If your abortion was straightforward, it’s very unlikely that it will affect your chances of getting pregnant. Most women who’ve had a termination, either by a surgical procedure or by taking medication, go on to have a baby when they’re ready without any problems.
However, if your abortion wasn’t straightforward, it may affect your fertility, although it’s still uncommon.
If you developed an infection after the procedure, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), this may have caused scarring in your womb or fallopian tubes. Scarring to the fallopian tubes makes it harder for eggs to travel to your womb (uterus). This is more likely to happen if you had an incomplete termination (retained products of conception).
If you have no periods or only light periods after a termination of pregnancy, this may be a sign of scarring. See your GP if you’re concerned. She can refer you for a procedure called a hysteroscopy.
During a hysteroscopy, a gynaecologist will pass a small camera through your cervix into your womb to check for scarring. If she does find scar tissue, it may be possible for her to remove it with an operation, and therefore increase your chances of getting pregnant. Your gynaecologist will talk you through your options and help you decide what to do.
Try not to worry, though. It’s very unlikely that there’s been any damage to your womb. Here are the figures to reassure you:
For a termination where medication is taken between 12 weeks and 24 weeks to bring on a miscarriage, there’s a less than one in 1,000 chance of the womb being affected.
For a termination that involves a surgical procedure, there’s a four in 1,000 chance of the womb being affected.
If you’ve had more than one termination, it’s possible that your cervix may have weakened. While this shouldn’t affect your ability to conceive, it does increase your risk of miscarriage. In this case, your obstetrician may offer you a cervical stitch to strengthen the cervix. She will talk you through your options before you decide what to do.
There are lots of reasons why it could betaking longer than you’d like to get pregnant, but it’s unlikely to be because of a termination.
If you’ve been trying for a year without success (or six months if you’re over 35), see your GP. She should be able to answer your questions, arrange for initial tests and, if necessary, refer you to a fertility specialist.