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

Authors:
Helen Callaby
Helen Callaby
a Ninewells Hospital and Medical School
Jane Fisher
Jane Fisher
Monash University
Australia
Patricia A Lohr
Patricia A Lohr
British Pregnancy Advisory Service
United Kingdom

J Obstet Gynaecol 2019 Apr 19:1-6. Epub 2019 Apr 19.

c British Pregnancy Advisory Service , Stratford Upon Avon , UK.

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 (nā€‰=ā€‰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. Impact Statement What is already known on this subject? A surgical abortion in the first and second trimesters has been demonstrated to be safe and acceptable, if not preferable, to a medical induction for most women, including those seeking a termination of pregnancy for a foetal anomaly (TOPFA). However, most hospitals in Britain only offer a medical TOPFA in the second trimester, often due to a lack of skills to provide a surgical alternative. The lack of choice of method has a negative impact on women's experiences of TOPFA care. Independent sector abortion clinics provide the majority of surgical abortions in the second trimester in Britain, and are therefore a potential site of surgical TOPFA care. What do the results of this study add? Women and NHS service providers can be reassured that when a dedicated care pathway for TOPFA is employed in the context of routine abortion provision in the independent sector, the choice of termination method can be safely and satisfactorily increased. What are the implications of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research? The main implication is the raising of awareness among NHS providers of the availability and acceptability of this model of TOFPA service delivery, so it can become an option for more women who do not want to have a medical induction. We hope that the demonstration of some women's preferences for surgical TOPFA and the safety of this option will lead to development of this service within routine abortion lists within hospital settings. Further research could include determining the reasons why women and their partners may ultimately not choose to pursue a surgical TOPFA within the independent sector abortion service and an in-depth exploration of women's experiences of being treated within this setting.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01443615.2019.1568973DOI Listing
April 2019
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Department of Health [Internet]. et al.
2016

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