Cost of abortion: Medical vs Surgical methods of abortion
The cost of abortion may be one of the biggest questions on your mind while looking forward to having one. And it surely is a concern.
Abortion cost is no single value. It is not grocery shopping that you can buy at MRP from a supermarket. But it is a service and services come at varied costs depending on their quality.
This post intends to help you understand the cost of abortion and how it varies with the methods of abortion.
And if you think that an abortion costs in a monetary figure, then probably you need to give a read to this post. Abortion cost is individualized for every single patient. It may come at a very reasonable cost for some. While for some others, the cost of abortion may be extremely high.
Do you know the cost of an unsafe abortion can be lost reproductive health, a co-morbidity or even life?
Let us begin!
Cost of abortion and the factors involved:
There may be multiple factors that are involved in arriving at the final cost of an abortion. These factors vary for each woman according to her circumstances. Abortion costs may vary from country to country, from city to city and even from one abortion hospital to the other and from patient to patient.
Some factors are dependent on the patient’s conditions and some others on the hospital. So, we have bifurcated these factors broadly in these two categories.
Cost of abortion: Patient-dependent factors:
- Pregnancy length
- Pregnancy location
- Co-existing medical conditions
- Facilities sought
Cost of abortion: Abortion hospital dependent factors:
- Methods of abortion available
- Qualification and experience of the doctor
- Experience and training of the nurses
- Healthcare facilities
- Hospital facilities for patient’s comfort
Let us now learn about each factor in detail. This may help you reach an estimated cost of an abortion. And knowing a near-about figure may help you be ready for the same. Knowing about the cost that you may need may also help you plan your abortion.
It may also prevent you from getting tricked to pay higher.
Cost of consultation:
Initial consultation remains almost the same for all the patients. And hence its cost too is quite similar for all the patients at the same hospital. This factor depends on the hospital you visit.
While visiting a government hospital, you may not have to pay for the consultation. But there is a huge waiting period. And then stigma with abortions is also huge. Besides, you may need multiple appointments according to the availability of the doctor and resources.
Delay in getting an abortion may taper down your available abortion options.
In private hospitals, the consultation cost may vary according to the doctor’s qualifications, experience and expertise. Well, it is always better to invest in long-term health rather than saving just minor initial costs.
Cost of initial diagnostic tests:
- Routine blood examination
- Cost of ultrasonography
When you visit a certified MTP centre, you may first be asked to undergo a few tests. These tests may include some routine blood examinations to check for blood group, blood sugar and some others. These are essential to be ready in case of heavy blood loss or for the prevention of other complications.
And then an ultrasound or a transvaginal scan may also be asked for. This is to ascertain the length and location of the pregnancy. This is a highly important test. The method of abortion is dependent on these two factors, the length and location of the pregnancy.
These are the tests that almost every patient will be asked to undergo. They are essential and may not be skipped.
Yes, some more tests may be asked for patients with co-existing medical conditions.
Cost of abortion dependent on Pregnancy length:
The method of abortion employed depends on the pregnancy length. And the cost of abortion may vary from one method to the other. There are three recommended methods for performing safe abortion procedures. These are:
- The medical method of abortion
- Suction or vacuum Aspiration method of abortion
- Dilatation and Evacuation method of abortion
The medical method of abortion and its cost:
It is the method in which safe abortion pills are prescribed. This method is recommended to be used only for terminating very early pregnancies, the ones that are less than 6-8 weeks.
This is the earliest abortion method available and probably the cheapest in terms of monetary value. But do you know, its cost may be higher than that of a surgical abortion?
For knowing the cost, it is important to know about the procedure. This abortion pills method involves at least two appointments.
The method involves pregnancy termination with the help of abortion pills. There are two abortion pills, Mifepristone and Misoprostol. They both are to be taken at a gap of more than a day. So, the abortion cannot be completed in the first appointment.
In the first appointment, the tests may be done and the first pill may be administered. Either you may be asked to take the pill orally or the doctor may place it internally.
Then, you can return to your home or hotel where ever you may be staying. And during the second appointment, probably 24-36 hours later, you may be given the second pill.
Again, the doctor will decide according to your specific case whether to give you the pill orally or to insert it in the cervix.
In India, in some cases, the doctor may even give you the second pill on the first appointment only. For those occasions, the doctor may give you the directions for taking the second pill. It may have to be taken orally.
The medical method of abortion involves consultation, diagnostic tests and abortion pills. But still, the cost can be high because of many other patient dependent factors.
Factors deciding the cost of medical abortion:
- Consultation: 2 or more appointments, but at least two.
- Cost of diagnostic tests: Routine + Special if you are suffering from any other medical conditions
- Prescription cost: Abortion pills, pain management, supplements and other prescription medicines. It may vary from brand to brand and quality to quality.
