Dear Dr. Kate,
When I was 15 I had an abortion. I am now 23 and I am considering having a baby. I am worried, however--I have heard that when you have an abortion it risks future pregnancies. I have always wanted a baby, and I couldn't imagine life without having my own children...but when I was so young I was in no way ready at that point to have one. My questions are: Is there a chance that I won't be able to get pregnant in the future because of my abortion? And how can I tell if I will be able to have a child? I mean, is there a way for me to assure myself that I will be able to reproduce?
You're not alone, in either having had an abortion or being worried about future pregnancies. Abortion is incredibly common in the U.S.--more than 1 in 3 women will have one. So let me reassure you--having an uncomplicated abortion does not impact your fertility. You will be able to get pregnant, carry a pregnancy, and have a baby, in the same way as if you had never been pregnant. Fertility is affected by many things, of course--an untreated STD can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and scarring of your fallopian tubes. And it gets harder to get pregnant as you get older, especially over the age of 35. But the abortion itself doesn't affect your chances. (What do I mean by "uncomplicated"? If you didn't have a massive infection that required hospitalization and/or additional surgery afterwards.)
Going on-line for information about abortion is quite tricky--many sites are set up to look educational, but are full of misinformation. Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource for information. So keep yourself healthy and continue to use birth control until you're ready to become a parent--that day will come, and your body will be ready.
Have any of you heard that abortion can lead to infertility?