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Can abortion cause Cancer, depression and Infertility?

Social stigma attached to abortion may suggest that abortion causes depression and other mental health problems. However, detailed reviews of the scientific evidence by teams of leading scientists and clinicians do not support such interpretations and have denied an abortion as such can cause depression. In fact, findings from the Turnaway Study show that individuals denied an abortion are more likely than those who obtain wanted abortions to remain in situations that often lead to depression. In fact, studies show that the most common feeling expressed by those who have had an abortion is relief.  95% felt that abortion was the right decision one week after their procedure and over 99% felt that it was the right decision three years after their procedure.

It is possible that people may have sadness, guilt or regret around an abortion. As time passes, these negative feelings do subside. However, this does not necessarily mean that abortion causes depression. Negative feelings are not a sign of clinical depression but are instead common aspects of important life decisions. Such feelings cannot be considered as restrictions on decisions to have an abortion or should not be misinterpreted as a state of depression. Rather, clinical Counselling prior to and post a medical abortion for an unwanted pregnancy can help women overcome such feelings.

Emotional side effects are common whether it be spontaneous or induced abortion. Pregnancy loss can lead to an interruption in the hormone cycle. The negative feelings that occur after a planned termination may be at least partly due to hormonal changes, which are similar to those that occur after a spontaneous abortion. It is not unusual to even experience mixed feelings after an abortion as terminating a pregnancy is usually a challenging event in a woman’s life. A latest report in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine stated that, results of many studies add to the scientific evidence that emotions about an abortion are associated with personal and social context and are not a product of the abortion procedure itself.

Can Abortion cause Cancer ? Evidence denies….

There have been conflicting information about the association of induced abortion with breast/ovarian cancer risk. Evidence tends to stress the incidence of pregnancy, be it short or full term, with all its protective changes like differentiation of breast tissues, intermission in ovarian activity, etc…. as protective or at least neutral, reproductive events.  Therefore, a medically terminated pregnancy is scientifically considered as a legitimate supplement to the total positive pregnancy experience.

At present, the factors known to increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer include age as increasing age is a an increased risk for breast cancer, a family history of breast cancer, an early age at first menstrual period, a late age at menopause, a late age at the time of birth of her first full-term baby and certain breast conditions. Obesity is also a risk factor for breast cancer in post – menopausal women. Moreover, meta-analysis results based on many studies, indicate that there was no association of abortion with breast cancer.

In 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) have consistently and unanimously agreed that there is strong evidence to support that having an abortion does not increase a woman’s risk of having breast cancer. The organizations declared that recent studies demonstrated no “causal relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent increase in breast cancer risk.” The organizations re-examined the evidence again and reaffirmed the statement in 2009 and 2013. Other renowned analysis and studies during the years 2004, 2008 and 2015 found that induced abortions did not increase breast cancer risk and found no link between induced abortions and breast cancer incidence.

As with ovarian tumours, several authors have argued that the more pregnancies a woman had had, regardless of whether they proceed to term or not, the lower her risk of endometrial cancer. Studies suggests that prolonged menstruation was related to an increased risk of endometrial cancer while pregnancy, including induced abortion, reduced the risk of endometrial cancer. In line with these study reports, many other clinical research findings observed that the risk of endometrial cancer decreased with increased number of pregnancies and the effect was unaffected by pregnancy period or outcome.

Can Abortion cause infertility ? Unsafe abortions can….

Medical or surgical abortions performed by legitimate health care professionals are not a risk factor for fertility. Having an abortion does not generally affect the ability to get pregnant in the future. It also does not increase the risks for pregnancy complications on attempts to get pregnant again. In fact, reproductive health professionals recommend using some type of birth control immediately after an abortion because of the high possibility that a woman can get pregnant again when she starts ovulating. A woman is also recommended to refrain from sexual intercourse for a certain time period after an abortion to allow the body time to heal. Antibiotics are always given before a surgical abortion to reduce the risk of infection and thereby avoid chances of fertility issues in future.

A 2018 article published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology confirms that, on a population scale, abortion is not associated with a higher risk of future infertility. However, unsafe induced abortion practices can possibly impact on a future pregnancy. In cases of unsafe abortions, an infection left untreated, could damage the uterus or travel up the fallopian tubes to block them, thereby prevent healthy conception and pregnancy. This condition is called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and is associated with increased risk of conception difficulty and pregnancy complications. It is highly recommended that women approach qualified health professionals for safe medical termination of pregnancy that offers positive outcomes for successful future pregnancy.

Since a past abortion is not likely to cause infertility, it is recommended to consider some of the other factors that could potentially affect fertility in women who are having trouble getting pregnant after abortion. Age, life style habits, medical history and partner’s fertility are the common factors that can affect fertility. A fertility specialist can help identify potential underlying causes for inability to conceive and advise possible treatment options.