If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, you may be considering an abortion. While now may not seem like the ideal time for you to have a child, you might still want the option to have kids in the future. If you choose an abortion now, will it cause future infertility?  

These are important questions to ask. You have the right to know what you are putting in your body and how it might affect you long-term.

Can abortion cause infertility?

Generally, abortion is not thought to directly cause infertility or future pregnancy complications. However, just like with any procedure, there are risks worth considering. Some risks and complications associated with abortion have been linked to causing future infertility. 

What are abortion-related complications? 

Complications after an abortion can arise. It is estimated that about 2% of women who have an abortion will have abortion-related complications. However, 40% of women have abortion-related emergency department visits within six weeks of the initial abortion procedure.  

Most complications are considered minor and include: 

  • Heavy bleeding 
  • Pain 
  • Infection 
  • Post-anesthesia complications   
Post-abortion complications

Others are major including: 

  • Hemorrhage 
  • Cervical scarring 
  • Uterine scarring 
  • Uterine perforation 
  • Damage to internal organs such as the bladder or bowels 
  • Sepsis 

Future pregnancy risks may depend on the type of abortion and complications you have.  

What causes post-abortion complications?  

 Post-abortion complications are caused from one of three things:  

  1. Infection
  2. Incomplete evacuation of the pregnancy, leading to hemorrhagic complication 
  3. Injury from the surgical procedure itself 

Will abortion increase the risk of infertility or complications in future pregnancies?  

risk of infertility

Medical abortion (the abortion pill) alone does not appear to increase the risk of future pregnancy complications, as long as it’s done under the guidance of a medical healthcare provider [1].

However, 2-7% of women will have an incomplete abortion after taking Mifepristone (the first abortion pill) and need a surgical procedure to complete the abortion or stop heavy bleeding.  

Why is this important to note?  

If you have a medical abortion and it does not completely expel the pregnancy, tissue from the pregnancy can remain in your uterus. Left untreated, this can cause scarring and infection.  

To complete the abortion, you will need a surgical abortion. Surgical abortions use medical instruments and suction devices to expel and scrape the remaining pregnancy tissue from your uterine walls.

This increases the risk of more uterine or cervical scarring. Scar tissue can make it harder to conceive and increase the risk of miscarriage. 

Other abortion complications that can lead to infertility include Asherman Syndrome, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, premature birth, low birth weight, and pregnancy loss. 

While the risk is low, the chance for future pregnancy complications and infertility is still present.  

How many abortions can you have before you become infertile?  

The more surgical abortion procedures a woman has, the greater the risk of scarring. Scar tissue can interfere with conception, increase the risk of miscarriage, or create other complications later in pregnancy. 

Asherman Syndrome (scar tissue that forms inside the uterus or cervix that occurs after surgery or a D&C) may occur in up to 13% of women who undergo termination of pregnancy during the first trimester, and 30% in women who undergo dilation and curettage (D and C) in a later-term abortion. [2]   

Women who have had 3 or more abortions have nearly five times higher risk of developing Asherman Syndrome. 

If you have had one or more abortions and want to talk to someone about your reproductive or mental health, we at Parkville Women’s Clinic are always here to listen. You are never alone. Make an appointment today. 

Talk about abortion infertility

Learn more about how abortion can affect your fertility 

Before you make a decision about your pregnancy, consider talking to us at Parkville Women’s Clinic to learn how abortion may affect your future fertility. If we don’t know the answer to your questions, we will refer you to a medical professional who does.  

Your body and reproductive health matter. You deserve real answers and assurance that the current decision you face won’t affect your future desires. 

Schedule an appointment today.