Consultation at the clinic takes about 2 hours. This is when we make sure that your treatment is legal, suitable and safe. You will go through the same process whether your treatment is booked for the same day, or is booked for a later date.
Everything you tell us is kept private. Doctors, nurses and health workers cannot share information about you without your agreement unless they think that you or another person is in serious danger. In these exceptional cases they would try to discuss it with you first.
You will see various people during your appointment and can re-join your support person in between each stage. All of these steps are needed before we can start your treatment, but might not happen in the same order:
Some women will have a telephone consultation appointment lasting around 40 minutes. During this you need to be on your own, somewhere safe where you can speak openly.
At the beginning of the call we confirm your personal information and ask some security questions. We then talk about your pregnancy options and if you decide to end the pregnancy we undertake your medical assessment, discuss your treatment options, book your treatment and formally consent you for treatment. We also talk about your future contraception needs and STI testing.
Although your treatment booking is based on the information given during your telephone consultation, an ultrasound scan is necessary (on the day of treatment) to confirm that your preferred treatment can go ahead.
On the day of treatment you will have an ultrasound scan and a finger prick blood test before treatment begins. We check the information discussed over the phone with you and confirm your consent to treatment.
Pregnancy options discussion
You will be seen on your own to talk privately about the pregnancy and decide whether to:
- Continue the pregnancy and become a parent
- Continue the pregnancy and pursue adoption
- End the pregnancy by abortion
If you still feel unsure, need more time to come to a decision or want to speak to a counsellor in depth, we can arrange this when you call to book.
If you want to end the pregnancy we will begin your medical assessment.
To ensure that treatment is suitable and safe for you, we need to carry out some tests. We will:
- Ask you about your medical history, and check your weight and height
- Give you an Ultrasound scan on your tummy (for early pregnancy a small probe may be placed in your vagina)
You will have an ultrasound scan to confirm the dates of the pregnancy. This also helps us decide what treatment options are available to you.
Sometimes the pregnancy is so early that we can't see it on an ultrasound scan, which is done on your tummy so we may need to insert a small ultrasound probe into your vagina.
If we can’t see the pregnancy on a vaginal scan it means we cannot be sure that the pregnancy is developing inside the uterus (womb).
On rare occasions this may indicate an ectopic pregnancy (where the pregnancy grows outside the uterus). If a miscarriage is suspected, we will talk to you about what that means. You will have all the time you need to discuss your thoughts and options and will we provide information about your care.
You will have a finger-prick test to check whether you have Rhesus-negative blood. If you have Rhesus-negative blood you will need an Anti-D injection following your abortion.
If needed, we will also check for anaemia through a finger-prick test. Occasionally, we need to take a blood sample for other tests.
After a surgical abortion or a medical abortion from 10 weeks gestation, the pregnancy tissue is collected and stored separately from other clinical waste, before being sent for incineration (burning). It is destroyed completely. Your pregnancy remains may be collected together with others in a shared receptacle for disposal. If you would prefer that your pregnancy remains are collected separately, please tell us before your procedure. If you have any specific wishes about how you would like the remains to be disposed of (such as burial or cremation) please discuss this with a member of staff before your treatment takes place.
If you have an early medical abortion (up to 10 weeks gestation), you will pass the pregnancy remains at home or another place of your choosing. You can decide how you wish to dispose of the pregnancy remains. They can be flushed down the lavatory, or wrapped in tissue, put in a small plastic bag and placed in the dustbin. If you plan to bury or burn the remains, ask a member of staff and they will give you some information how you can safely do that. If you prefer you can arrange to bring the remains to a BPAS clinic and our staff will dispose of them for you in the same way we would following a surgical abortion.
If you have any other questions about the disposal of pregnancy remains, please ask us.
Routine STI testing is recommended for women having abortions – a swab or urine test and blood sample is all we need. We will explain which test we can offer you as part of your NHS funded treatment.
The NHS will often fund STI testing as part of your treatment package. If you are worried about STIs that we do not test for, or if STI testing is not funded as part of your NHS treatment package, please visit www.nhs.uk or call the NHS National Sexual Health Helpline on 0300 123 7123 for information on local STI testing and advice in your area.
You can choose to pay for any of the STI tests we offer. If you would rather pay for chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea, or HIV testing at BPAS, please ask your BPAS nurse or healthcare professional.
We will talk about your contraception after treatment.
You can get pregnant almost immediately after an abortion, so it is important to have your method of contraception ready. Almost all contraceptive methods can be started on the same day as treatment.
You may have already discussed this with one of our contraceptive nurses over the phone; if not you can ask all the questions you need, or click here for more detailed information on your contraception options.
Choose your treatment
The type of abortion treatment you can have depends on how many weeks pregnant you are, if you would like sedation during treatment and the results of your medical assessment.
We will answer your questions and help you choose your preferred treatment type. We will then arrange for your treatment.