If you're trying to get pregnant again some time after having a termination, you may fall into one of two camps.
Some women trying to get pregnant again after abortion feel they are likely to fall pregnant very quickly, as they had no problems previously.
Others worry that the operation to terminate their pregnancy may affect their future chances of conception.
For all women, the average time taken to conceive is around nine months, so it is likely that only a relatively small number of women will conceive within six months of deciding to try.
This can distress women who are trying to get pregnant after termination.
Any hint of sub-fertility can lead to an avalanche of regret about the termination, and some women can experience a resurgence of guilt feelings that they experienced in the weeks and months following the abortion.
Counselling may help you in this case.
In fact, the chance of a previous termination affecting your future fertility is very small, unless the termination was complicated by post-operative infection or a perforation of the uterus (womb) at the time of the operation.
Both of these surgical complications are rare. A more common problem following termination is the possible carriage of a vaginal infection such as chlamydia, into the uterus and tubes at the time of the operation.
Any infection in the vagina can be 'transported' further into the system by the instruments used for the termination operation. It is now common practice to take vaginal swabs in outpatients prior to a hospital admission for abortion. Any infection can then be treated prior to the operation.
Many hospitals also discharge patients on antibiotics following termination to reduce the risk of pelvic infection.
Rarely, the cervix may be 'lax' following instrumentation at the time of a termination. This can lead to a late miscarriage. If the problem (known as cervical incompetence) is recognised following a miscarriage, then arrangements can be made to insert a 'purse string' suture into the cervix early on in any subsequent pregnancy to tighten the cervix. The suture is then removed before delivery.
It is advisable for all women who are planning to get pregnant to have a 'pre-conception' consultation with their GP or practice midwife. It can be especially useful for women who have had a previous termination, as it is an opportunity to voice any concerns and to get a realistic expectation of the likely time taken to conceive.
What if there is a delay in conceiving?
As 80-90% of couples will conceive within one year of trying, couples who have not been successful after this period of time should consider having some investigations for infertility.
Women who have had a previous termination are sometimes anxious about seeking advice about this, as they feel that they won't get a sympathetic hearing from their GP. They sometimes worry that their GP will refuse to refer them for infertility investigation or treatment as they have terminated a previous pregnancy.
There should be no problem getting the same help and support from your GP as any woman who hadn't had a abortion would expect. If you do feel there is a problem or reluctance to help you get pregnant, ask to see another GP.