• you may decide you wish to continue with the pregnancy and keep the child; or
  • you may decide to continue with the pregnancy and have the child adopted; or
  • you may decide to request an abortion.

Abortions are available free of charge through HSC to residents with a social security number.

You can also self refer to a private providers in the UK- see ‘More Information’

An abortion is the removal of the contents of your womb.

This can be achieved medically using tablets or surgically using gentle suction. It does not normally involve invasive surgery or stitches. In most cases a termination has no effect on future pregnancies.

The Abortion (Guernsey) (Amendment) Law, 2021 allows termination of pregnancy only in a number of clearly defined circumstances.

Most abortions are carried out before 24 weeks of pregnancy but can be carried out after this in certain situations such as if the mother’s life is at risk or the child would be born with a severe disability

In every case a medical practitioner, acting in good faith, must agree that your case is covered by one of the sections of the Guernsey Abortion Law. This can be either the clinic doctors or your GP.

This is not compulsory. Many women considering abortion are sure of their decision, however other women can find it helpful to talk things through with someone not involved in the situation. A counsellor will help you to talk through your feelings and explore all the issues in a non-judgmental and unbiased way. They are not there to make up your mind, but to support you in making the best decision for you. A partner or friend may come with you.

The counselling service is free and confidential and is offered by the Committee for Health and Social Care (HSC) through Choices to all Bailiwick residents holding a GY social security number. Counselling is most helpful if accessed beforehand but is also available at any time following the procedure, no matter how much time has passed. The counsellor’s confidential ‘help line’ telephone number is: 07781 125942 or email cleo@calm.gg. Confidential voicemails may also be left on this number.

If you decide that you wish to proceed with an abortion, it is important that you see the Choices doctor or your GP as soon as possible who will discuss your situation and your choices with you to make sure you are certain of your decision. The free, confidential counsellor is available at any stage.

If your doctor declines to discuss abortion for personal reasons, they are legally bound to signpost you to another doctor who will.

You will also be asked for a urine sample to confirm the pregnancy test and a test to check for STI’s (urine or swab).

Contraception options for afterwards will be discussed and you may be given medication to start after your procedure or advised to contact us to book your IUS, IUD or Implant fit.

Once the doctor has signed the legally required document, you will be referred to see the Gynaecologist.

Once the doctor has referred you to see the Gynaecologist it can take up to 2 weeks to be seen.

At the specialist centre you may have a gynaecological examination as well as an ultrasound scan to establish how many weeks pregnant you are. It is helpful to attend this appointment with a full bladder as it makes the scan easier. A routine blood test may also be carried out.

You can take a partner, friend or family member with you.

The Specialist will then discuss your options and decision with you and ask you to sign a consent form. Your options will depend on how many weeks pregnant you are. If you choose a surgical abortion, you may also need to see the anaesthetist who will check that you are fit for an anaesthetic.

If the Specialist feels that you meet requirements of the Guernsey Abortion Law, they will then make the arrangements and complete the legal paperwork.

Abortions of pregnancies over 14 weeks cannot be performed locally and the specialist will facilitate a referral to the UK.

Surgical abortion you will be admitted to the hospital for a procedure to remove the pregnancy and discharged later the same day. Contraception can be started at this point.

Medical abortion takes a little longer as it occurs in 2 stages.

Stage 1: You attend the hospital where you will be given a tablet to block the pregnancy hormones on the ward and asked to stay for approx. 30 minutes to ensure you have no adverse reactions to the medication.

Stage 2: You return to the ward 24-48 hours later where you will be given either a tablet or vaginal pessary (a tablet inserted like a tampon). This causes the pregnancy to be expelled from the vagina. This may be uncomfortable with some cramping and bleeding. You should allow approx. 4- 6 hours in hospital for this stage. Occasionally a further dose is needed or a surgical termination if the pregnancy still does not pass.

It is important to start contraception at this stage if you do not want to become pregnant again immediately.

You may be given a follow up appointment with the consultant if required.

You are likely to have some discomfort and vaginal bleeding for up to 2 weeks afterwards and may need to take things easy for a few days.

Remember– you can change your mind up until treatment begins.

Abortion is a safe procedure, especially if performed as early as possible in the pregnancy, with less pain and bleeding.

There is a small risk of complications such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection; avoiding using tampons or having sex for four weeks can reduce this.
  • Incomplete abortion (some of the pregnancy remains in the womb) which results in prolonged or heavy bleeding. If this happens it may be necessary to have a small procedure under general anaesthetic to remove the retained products (D&C).
  • Damage to the womb or cervix (neck of the womb).

Having an abortion generally does not affect your chances of getting pregnant again in the future. There is a small risk to future fertility and increased risk of ectopic pregnancy with pelvic infection that is not treated quickly.

Everyone will experience some discomfort. This differs for each individual but pain relief is available along with treatment for any nausea or vomiting. Some women will experience diarrhoea after medical abortion medications.

