a week. So, you can have your initial consultation and the procedure within 7 days. You choose the date of the appointment when it suits you, which can even be at a weekend.

You will still have to obtain two signatures for an abortion to go ahead in the same way as for an NHS abortion.

Confidentiality and private clinics

The same rules about confidentiality equally apply to both private and NHS clinics.

Details about your medical history and your abortion will be kept secret unless you state otherwise. These details can be kept private from your GP but it is a good idea to inform him/her as it may be useful if you experience any complications in the future.

How to find a private abortion clinic

If you have opted for private treatment then it is important that you find a licensed and reputable abortion clinic. There are many private clinics but you need to find one that is right for you.

So where do you start?

Your GP is a good place to start. He or she can recommend a few clinics or alternatively, you can ask at your local family planning clinic.

If you are thinking of searching for a clinic on the Internet then the NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk) is a good source of information. Also try the Department of Health website (www.dh.gov.uk) as they provide information on licensed abortion clinics.

Examples of private clinics include the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (www.bpas.org), Marie Stopes International (www.mariestopes.org.uk) and Nuffield Hospitals (www.nuffieldhealth.com).

Spend time looking at various clinics and make sure that they are licensed and meet the requirements of the Abortion Act.

This is one of the biggest decisions in your life so you need to be sure that you find a good, reputable clinic that will put your interests first. If a clinic only seems interested in money or is less than sympathetic then look elsewhere.

On the subject of money, how much does an abortion cost?

Abortion costs

Costs differ between clinics which are due to the following reasons:

  • The number of weeks you are pregnant: this means the stage of your pregnancy.
  • The method of abortion, e.g. medical or surgical

There will also be a fee for the initial consultation. This varies from £50 to £80.

The cost of an abortion varies from £400 to £800 or more. The later the stage of your pregnancy the more you will have to pay. So, you may be looking at a cost of £2,000 or more for a ‘late abortion’.

If you are unsure about what constitutes a late abortion then visit our late term abortion section.

So, if you can have an abortion at an earlier stage in your pregnancy then so much the better.

What tends to happen is that you pay for the initial consultation. Following this, a day and time for your abortion is then arranged which you will probably have to pay for in full before the procedure.

But, some clinics have an instalments system which allows you to spread the cost of the payment. These payments will be paid in full before the end of your treatment.

If you want to arrange your abortion for a weekend then be prepared to pay more, e.g. an extra £50 or more for this service.

On a positive note, once you have paid the full fee, the counselling, aftercare services and check ups are free of charge.

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