Post Abortion Fertility
Abortion is always an emotional and controversial issue. Not many of us are neutral on the subject, and people have always tended to try and use science to back up their own particular views on the subject. This means that many women have heard at some point in their lives that having an abortion can jeopardize their future fertility. Doctors say that this can happen, but it's very rare these days.
Doctor's Advice Vs Internet
If you have concerns about this issue, you would probably benefit from impartial, expert medical advice. A wealth of information is of course available online, but unless you take it from an official website representing a reputable medical body, the chances are that the information may be slanted in favor of the pro-choice or pro-life camps. We have tried to present information here in a factual format that allows you to make up your own mind.
Today most women in the United States have access to legal abortions carried out by medical professionals in safe, sterile environments. This was not always the case. Women would turn to "backstreet" abortionists to have a termination. This left women more at risk of infection, scarring and injuries to the reproductive organs, which could lead to future infertility or miscarriage.
Nowadays, the risk of these complications still exists, but it is very small. Many terminations are carried out by administering oral medications. Since no surgery is involved, there is therefore no risk of infection or injury. Possible but rare problems arising from surgical abortions (when the fetus is removed from the uterus with an instrument) include:
Cervix weakening or scarring - a weakened cervix may cause a woman to lose pregnancies. Depending on the extent of scarring, it could block sperm cells' access to the uterus and fallopian tubes, making conception difficult. A weak cervix can often be repaired through further surgery.
Perforation of the uterus - if the uterus is accidentally cut or damaged during the procedure, it may become distorted or scarred. This could obstruct the access of sperm cells to the fallopian tubes, or prevent a fertilized embryo from finding a suitable place to implant and grow in the uterine lining.
Post-operative infection - if an infection sets in after the termination procedure, this may damage the reproductive organs and reduce fertility. Such infections are extremely rare, however, given the sterile conditions in modern operating rooms and hospitals.
Spreading of existing infections - if a woman has an existing infection or STD in her vagina when she has a surgical abortion, there is a chance the infection could spread to the rest of her reproductive organs and cause fertility problems in the future. Again, this is something that very rarely happens, because most clinics check for and treat such infections before the abortion takes place. In these circumstances, a woman is often given antibiotics after the abortion procedure, to make sure there is no chance of the infection surviving and spreading.
In short, talk to your doctor. Many women who have had abortions are afraid of being judged by a doctor now that they are trying to get pregnant again. You should not let this stop you seeking medical advice. If you've had an abortion, you are just as entitled to non-judgmental fertility advice as anyone else, and there is always a doctor out there willing to help. If you are not comfortable talking to your current doctor, make an appointment with someone else.