Abortion - Q & A
This article lists a range of questions on abortion which were posted by visitors to the Better Health Channel. Our experts provide the answers.
Q. What are the implications of having sex sooner than two weeks after an abortion?
There are physical and emotional implications related to the timing of vaginal sex following an abortion. Assuming there are no complications from the procedure (such as infection, persistent pain or bleeding), the physical healing process should be safe for vaginal sex if the woman is emotionally comfortable and feels physically ready to resume. Contraception issues need to be considered, as pregnancy can occur following an abortion as soon as sexual activity is started again. It is advised to proceed gently, with consideration to both the physical and emotional comfort of the individual.
Q. How many abortions can you have?
The main risks associated with recurrent termination of pregnancy include:
- Infection following termination (antibiotics are usually given to reduce this risk).
- Weakness of the neck of the womb (incompetent cervix). This is more likely if termination occurs after 11 to 12 weeks gestation. The use of prostaglandin gel or tablets prior to a termination procedure has reduced this problem.
The mechanics of the termination procedure, and the occurrence of an infection, can be associated with an increased risk of infertility. However, the large majority of women who have had first trimester suction terminations do not suffer permanent damage or infertility when an experienced person performs the termination.
Q. I had an abortion three years ago. I’ve been trying to get pregnant for eight months now, but with no luck. Can you tell me if the abortion has anything to do with it? My period is very irregular; sometimes I even miss a month. I’m very depressed and I do not even know now when is the best time to try.
In general, a termination of pregnancy will not affect a woman’s future chance of conceiving, any more than if a woman has had to have a curette for a pregnancy miscarriage. It is important to remember that a woman’s fertility decreases after age 33.
Complications following the procedure, such as infection, may have an influence. It is true that unresolved emotional issues following a termination could lead to depression and a change in the fertility cycle. It might be a good idea visit to your doctor. Your doctor can also advise you on issues like:
- Whether you are ovulating.
- If tests are necessary - for example blood tests such as FSH, oestrogen and progesterone hormone levels, prolactin level, thyroid function, tests for anaemia, pelvic ultrasound.
- Whether your partner should come in for a check-up and tests.
A referral to an obstetrician or fertility control specialist would usually be suggested after trying to get pregnant for 12 months.
Q. If I wanted to get an abortion at the age of 15, how much would it cost? Do my parents have to know about it? Would there be any problems involved because of my young age? How much would it affect me afterwards?
I am sorry to hear you are in a difficult situation but there are people who can help and, at the same time, keep your information private and confidential. The Action Centre for Young People provides support and help to young women who are pregnant. This service does not charge and can help you explore your options for the pregnancy, including arranging an abortion (depending on how many weeks pregnant you are) if this is what you decide upon. You may be eligible for your own Medicare card - this would cover the medical fees although you may still need to pay a hospital fee.
The health professionals there will make sure that everything is kept private and that you have the necessary support during this time in your life. Please call them and at least discuss your options - they are very helpful.
Where to get help
Abortion - counselling options
- Your doctor
- Women’s health centre
- The Action Centre for Young People Tel. (03) 9654 4766 or 1800 013 952
- Family Planning Victoria Tel. (03) 9257 0100
- Family Planning Centre Tel. (03) 9347 7036 or 1800 815 794
- Pregnancy Advisory Service, The Royal Women’s Hospital Tel. (03) 9344 2259
- Abortion Advice and Counselling Centre of Melbourne, The Croydon Day Surgery Tel. (03) 9724 9377
- Fertility Control Clinic Tel. (03) 9419 2922 or 1800 809 013
- The Women’s Clinic on Richmond Hill Tel. (03) 9427 0399
- Melbourne Family Planning Tel. (03) 9527 2992
- Contraceptive and Counselling Clinic, Monash Medical Centre Tel. (03) 9594 2445
- Sunshine Hospital Tel. (03) 9365 1430
. Abortion - emotional issues
. Abortion in Australia
. Abortion procedures
. Abortion services in Victoria
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Article publication date: 24/06/2004
Last reviewed: 30/06/2004
This article, like all health articles on the Disability Online, is sourced from Better Health Channel and has passed through a rigorous and exhaustive approval process. It is also regularly updated. For more information see Better Health Channel quality assurance
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