- Travelling expenses to the abortion hospital and back
- Cost of staying in a hotel or guest house if you choose to travel to another city or country.
- In a case of emergency like that of sepsis or heavy blood loss, cost for the same.
- Cost of completing the abortion in case of incomplete abortion.
Although medical abortion consultation may be received at multiple MTP centres. However, surgical abortions can be performed only at registered abortion hospitals. Only highly qualified, trained and experienced doctors qualify for surgical abortions and hence surgical abortion may come at a higher initial cost than medical abortion.
But most of the time cost of medical abortion supersedes that of surgical abortion. This happens when all the factors are together counted and evaluated, to sum up.
Cost of pain management:
When you take the first pill, you may not feel pain or anything like that. It is given to stop the growth of the embryo and to prepare your cervix for abortion.
After the second pill, you may experience abdominal cramps and pain. Soon after, there may be bleeding. It may range from moderate to heavy. Even the pain may be too intense for some patients needing pain management.
So, add on the cost of pain management medicines besides your discomfort.
Cost of abortion confirmation:
You may pass out the embryo and other placental tissue through normal vaginal flow. In cases of a successful abortion, the bleeding is expected to stop within a week. However, you may not be sure of successful abortion. So, you may undergo a pregnancy test or a transvaginal scan to check if the abortion was complete.
So, add the cost of abortion confirmatory tests.
Cost of Post-abortion prescription:
If the abortion is successful, the additional cost may be of the prescribed supplements, antibiotics and other medicines to help you in post-abortion recovery. And, that’s it? No, what about the cost of travelling?
Cost of travelling:
If you choose to visit a government hospital nearby, you may save the cost of procedure and travelling. But all other costs will still be there. But would you choose to visit a nearby hospital?
Since abortions are associated with stigma, especially when the girl seeking an abortion is unmarried. Such women prefer to travel to a private abortion clinic. Again, you may not want you or your pregnancy or your abortion status to be known to a neighbor or an acquaintance.
Cost of a hotel:
Besides, you may not want to have an abortion at your home if you are unmarried. Either you may choose a hotel or a guest house. Just like the abortion hospital near you, you may not want to pick a hotel near your home. There is a high probability of hitting an acquaintance.
You may choose to travel to a different city where you may not get pointed out. And there you may have a hotel booked for at least 2-3 days until the abortion has taken place. Even after that, if you return to your home city, you may or may not have a successful abortion.
What if the abortion was incomplete?
Since the medical abortion method is only 95%-97% efficient, there is always a chance of it failing.
Now, this is where the cost of medical abortion may increase than that of a suction abortion. In case you return home and bleeding does not stop until 12-14 days, it may be a case of incomplete abortion. It may or may not be accompanied by abdominal pain and fever.
In such a case you may need to have a scan to find out if the abortion was complete. Although you can have it anywhere with a prescription, it may be better to travel to the best abortion hospital. It is so because if the abortion is incomplete, then it will have to be completed through surgery.
Add-on Costs with an incomplete abortion:
Now, see how many additional costs may be incurred with a medical abortion if it fails to complete as expected. These are:
- Diagnosis of incomplete abortion
- The cost of the surgical abortion procedure
- Cost of travelling
- Staying at a hotel
- Post-abortion recovery prescription medication
And if you are suffering from any co-existing medical condition, the cost may still be higher for managing the same.
The surgical method of abortion and its cost:
Surgical abortion may be required due to the pregnancy length or to complete the incomplete abortion with medical abortion. The cost of both may remain the same as far as the procedure is concerned.
However, if the preferred method in the first appointment itself is the surgical method, then all the turmoil of incomplete abortion and other complications and of course the cost involved can be saved. This is because the surgical method is a single appointment and a highly efficient procedure.
Its initial cost may be higher than that of medical abortion. But when you will get into its benefits, you may realize it to be a better and cost-efficient option.
Now surgical method of abortion is of two types and may be prescribed based on pregnancy length. The Vacuum Aspiration method is prescribed for first-trimester abortions. And Dilation and Evacuation procedure is prescribed for terminating second-trimester pregnancies.
Let’s find out the procedures and their costs.
Cost of Vacuum Aspiration or the Suction method of abortion:
This method is prescribed for aborting pregnancies that have not exceeded 12 weeks.
The method involves the use of a slender hand-operated device. During the procedure, a small tube called a vacurette is inserted into the vagina. On the other end, it is connected to the aspirator. Once the tube is properly inserted and precisely positioned, suction is applied.
This suction may be applied manually or through an electric-driven motor. In whichever case, the embryo and other products of gestation are sucked. They get collected into the collection bottle also attached to the tube.
The doctor then evaluates all the collected contents to ascertain if the abortion is completed. Most of the time, all the contents get easily sucked and removed from the womb. In some cases, some tissue may remain which the doctor may then scrape off from the uterine lining. Hence, the abortion is complete.
