Can I get an abortion on the NHS?
Most women living in the UK can have their treatment paid for by the NHS. This excludes Northern Ireland.
Where can I go for an abortion?
In the UK, abortions can only be carried out in a hospital or licensed clinic. Most are NHS-funded but availability for funding varies from region to region.
How Much Does an Abortion Cost?
If you live in England, Wales and Northern Ireland most abortions are fully funded by the NHS. Please give us a call with your location and GP’s details to find out if you are eligible for funding. If you live outside England and Wales then you would need to pay for the treatment. Please refer to our website for up to date prices.
How old do you have to be to have abortion?
You can have an abortion at any age. If you are under 16, you do not need to tell a parent or carer, but you will be encouraged to.
Can my GP give me an abortion pill?
No. In the UK, the abortion pill must be given to patients in either hospitals or licensed clinics.
What happens to the fetal tissue after the abortion?
Please rest assured that the fetal tissue removed during the termination procedure will be disposed of in a sensitive and respectful manner in accordance with the Royal College of Nursing Guidelines.
You have the right to ask about the disposal of fetal tissue and any personal requests for the tissue will be met wherever possible. If you would like to discuss this further, please ask the Doctor or Nurse for more information during your consultation.
Will my treatment be kept confidential?
We will not disclose your details to anyone unless we have your permission to do so. We will respect your privacy and dignity at all times. All consultations and treatments are completely confidential. However, if we feel that you are at risk of abuse or harm, then we are obliged to inform a local safeguarding team. This is for your protection.
How is my information used?
We are legally obliged to send certain, i.e. age, region, number of pregnancies and gestation of pregnancy data to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at the Department of Health. The HSA4 form is sent to the Department of Health and is an Abortion Notification Form. The contents of the statutory HSA4 form are used to inform the CMO of abortions and will be used for statistical purposes by the Department of Health. None of your personal details will be published and it is not possible to identify you from the data submitted to the Department of Health.
Can I have an abortion if I’m breastfeeding?
If you have an early medical, it is recommended that you stop breastfeeding for 14 days from the first day of treatment. If you are having a surgical procedure under general anaesthetic, please wait 24 hours after the anaesthetic before starting breastfeeding again.
Can I get a termination if I’m under 16?
If you are under 16 and considered able to consent to medical treatment, the law allows you to have an abortion without requiring parental or carer permission. However, you will be encouraged to involve an adult for support.
What type of an abortion will I have to have?
The type of abortion you have will depend on how long you have been pregnant for. The abortion pill will be recommended for the first 10 weeks’ gestation and a surgical abortion will be recommended afterwards.
What do I need for a procedure?
For all consultations, early medical abortion and surgical abortions, you should follow these instructions:
– Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing
– Bring a list of an prescribed medicines or inhalers
– If you are on prescribed medications you should continue to take these as normal
– If you are prescribed the following medications please contact us: Aspirin, Warfarin or Clopidogrel (Plavix)
– You will need to bring a supply of sanitary towels (not tampons)
How should I prepare for a surgical abortion under general anaesthetic?
– Do not eat from midnight before your surgical abortion
– You may drink clear fluids up until 6.00 am
– Make sure you have someone to care for you for 24 hours following treatment
– We strongly recommend that you do not smoke for 24 hours before and after your surgical procedure
– Bring with you a dressing gown and slippers
– Please remove all facial and body piercing, makeup and nail varnish
– Please remove all contact lenses before your procedure
– If you are ill within 48 hours prior to your surgical procedure, please contact the clinic as you may have to rebook
– You must not drive for 48 hours
Is abortion painful?
You will have pain because your uterus (womb) contracts to expel the pregnancy. The effect of an abortion is different for everyone, but it can cause menstrual-like pain and other discomfort. The level of pain is also determined by which abortion you have.
Will I bleed?
Yes, this is how your body passes the pregnancy. You may bleed more heavily than a period with large blood clots. After the pregnancy passes, you may have light bleeding for two weeks.
