Risks of an abortion

Abortion is a commonly performed procedure which is safe and effective. But like any procedure it does cause complications in a few patients.

Your GP or doctor will discuss the risks and side effects of abortion with you so that you are fully aware of what these are before you give your consent.

Complications can occur during or after the abortion but they are rare. They include:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Adverse reaction to general anaesthetic
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Damage to the womb or cervix (further surgery may be needed although this is rare).
  • Abortion is not fully completed (some tissue is left in the womb). This will require further treatment, e.g. vacuum aspiration.

Everyone is different in their reaction to surgery with some people experiencing more of these effects than others.

However, most women are unaffected by these during the procedure.

The main problem after an abortion is infection. If this is left untreated then it can lead to a serious condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). This disease affects your reproductive system and can lead to infertility.

How safe is abortion?

Nearly 200,000 abortions are carried out each year in England. As a result of this any side effects or complications are low and unlikely to prevent you from becoming pregnant in the future.

Does abortion lead to infertility?

An abortion does not cause infertility or stop you from starting a family some time in the future. Whatever your reasons for having an abortion; your circumstances can change and you may decide that the time is right for you to start a family.

If you do and are concerned that having an abortion may prevent you from doing then rest assured that this isn’t the case. There is no evidence to show that an abortion will prevent you from becoming pregnant and in fact, the opposite is true in that you will be highly fertile afterwards. That means you can become pregnant again very easily.

If you do not want this to happen then ensure that you use a suitable form of contraception.

There is a small risk of miscarriage if you have undergone several abortions. The reason for this is that they can damage the cervix which results in either a premature birth or a miscarriage.

Another possibility is if you had an infection after an abortion which was left untreated or experienced complications during or after the procedure. This may increase the risk of a miscarriage although this very rare.

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