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Surgical abortion

Surgical abortion involves an operation, usually under a light sedation, to end a pregnancy.

What is the first step?

Before you make an appointment, it is important to know how many weeks pregnant you are and what the clinic can offer. If you are not sure how pregnant you are, you may need to have an ultrasound.

An ultrasound is done to check how many weeks pregnant you are. It is usually best to wait until you are six to seven weeks pregnant before having a surgical abortion. If it is done earlier than this, there is a higher chance that the abortion will not work.

What is involved?

The surgical abortion is usually done while you are under light sedation, which will make you feel relaxed and sleepy. Sedation is used to make you feel as comfortable as possible during the procedure.

The abortion removes the lining and the contents of the uterus. This is done by applying gentle suction to the inside of the uterus with a small plastic tube. This is a safe, simple and low risk procedure when done by an experienced doctor.

The procedure takes about 15 minutes, but you will need to be at the clinic or hospital for about four hours to ensure the anaesthetic has worn off and you are able to travel home safely.

After around 16 weeks of pregnancy a different procedure is used. This procedure is often more complicated and can be harder to access. The cost of a surgical abortion generally increases the longer you are pregnant.

Where can I get a surgical abortion?

Surgical abortion is available in NSW through private or community-based clinics and occasionally through public hospitals. In NSW you do not need a referral from a doctor to visit a clinic, which means you can call the clinic directly for an appointment. Some clinics only perform surgical abortions up to 12 weeks while others will perform abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

How can I book a surgical abortion appointment?

If you are considering a surgical abortion, or would like to to find out where you can access a surgical abortion, call the Pregnancy Choices Helpline on 1800 008 463.