Surgical termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly: what role can an independent abortion service provider play?

Callaby H, Fisher J, Lohr PA

Apr 2019


Most hospitals in Great Britain only offer a medical termination of pregnancy for a fetal anomaly (TOPFA) in the second trimester. We describe the safety and acceptability of a surgical TOPFA service delivered by an independent-sector abortion provider. Non-identifiable data for women undergoing TOPFA at British Pregnancy Advisory Service from 1 January 2015 to 31 March 2016 was extracted from existing databases. Anonymous feedback was obtained using a questionnaire. Women (n = 389) were treated along a specialised care pathway within routine abortion lists. The anomalies were chromosomal (64.0%), structural (30.8%), suspected chromosomal and/or structural or unknown (5.1%). The termination method was vacuum aspiration (41.9%) or dilation and evacuation (58.1%). No complications were reported. Feedback (173 women, 122 partners) indicated care was sensitive (99.6%), supportive (100.0%), knowledgeable (99.2%), and helpful (100.0%). Most (92.1%) reported the right amount of partner involvement. All of the respondents were likely/very likely to recommend the service. A cross-sector approach safely and satisfactorily increases the choice of TOPFA methods.