Author(s): Hogue CJ
The impact of abortion on subsequent fecundity has been extensively studied, especially since abortion was legalized in Eastern Europe during the 1950s and 1960s and in Western Europe and the USA during the 1960s and 1970s. A review of this literature reveals a number of consistent findings. First, women who choose to have their first pregnancy terminated are at no increased risk of failing to conceive at a later date. Exceptions include abortions complicated by infection leading to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). However, this combination of factors occurs very infrequently. Second, women whose first pregnancy is terminated by vacuum aspiration are at no increased risk of subsequent ectopic pregnancy. Exceptions may be women whose abortion is complicated by pre-existing C. trachomatis and others who experience post-abortion infection leading to PID. Third, women whose first pregnancy is terminated by vacuum aspiration are at no increased risk of subsequent mid-trimester spontaneous abortion, preterm delivery or low birthweight, when compared with women who are pregnant for the first time. Fourth, women whose first pregnancy is terminated by D&C may have an increased risk of subsequent ectopic pregnancy, mid-trimester spontaneous abortion and low birthweight. Fifth, more research is needed before it is clear whether multiple induced abortions carry an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Finally, too little is known about fecundity following mid-trimester abortion procedures to state definitively that they carry no increased risk of adverse outcomes. However, studies to date suggest that instillation procedures carry little, if any, excess risk. Risks related to dilation and evacuation, if any, may be related to the method and extent of cervical dilation.