Abortion in case of abnormalities?

If your unborn baby is diagnosed with a malformation or a chromosomal abnormality, you have the right to opt for an abortion. Find out more here about your options, the process and consequences of a termination and where you can find help with this difficult decision.

Prenatal diagnostics offers you the opportunity to detect chromosomal disorders and malformations in your unborn child during your pregnancy. You can take advantage of this offer, but you don’t have to. Most examinations that focus on the early detection of disabilities are carried out around the 13th week of pregnancy ( nuchal translucency measurement , amniocentesis , chorionic villus sampling , triple test). At this time, as an expectant mother or father, you have often already established a relationship with your unborn child. Deciding for or against the child when there are abnormal findings is a difficult and very stressful decision. It is therefore all the more important to find out about the possibilities of aborting before you finally make this decision. In the following you will find further information on abortion, its consequences and what help you can take advantage of.

Until when can you have an abortion?

Irrespective of whether the prenatal diagnosis revealed a disability in the child, abortion is permitted in Germany up to the 12th week of pregnancy . If, during a prenatal examination, the doctors determine that the baby is developing abnormally and that this poses a current or future physical or mental health risk to the mother, the pregnancy can legally be terminated up to the date of delivery. After the 22nd week of pregnancyhowever, abortions are rarely carried out, since the child would be able to survive outside the womb from this point on. In any case, the termination of pregnancy may only take place with your consent and may only be carried out by a doctor. Late terminations, i.e. terminations of pregnancy due to the risk of the child becoming disabled, are covered by health insurance.

Get help with the difficult decision

When making your decision for or against the child, you should definitely take your time and trust your feelings and your experiences. Talk a lot with your partner about this decision and its consequences. At a counseling center you can get comprehensive advice and information and find support in your decision. Pregnancy conflict counseling informs you about the possibilities, risks and consequences of abortion. Here you have the opportunity to clarify your situation in a direct conversation with a counselor and to come to a decision. The advice is of course confidential and free of charge. You can find contact addresses for pregnancy conflict counseling in your area, for example at Caritas , atProFamilia or your city’s women’s representative.

This is what happens when you have an abortion

If you have decided to have an abortion, a free and detailed consultation will follow at a pregnancy conflict consultation. This conversation is by no means about blaming you or lecturing you, but about talking to you about your situation and your options and about informing and advising you. After this interview, you will receive a certificate of the counseling interview and can reconsider your decision. With the certificate, you can have the abortion performed by a gynecologist or doctor no earlier than three days after the interview. Before the procedure, you should be well informed about the procedure and the risks. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Methods of abortion

A distinction is made between instrumental and medicinal methods of abortion. Instrumental methods include suction and scraping:

  • The suction method (aspiration): With the suction method, the cervix is ​​stretched and the embryo and the mucous membrane of the uterus are sucked out. This is done within a few minutes under general or local anesthesia. A follow-up check is then carried out using ultrasound. The suction method can be carried out from the sixth to the 12th week of pregnancy and, according to the Federal Statistical Office (as of 2009), is the most common method of abortion in Germany with 75%.
  • Curettage: During the curettage, the cervix is ​​stretched and the uterus is scraped out using a so-called curette (a spoon-like instrument). This removes the embryo and the lining of the uterus. The scraping is possible up to the 12th week of pregnancy. However, the suction method is preferred because it involves fewer complications.
  • Medical abortion: The medical abortion is done with the help of a so-called abortion pill, which contains the drug Mifegyne. The drug is taken under medical supervision and causes the embryo to be expelled after one to three days. The expulsion is comparable to a heavy menstrual period and a follow-up examination takes place one to two weeks later. According to the Federal Statistical Office (as of 2009), medical abortions were performed in 12% of abortions.
  • Late medical abortion : Late medical abortion is performed in the same way as the medical abortion, with the addition that not only the drug Migeyne is administered, but also a drug that stimulates labour. This triggers an artificial miscarriage, which takes place under medical supervision. Fetuses that are potentially viable (from 22 weeks gestation) are killed beforehand by cutting off the blood supply through the umbilical cord or by injecting it with potassium chloride, which causes the fetus to cardiac arrest.

consequences of abortion

As also becomes clear in the description of the methods, an abortion is a serious intervention that usually also involves physical and psychological risks and consequences.

Physical consequences

  • Abdominal pain and bleeding can occur immediately after an abortion
  • The risk of preterm birth in a later pregnancy is increased
  • The lining of the uterus could be damaged, especially during curettage, which can lead to infertility
  • If the pregnancy is terminated without complications, fertility is not endangered

mental consequences

There are no unequivocal scientific results on the mental consequences of abortions. However, many women and fathers suffer from great feelings of guilt and are prone to depression. However, some sufferers experience relief after the abortion. Often the strength of the grief is related to the depth of the thoughts, expectations, and desires associated with the child. Talking to your partner or a therapist about what happened can help you cope with the loss of your child.

Living with a disabled child

If you decide against an abortion, then you decide for your child. Life with a disabled child has many facets, and joy and sorrow are often closely related. Above all, everyday life with a child who may need care can be time-consuming and exhausting. But you will grow with the tasks and the beautiful moments show you that it is worth all the effort and limitations. Many parents see their disabled child as a special gift. In our special “ Living with a child with a disability ” you will find out how life is changing for you and your family, where you can find financial support but also help and how you can support your child.

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