Cost of the procedure depending on the abortion clinic:
This procedure can be conducted only at registered abortion hospitals by registered medical practitioners. You may avail of it in a government hospital, but again the waiting period, time and of course, your privacy should be your priority.
In case you choose to visit a private abortion centre, it is advised that you
- check for the hospital’s certification for it to be an accredited abortion centre.
- Inquire about the doctor’s qualifications and experience.
- Also, look for trained and experienced nurses and other medical assisting staff.
- Check out whether you can have the abortion the same day or not.
- If privacy is your concern, see the hospital reviews and testimonials of previously treated patients.
- Look for the facilities that you seek as a part of your abortion care like a private consultation, private room, ease of access and abortion by appointment.
All these may help you choose the best abortion hospital suiting your needs. And the cost may vary according to the hospital’s facilities like:
- Qualification and experience of the doctor
- Training of nurses
- Private one-to-one consultation
- Private room
- Healthcare facilities like that of use of latest equipment and techniques.
- Painless abortion
- Hygiene care of the hospital
- Facilities for the comfort of the patient like availability of internet, canteen, a dedicated nurse, etc.
Factors deciding the cost of suction abortion:
It is a single-appointment procedure if you choose to visit American Hospital Bangalore (AHB) for the same. So, unlike medical abortion, the cost of multiple appointments is not included. The procedure lasts no more than 10 minutes and the patient is discharged the same day as soon as she feels comfortable. Most patients get their abortion consultation, diagnostic tests and procedure completed in a single 2-hour appointment.
Cost of diagnostic tests:
It is the same as that with the medical abortion method.
Cost of the procedure:
The cost of the procedure may include the one-time cost of the procedure itself, an anesthetist to make the abortion painless, antibiotics to prevent infections, supplements and other prescription medicines.
The cost of the procedure varies from hospital to hospital due to the aforementioned factors and also the quality of the procedure.
Quality of the procedure includes:
- Efficiency: Not all hospitals may guarantee you a 100% efficient abortion procedure. So, please check for the qualification and experience of the abortion team.
- Prevention of complications: Only certain hospitals take the sheer concern to prevent abortion-related side-effects and complications. They are all preventable if guidelines are thoroughly followed and all preventive measures taken beforehand.
Cost of travelling and hotel stay:
Since you may get a complete abortion the same day, you only need to travel once to the hospital. And even for the hotel, you need to rest only for a night and until you have your return flight or train or bus booking scheduled. So, the cost of travelling and hotel when combined for the number of times and number of days, respectively is less with suction abortion.
Cost of post-abortion consultation:
During the discharge, you may receive post-abortion consultation and prescription to help you heal early. Again you can expect only some personalized abortion care hospitals to give you post-abortion care consultation. It is a part of Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) to provide the same. At a reputed hospital, it is considered as a part of the procedure and you can expect it not to come at an additional cost.
Since you may not need to check for incomplete abortion, further cost of additional diagnosis, repeat tests, repeat procedure and repeat travel and hotel may be saved. Hence, it is a cost-effective procedure.
Even if your pregnancy is less than 8 weeks, you may opt for suction abortion to avoid pain, bleeding, discomfort and risk of incomplete abortion and of course, the cost of abortion.
Cost of D&E method of abortion:
D&E abortions are prescribed for terminating pregnancies that are in the second trimester. Abortion in India can be availed for up to 20 weeks through this method.
The procedure involves womb cleaning by gently abrading the uterine lining and evacuating all gestation products. The method is done under anesthesia to make it painless.
The cost of this procedure is nearly the same as that of suction abortion but slightly on a higher end. This is because the procedure requires great accuracy and precision to prevent internal injury and hemorrhage.
At AHB, it gets completed normally in less than half an hour. And again, it is also a single-appointment procedure. So, you can assume that all other cost factors with D&E abortion may remain the same as that of suction abortion.
Cost of abortion dependent on the pregnancy location:
All the factors discussed above for the methods of abortion were for normal intrauterine pregnancies. These are the pregnancies where the embryo implants itself in the uterus.
However, there are some faulty pregnancies known as ectopic pregnancies. They are cases of medical emergencies. This is which is why, during your first visit, the ultrasound is advised for the length and location of the pregnancy.
In case the pregnancy is intrauterine, the process and the cost factors remain the same as discussed above. But if the pregnancy is found to be ectopic, the removal of pregnancy needs to be done immediately to prevent it from bursting. Ruptured ectopic pregnancies may even be fatal.
Cost of abortion may even be the lost reproductive health, impact to future pregnancies, injury to internal organs, emergencies and even death of the patient. So, you must do your homework in picking the best abortion hospital.
If you are seeking a safe, legal and confidential abortion where your health and privacy are safe, you may schedule an appointment at American Hospital Bangalore.