Can having an abortion affect my fertility?

In the UK, most women who have an abortion don't have any complications and their fertility isn't affected.

However, a small number of women have complications, such as:

Complications like these can affect fertility. Also, repeated abortions can cause damage to your cervix and increase the risk of late miscarriages.

Infection after an abortion

Taking antibiotics before an abortion may reduce your risk of infection. The healthcare professionals treating you will provide advice about taking antibiotics. 

Most infections are easy to treat. However, an infection like PID that isn't treated could lead to a more severe infection of your reproductive organs. This can cause infertility or an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb.

Damage to the womb during an abortion

The risk of damage to the womb during an abortion is low in the UK. A medical abortion involves taking medication that causes you to have a miscarriage. A surgical abortion is a procedure to remove the foetus from the womb.

Read information about how abortions are performed.

Damage to the cervix can make it weaker. If the cervix can't stay tightly closed in a future pregnancy (cervical incompetence), this can increase the risk of miscarriage. However, cervical incompetence can be treated with an operation to put a small stitch of strong thread around your cervix to keep it closed.

If the womb is damaged during an abortion, it can cause scarring of the womb. It may be possible to remove the scarring with an operation.

After an abortion

If you have an abortion, the healthcare professionals treating you should tell you how much bleeding to expect. They may also give you a follow-up appointment to see someone within two weeks and a telephone number to call if you have any problems or need advice. 

When to seek medical attention

You should seek medical help as soon as possible if you have:

  • pain in the lower part of your abdomen that doesn't get better with pain relief medication
  • heavy bleeding  
  • a high temperature

Read the answers to more questions about women's health.

Further information:

 

Page last reviewed: 21/03/2016

Next review due: 21/03/2018