Do you have to be examined internally before an abortion?
Sometimes the pregnancy can be too early for us to see via an abdominal (tummy) scan so we may need to insert a small ultrasound probe into your vagina. If we can’t see the pregnancy on a vaginal scan we can’t be sure that the pregnancy is developing as it should and the nurse/doctor will discuss this further with you. It may be that your pregnancy is too early to see on scan, an early miscarriage has occurred or that the pregnancy is developing outside the uterus (womb) – an ectopic pregnancy.
What if I change my mind?
If you feel unsure regarding your decision, please don’t worry. You can change your mind right up to the point where treatment begins. If for any reason you feel like you need more time to determine your decision, please tell us. If you feel that you would benefit from speaking to a trained counsellor we can arrange this for you.
Will the client advisor try to talk me out of a pregnancy termination?
No, the client advisors are trained to listen to you and to provide information and support. We respect your right to choose and are transparent and honest in all that we do.
Is an abortion consultation necessary if I already know what I want to do?
Yes, there is a legal requirement that you have two doctors’ signatures on the relevant forms. Before any treatment is decided you will receive a consultation with a doctor or nurse where she or he will explain all your treatment options and answer any questions you may have about the abortion.
Can someone pick up the abortion pill for me?
No. You must come to the clinic in person to take the abortion pill.
Do I have to bring someone with me?
It is strongly recommended that you bring someone with you when having an abortion.
Can I bring someone with me on the day?
Of course; you may find that having the support of a loved one or a friend will help you through the day. They will be able to accompany you for some parts of your consultation, but during other parts you will need to be on your own. Whilst you have your procedure, they will be directed to the waiting room. If you are under 16 years old and you wish to be accompanied throughout treatment, please let a member of our team know.
I have young children; can I bring them with me?
Unfortunately, we do not allow children at the clinics so you must arrange childcare for the day of your appointment. Failure to do so might mean that you have to rebook your appointment or treatment.
What happens after an abortion?
After a termination, you may feel woozy and be in some discomfort. Some bleeding is also normal.
How long after an abortion can you have sex?
Have sex as soon as you feel ready, but use contraception if you do not want to get pregnant again as you will usually be fertile immediately after an abortion (nhs.uk, 2022)
How long do you have to rest?
Most women prefer to rest and recover for about two days after a termination before returning to their day to day activity.
What are the side effects of an abortion?
After a termination, women are likely to experience stomach cramps and vaginal bleeding. The cramps can be eased with ibuprofen. The early medical abortion pill can cause diarrhoea, sickness, hot flushes and chills. Usually these symptoms disappear within a few hours.
How long will I bleed for?
After you pass the initial pregnancy, you may see bleeding for up to 2 weeks and spotting until your next period.
Will I need to come back to the clinic after an abortion?
You are advised to have a check-up in 4 weeks’ time. You should have repeated your pregnancy test by then. The check-up can be at the clinic, Contraception and Sexual Health Clinic or the clinic that referred you to us.
How soon will I be able to get pregnant after an abortion?
After an abortion, a woman can get pregnant as soon as 5 days after. Contraception is therefore necessary to avoid getting pregnant again.
Can I drive after an abortion?
If you have had a general anaesthetic you must not drive for at least 48 hours.
Will having an abortion stop me from getting pregnant in the future?
Having an abortion should not affect your ability to get pregnant. In fact, your fertility can return to normal immediately, so it is very important that you use contraception to prevent becoming pregnant again.
What are the risks associated with the procedure?
There are a few risks associated with abortion. Please note that abortions are safest earlier in the pregnancy:
• Infection of the womb (1 in 10 abortions)
• Some of the pregnancy remaining in the womb (1 in 20 abortions)
• Excessive bleeding (1 in 1,000 abortions)
• Damage to the cervix (1 in 100 surgical abortions)
• Damage to the womb (1 in 250 to 1,000 surgical abortions)