Fact: This myth dates back to when abortion was illegal and therefore dangerous. Safe, legal abortion performed by qualified practitioners is very rarely associated with any future risk to fertility. Illegal abortions performed by unskilled practitioners in unhygienic conditions may increase the risk of future infertility if infection or uterine scarring occurs.
A pregnancy confirms a woman’s fertility, and most women return to their pre-pregnancy fertility immediately following the abortion procedure. A small number of women have a delay in the return of normal menstrual cycles. And many women can become pregnant again almost immediately after the termination, since the next ovulation takes place 10 – 14 days later. You can become pregnant even before the next menstruation cycle.
Long-term risks of one abortion on infertility (as well as second-trimester miscarriage, premature birth, and low birthweight) were comprehensively reviewed in 1982 and updated in 1990. These reviews formed the basis for American Surgeon General Everett Koop’s conclusion that “the physical sequelae of abortion were no different than those found in women who carried pregnancy to term or who had never been pregnant.” Specifically, there are no significant risks for secondary infertility, either with surgical or medical abortion. However, if a surgical abortion is infected or complicated by pre-existing and nontreated STDs, the risks of secondary infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and fetal loss increase. This can be prevented with antibiotics given at the time of the abortion.