Unplanned pregnancy is very common. Around half of all pregnancies are unplanned. As many as one in three women in the UK have an abortion at some time their lives. The decision to have a TOP or abortion is not easy and it can be a very emotional time for women.
It can be a difficult choice to make and it can be a very emotional time. Talking to people you trust and making sure you have accurate information and support can help. It is important that you seek advice as early as possible.
TOP is a medical process that ends a pregnancy before it results in the birth of a baby. TOP is free through the NHS. Termination of pregnancy is available up to 18 weeks & 6 days gestation in Tayside. TOP should take place as early as possible – ideally in the first 9 weeks of pregnancy. The earlier it takes place, the easier and safer it is to perform.
You can be referred for a termination by:
• Your GP
• Consulting an independent provider such as British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)
Once you have been give plenty of opportunity to discuss your pregnancy and you have decided that you do not wish to continue with it, an appointment will be made at either PRI or Ninewells clinic. If your doctor/nurse has given you a letter, please take it with you to the hospital. The appointment will last approximately and hour. Staff will make sure that you are comfortable with your decision. You can change your mind at any time before it starts. Staff will ensure your right to confidentiality.
There are three types of TOP available depending on how far along the pregnancy is and your current health. For information on what’s involved in a termination of pregnancy click here
Your fertility can return quickly after having a termination, and so it is important to think about contraception immediately. You may not feel like talking about this so soon after, but it is important. You can get information and advice from the professionals involved in supporting you through your termination.
Support after TOP
Having a termination can be an emotional and traumatic experience for some women, and counselling can help support you through this time. Post termination counselling is available through the NHS or through independent organisations. You will be given this information either at Ninewells or PRI.
Contact for more information including women from Northern ireland
Tayside Sexual & Reproductive Health Services have clinics in Dundee, Perth & Arbroath:
For all areas & clinics telephone: 01382 425 542
If you are aged between 14-16 you do not need to take someone with you for your clinic appointment, but it is requested that if returning for a termination you have someone over 16 with you. You may be encouraged to try to involve a parent or another adult, for example another family member or friend. For anyone under 14 , there would be discussion with the child protection team. You would be involved in all discussions.
For more information for young people click here
For further information on abortion click here
What’s the law on TOP ?
The Abortion Act 1967 makes it legal to have a TOP in Scotland, England and Wales during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy provided that:
- TOP is carried out in a hospital or licensed clinic
- Two doctors agree that continuing with the pregnancy would be more harmful to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family than if the pregnancy was aborted.
After 24 weeks, TOP can be carried out only if:
- It is necessary to save the woman’s life; or
- It will prevent grave, permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or
- There is substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.
TOP Services in Scotland for women who live in Northern Ireland
Abortion Services in Scotland are provided by NHS Boards. If you normally live in Northern Ireland, and travel to any part of Scotland to access abortion services, the Health Board in that area must care for you, or make arrangements for you to be cared for, in line with the 1967 Abortion Act.
Abortion services in Scotland are different to those in England. For example, although some clinics in England provide a 1-day early medical abortion service (you are given both medications on the same day) this service is not provided in Scotland.
You should also be aware that, although patients who live in Scotland can be given the second abortion drug (misoprostol) to take at home if they meet certain criteria, women who normally live in Northern Ireland will have to return to the clinic to take the second medication.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition it is very important that you discuss this with your clinician who will advise you of any impact this may have on your choice of procedure and what to expect.