Abortion treatments

Bloemenhove Clinic Haarlem and Abortion Clinic Amsterdam offer a number of abortion treatments. Which treatment is suitable for you depends, among other things, on how long you have been pregnant and your personal preference. To find your options, please use our selection tool.

Consultation and ultrasound scan

For all of our available abortion treatments, you must first discuss your decision with one of our doctors, followed by an ultrasound scan. Depending on the ultrasound scan, your health and your situation, the doctor determines whether the treatment can take place (on the same day). We offer a number of different abortion treatments.

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Available abortion treatments

Early abortion for pregnancies between 5 and 6.2 weeks

An early abortion is available for pregnancies up to 6 weeks and 2 days (calculated from the first day of your last menstruation). There is no need for a referral letter nor is there a mandatory consideration period. The actual treatment is identical to other pregnancy terminations. This means that an early abortion can be either an abortion pill or suction curettage (vacuum aspiration in medical terms).
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Abortion pill 5 – 9 weeks

An abortion pill treatment is (partly) completed at home. The abortion pill discontinues the pregnancy and the pregnancy will be passed. This is similar to a miscarriage.
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Suction curettage 5 – 12 weeks

Suction curettage (vacuum aspiration in medical terms) removes the pregnancy by gentle suction. This treatment takes 5 to 10 minutes. You can choose a local anaesthetic or light sedation. Your stay in our clinic will be approximately 4 hours.
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Abortion 13 – 17 weeks

This is a day treatment of 10 to 20 minutes. Usually the treatment is done under light anaesthetic. Your stay in our clinic will be 4 to 5 hours.
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Abortion 18 – 22 weeks

This treatment is only performed in Bloemenhove Clinic Haarlem. It is a day treatment of 15 to 25 minutes. The treatment is always performed under light sedation. Your stay in our clinic will be 6 to 8 hours.
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Mandatory consideration time

If you are pregnant for more than 6 weeks and 2 days, calculated from the 1st day of your last menstruation (more than 16 days late), then according to Dutch law you must first talk to a doctor about terminating your pregnancy. This is followed by a 5-day mandatory consideration period. The initial consultation can be with your GP, a gynaecologist or a doctor in our clinic. If your first consultation is not with a doctor in our clinic, you will need a referral letter. This letter must include the date of the first consultation and is only valid from a doctor, not from a midwife.

Are you not from the Netherlands and is it impossible for you to get a referral letter in your own country? Then your ultrasound scan information is sufficient to book an appointment with us. If you don’t have any ultrasound scan information, please mention so when you book an appointment.

Why is there a 5-day consideration period?

Dutch law stipulates a consideration period of 5 days. This means that after you have spoken to a doctor about a possible termination, you have to take at least five days to seriously think over your decision to terminate your pregnancy. The abortion can take place from the sixth day onwards.
If your pregnancy is shorter than 16 days, the mandatory 5-day consideration period does not apply.

Can I get help without a referral?

If your pregnancy is shorter than 16 days, you don’t need a referral letter.

If your pregnancy is longer than 16 days, a referral letter from your GP or other doctor is proof that you have taken at least five days to consider your decision to terminate the pregnancy.

If you don’t want to consult your own doctor, you can speak to one of our doctors about your wish to terminate the pregnancy. Treatment can take place from the sixth day after this consultation and you won’t need a referral letter.

I am underage, do I need my parents’ permission?

If you are 15 or younger, you and one of your parents or legal guardian need to give permission for treatment, so you can never be forced to have an abortion. If you are unable to notify you parent(s) or guardian, please call us on +31 (0)23 528 98 90.

If you are 16 or older, you don’t need your parents’ or guardian’s permission.

What can I expect during the initial consultation with the doctor?

After you have completed a list of questions, you will meet with one of our doctors. The doctor wants to speak to you in private, without your companion being present, to make sure the abortion is really your decision. The doctor will discuss your decision to terminate the pregnancy and assess your health. The doctor will carry out a preliminary examination and will use an ultrasound scan (on your belly or vaginally) to determine how long you have been pregnant. This is done to determine the treatment method. The doctor will also advise you on contraceptives you can use after the abortion.

I am overweight or underweight. Does that affect the treatment?

If you are obese (BMI > 40) or underweight (BMI<18), sedation (light anaesthetic) can entail some risks. Make sure to mention you are obese or underweight when booking an appointment.

Is the treatment painful?

During treatment with local anaesthetic you are conscious and will feel the procedure. The amount of pain is different for every woman. Usually, you will experience cramping during the treatment, best compared to severe menstrual pain.

For treatment under sedation (light anaesthetic), you will be administered a sleep-inducing drug and a painkiller through a needle in your arm. During sedation you will have no awareness of the treatment. You will wake up immediately after the treatment, feeling drowsy and sometimes a bit dizzy.

Can an abortion make me infertile?

This complication is extremely rare. If it occurs, it’s usually due to infection. To prevent infection, you are given antibiotics at the clinic. There is no scientific proof for diminished fertility after an abortion.

Reasons why women don’t get pregnant after an abortion:

  • Increasing age associated with declining fertility
  • Latent chlamydia infection
I don’t want to go to my GP for a referral letter, or my GP does not want to provide a referral. Where can I go?

You can book an appointment at our clinic for the initial consultation. If you are pregnant for longer than 6 weeks and 2 days, we can only carry out the treatment 6 days after the initial consultation due to the mandatory waiting period (5 days).

Is sedation (light anaesthetic) dangerous? What is the difference between sedation (light anaesthetic) and general anaesthetic?

Sedation is lighter than general anaesthetic. Your breathing is unsupported, so there is no intubation (no breathing tube is inserted into the trachea). After light sedation you wake up and recover much faster than after general anaesthetic.

The doctors in the clinic will always check if sedation is a safe option for you. For some illnesses, allergies or medication use, sedation is not a safe option. And if you don’t have an empty stomach, sedation can be dangerous. Your stomach content can transfer to your lungs, which can cause serious complications. That is why you have to be fasting prior to an abortion under sedation. If the doctor decides that sedation is safe for you, you will experience that this form of light anaesthetic is safe and comfortable. You will not be aware of the treatment, and many people quite like the feeling of the sedation.

Can an abortion cause uterine adhesions?

There has been a lot of research into uterine adhesions after suction curettage. Much of this research focused on women who underwent suction curettage with methods completely different to the methods we use. Suction curettage of an intact pregnancy (not a miscarriage), with preparation of the cervix with medication and antibiotics afterwards, has negligible risk of adhesions: approximately 1 in 1500. As a matter of fact, adhesions do not necessarily affect fertility.