You are likely to have some cramps and vaginal bleeding. The bleeding usually lasts for 2 weeks but occasionally can last up to a month.

Simple analgesia such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help with any discomfort.

Use sanitary pads or towels for any bleeding after the procedure as tampons and menstrual cups (moon cup) can increase the risk of infection.

You can change your mind at any time up until the treatment commences.

The medical staff will have time to listen to any worries you may have.

Surgical termination: You may be able to go home 4 hours after returning to the ward if the doctor and nurses are happy. A friend or relative should accompany you as you are not allowed to drive after a general anaesthetic. You will be given a ‘help line’ number should you need any advice up to 48 hours following discharge.

Medical Termination: You will be able to go home once you have passed the products of conception which can take around 4 – 6 hours.

You may be given a follow-up appointment with the gynaecologist.

You are likely to have some discomfort and vaginal bleeding for 2 weeks, occasionally up to 4 weeks.

You should be able to return to work the next day however some women need to take it easy for a few days.

You can resume your normal activities such as having baths and showers, exercise, swimming and lifting as soon as you feel comfortable to do so.

You can have sex again as soon as you feel ready however we recommend that you wait for at least four weeks following this procedure to reduce the risk of infection.

During this time it is important to start your contraception if you wish to avoid an unwanted pregnancy as your fertility returns to normal very soon after an abortion. Ideally this will have been discussed and arranged before your procedure.

  • The pill / mini pill / patch / vaginal ring should be started on the 1st day after your treatment. These methods can also be used for short term cover before an IUD or implant can be fitted.
  • The Injection (Depo Provera or Sayana) can be given at the time of your treatment and lasts 12 weeks. Contact the clinic if you would like our nurses to give you your injection after your procedure. We offer a free text reminder service.
  • The Implant is immediately effective if fitted up to 5 days afterwards. Call the clinic after your procedure to book your fitting appointment.
  • An IUD (coil) can be fitted either within 2 days or after 4 weeks. Call the clinic after your procedure to book your fitting appointment.
  • Sterilisation or vasectomy can be discussed with your doctor or gynaecologist.
  • Condoms are advisable if there is likely to be a delay starting your ongoing contraception and also to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). These are available free from Choices and the Orchard Centre.

Go to our Contraception page for more details.

Please contact the Helpline from the hospital, Choices or your GP if:

  • You are experiencing heavy bleeding, severe pain or bleeding that is lasting more that 4 weeks
  • You still feel pregnant after a week
  • You have any signs of infection – vaginal discharge, heavy bleeding, pain, high temperature or flu-like symptoms

The Emergency Department and Out of Hours doctors are also available

A few women do. You may feel a bit ‘low’ after your treatment though this generally passes within a couple of days. You can talk to the free counsellor at any time following the abortion, even weeks or months later, by calling her confidential help line number: 07781 125942 or email cleo@calm.gg

It is important to think about this before your termination as fertility returns to normal almost immediately.

The Choices doctor or your GP will discuss the different options available and make arrangements for you to start this soon after the procedure so that you will be protected straight away.

If possible, please bring your chosen method with you to the hospital and the nurse will advise you when to start.

The following is a brief guide as to what is available:

  • The pill / mini pill / patch / vaginal ring should be started on the 1st day after your treatment. These methods can also be used for short term cover before an IUD or implant can be fitted.
  • The Injection (Depo Provera or Sayana) can be given at the time of your treatment and lasts 12 weeks. Contact the clinic if you would like our nurses to give you your injection after your procedure. We offer a free text reminder service.
  • The Implant is immediately effective if fitted up to 5 days afterwards. Call the clinic after your procedure to book your fitting appointment.
  • An IUD (coil) can be fitted either within 2 days or after 4 weeks. Call the clinic after your procedure to book your fitting appointment.
  • Sterilisation or vasectomy can be discussed with your doctor or gynaecologist.
  • Condoms are advisable if there is likely to be a delay starting your ongoing contraception and also to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). These are available free from Choices and the Orchard Centre.

Emergency contraception can be taken if you have unprotected sex before you have started your ongoing contraception.

Please see your GP or attend Choices or the Orchard Centre as soon as possible as this ideally needs to be taken within 72 hours.

This is also directly available from pharmacies.

Go to our Emergency Contraception page for more information

Contact Choices or your G.P. for further information regarding pregnancy, abortion, contraception and safe sex.

Your doctor’s surgery (look in the yellow pages under ‘Doctors’ for all the contact numbers)

Choices  714954 or 07781 103434 email: info@choices.gg  website:  www.choices.gg

Private abortion information is available at BPAS and MSI Reproductive Choices and NUPAS

An abortion is only lawful in the Bailiwick if a medical practitioner certifies that:

  • It is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or
  • It is necessary to prevent serious injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman, or
  • The baby has been diagnosed with a serious abnormality, or
  • The pregnancy has not exceeded 24 weeks and the continuance of pregnancy would significantly impact the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family.
Abortion Leaflet