Surgical vs. medical abortion Johannesburg

Quick Abortion clinic

Nico Women Clinic offers aspiration (surgical) and medication (medical) abortion with Mifespritone

Advantages of an Aspiration (Surgical) Abortion

  • It can be done very early in a pregnancy (as soon as something can be seen in an ultrasound) as well as further along –  up to 13 weeks 6 days at Nico Women Clinic and even further at other clinics
  • It is over more quickly – only one appointment is usually necessary and it often requires less time off work than a medication abortion
  • Although it is sometimes known as a “surgical” abortion, it is a very simple, safe procedure that involves gentle suction (there are no incisions/cuts, stitches or scarring)
  • Recovery for most people is very fast, with most people returning to the majority of their normal activities within a day or two
  • It is a more effective method with a lower failure rate than medication abortion
  • There is typically less bleeding with an aspiration abortion than with a medication abortion – with aspiration, bleeding tends to be less than a period; with a medication abortion bleeding tends to be heavier than a period
  • There is typically less pain for less time than with a medication abortion.
  • If you have anemia (low iron), this is the recommended procedure as a medication abortion includes more bleeding
  • It can be easier to keep an aspiration abortion private as there is minimal bleeding and cramping at home
  • It is possible to have an IUD inserted during the procedure itself (which makes insertion more comfortable)
  • During the abortion you have on site support from medical staff and counsellors
  • If you do not have BC medical (MSP/a Care Card), aspiration abortion is the more affordable option

Disadvantages of an Aspiration (Surgical) Aspiration

  • Some people feel anxious in a medical setting or having a medical procedure where a doctor inserts instruments into the uterus
  • Anesthetics and drugs to manage pain during the procedure may cause some short-term side effects such as dizziness or nausea (serious problems are extremely rare)
  • You will need a ride, a companion on transit, or a taxi to get home from the clinic

Advantages of a Medication (Medical) Abortion

  • It usually avoids a medical procedure where a doctor inserts instruments into the uterus
  • You can be at home instead of in a clinic during the actual abortion, which may feel more comfortable or provide a sense of more privacy and control – in particular, for some survivors of sexual abuse/assault
  • It does not require a ride, a companion on transit, or a taxi to get home from the clinic – you can take transit on your own or drive to and from appointments
  • It seems like a miscarriage, which for some can feel more natural
  • Some people prefer to consciously experience the process of ending the pregnancy at home rather than being sedated as during an aspiration (although sedation with an aspiration is optional)

Disadvantages of a Medication (Medical) Abortion

  • It can only be done up to 7-10 weeks after the first day of your last period (up to 9 weeks at Nico Women Clinic
  • The process takes longer than an aspiration abortion and more appointments are necessary (at least two appointments 1-2 weeks apart) and it often requires more time to rest
  • Failure rates are higher than with an aspiration abortion (although still very low)
  • There is typically more pain with a medication abortion. Cramping can be strong and usually lasts longer than with an aspiration abortion
  • Bleeding is typically heavier with a medication abortion – it may be very heavy at times and usually lasts longer than with an aspiration
  • Misoprostol, one of the medications used, can cause flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and body aches
  • During the abortion itself, you will not have on site support from medical staff and counsellors
  • It may be harder to keep a medication abortion private, especially from people you live with (because of significant bleeding, cramping and other side effects) and because the medications involved can show up on Pharmanet which can be seen by doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists
  • Viewing the pregnancy tissue can be difficult for some, especially when the pregnancy is over 7 weeks and you may see an embryo or fetus
  • If you do not have BC medical, a medication abortion is more expensive than an aspiration
  • Those with anemia (very low iron) and/or severe vomiting are not good candidates for a medication abortion


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