Fertility Blog

Will abortions affect my fertility? -- Ask The Experts

Question: I had two elective abortions more than 10 years ago and I am worried that somehow that has something to do with the infertility I am now experiencing. Could the abortions be the reason I am now having trouble conceiving? Answer: Most elective pregnancy terminations are done in the middle of the first trimester and are relatively simple, uncomplicated procedures. There is no reason to automatically assume that abortions have anything to do with subsequent infertility. Unless there is an infection, excessive bleeding requiring a second procedure or some other complication, the uterus and fallopian tubes should not suffer any long-term damage. On the other hand, any uterine procedures associated with prolonged bleeding or infection can lead to minor or major scarring of the uterine cavity or the fallopian tubes. A mid-cycle ultrasound, just before ovulation, should be able to verify that your uterine lining is adequately thick and free of scar tissue. Also, a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) can detect uterine scarring or any obstruction of the fallopian tubes. Even if there is any scarring, which is unlikely, a simple procedure called operative hysteroscopy can often remove the scar tissue effectively. Only the most severe cases would require the use of a gestational carrier (surrogate). Many, many women have had prior elective abortions and go on to have uncomplicated pregnancies. Women suffering from infertility often also suffer feelings of guilt about prior terminations. Some even think they are being punished for having elected to terminate a pregnancy. This thinking is irrational and is best replaced with positive thinking and a healthy attitude towards the future. This allows them to be active partners in the process of overcoming infertility. Carolyn Givens, MD

Posted on March 25th, 2007
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