Surgical procedure information pack

Accessibility statement

This page is an accessible text version of the PDF Surgical procedure information pack (PDF, 199Kb)
Ref: NMAC0012 STOP V12 JUL17

A: Surgical termination of pregnancy – Information sheet

Interpreter services

Please let us know if you need a telephone interpreter to help you understand any of this information. You may be charged a small fee for this service.

Read this information sheet carefully and keep it to look at later on. Ask us if you have any questions after reading it.

Giving your consent

When you have read the information and are sure you understand it, we will ask you to sign an acknowledgement and consent form at the centre where you will have the procedure.

Please make sure you:

  • have a copy of this information
  • have read and understood the information
  • have been able to ask questions and have received and understood the answers to your questions
  • are not being forced or coerced to sign
  • you have told the nurse if you have any health conditions


If you would like to talk to an experienced decision based counsellor before your appointment, please phone us on 1300 003 707. If, however, you feel comfortable with your decision you may not need counselling. It is entirely your choice.

How do I prepare for surgical termination of pregnancy?

Regardless of the type of anaesthetic you have (conscious IV sedation, general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic) you must follow these fasting guidelines before your appointment:

  • Do not eat anything (including lollies or gum) for 6 hours before your appointment
  • You may drink small amounts of water only, but no other fluid, up to 2 hours before your appointment
  • Queensland clients: DO NOT consume anything including lollies, gum or even water for 6 hours prior to your appointment.

If you don’t follow these fasting guidelines we may need to cancel or reschedule your appointment.

Other instructions:

  • Please tell us if you are taking any other medication
  • If you are diabetic please let us know when you are making your appointment
  • Have someone to take you home
  • Do not drive a motor vehicle for 24 hours.

Please ask us if you have any other questions.

What should I bring to my appointment?

  1. You must bring:
  • your Medicare card
  • your current concession, healthcare or pension card if you have one
  • your private healthcare details as you may be able to make a claim
  • personal identification such as your drivers licence or two credit or bankcards
  • any notes from your GP (in WA you will need a doctor’s letter stating you have discussed your decision to have a termination of pregnancy)
  • any medication you are currently taking (including inhalers)
  • any reports or ultrasound scans of this pregnancy
  • cash, credit or eftpos card for payment on the day
  • two sanitary pads (not tampons)
  • extra underwear.
  1. You will be more comfortable if you bring with you:
  • comfortable two piece clothing, a short sleeved top and a skirt, or loose fitting pants are ideal
  • a book or magazine to read while you are waiting.
  1. Other instructions:
  • Please leave any valuables including jewellery at home. We cannot take responsibility for loss or damage to personal belongings
  • Please don’t bring young children or babies to your appointment
  • If you’re likely to be late please call us as soon as you can to let us know.

What will happen during my appointment?

You will have a consultation with a nurse or doctor where you can talk about your decision and get information about the procedure and anaesthetic options. You will need to discuss your medical history and they will also give you information about contraception.

How will my termination of pregnancy be performed?

Surgical termination of pregnancy up to 12 weeks: The doctor uses gentle suction to remove the contents of the uterus. As the procedure takes less than five minutes you may choose to have a local anaesthetic or you may select conscious IV sedation or general anaesthetic (at some centres).

From 12 weeks and above: The procedure at this stage of the pregnancy will take slightly longer as the doctor needs to dilate the cervix more in order to remove the contents of the uterus.

Who will perform my termination?

A doctor who has been fully trained and is experienced in these procedures will perform your termination of pregnancy. All our doctors are experts in termination of pregnancy and family planning.

What type of anaesthetic will I have?

You have three anaesthetic options. They will be fully explained during your consultation so that you can make an informed choice:

Local anaesthetic: you will be awake and aware, and recovery is quicker than sedation or general anaesthetic.

Conscious sedation: you will be drowsy and relaxed during the procedure and your recovery time is quicker than a general anaesthetic.

General anaesthetic (at some centres): you will be under unconscious sedation and completely asleep and recovery time is generally longer.

Does it hurt?

Most women who choose not to have a general anaesthetic say that the discomfort is bearable and lasts only for a short time. A few women report more severe discomfort, but again this is only brief. Even with a general anaesthetic you may feel some cramping pain after the procedure. Pain relief medication will be available.

What happens following the procedure?

You will spend a short time recovering in a reclining chair or bed. Unless you have any unusual pain or discomfort, the doctor or nurse will not need to examine you before you leave.

There is information about aftercare in section D of this pack, please read it for advice about any symptoms you may experience after the procedure. All aftercare is completely free. Call us on 1300 888 022 if you are worried about anything.

How long do I have to stay at the centre?

This depends on your anaesthetic choice – it may be longer if you have a general anaesthetic.

You may leave as soon as you feel well enough. You must have someone to take you home. Although the procedure only takes a few minutes (depending on the anaesthetic you choose), please plan to stay at the centre for around 4 hours.

Can someone stay with me?

You are welcome to have someone stay with you whilst you wait however some of our centres have only a small waiting room and your guest may be asked to step out and come back later if the waiting room becomes full. In consideration of other clients we don’t allow visitors in the recovery and procedure rooms.

Physically how will I feel afterwards?

You may experience some period-like pain which is best treated with over-the-counter pain medication.

How will I feel emotionally?

For many women, deciding to terminate a pregnancy is relatively straightforward. However, for other women terminating a pregnancy is a complex decision that causes a lot of anxiety. While most women feel relief following a termination and are able to move forward, others may feel a sense of loss or sadness. It is not unusual to:

  • feel numb or empty
  • feel ”high”
  • want to keep extremely busy
  • feel depressed
  • burst into tears
  • feel angry or guilty
  • have sexual or relationship difficulties

Will talking about it help? What does post-termination of pregnancy counselling involve?

Most women feel that talking through their feelings with their partner, friends, family or doctor is all they need. However, some women don’t have anyone they can easily talk to. Some think others will judge them and they can feel very isolated, at the time when they really need support.

Post-termination of pregnancy counselling can help you acknowledge and accept unexpected reactions and unresolved feelings towards the termination of pregnancy. Most women are able to work through their feelings in a positive way.

If you would like to speak to an experienced counsellor about your experience and how you are feeling, please phone us on 1300 003 707.

How much does post-termination of pregnancy counselling cost?

There is no cost to post-termination of pregnancy counselling if you phone us on 1300 003 707. There may be a cost involved if you contact other agencies.

How long will I need to take off work?

This is entirely up to you. If you have a physically demanding job you may want to take a few days off. A lot of women return to work the day after an early termination.

Does my GP have to know?

All interaction between our centres and you are confidential. We will only contact your GP if you ask us to.

What about ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic or tubal pregnancy is a pregnancy outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. As this area is so narrow, an ectopic pregnancy cannot develop normally and can cause a rupture. Your doctor will refer you to a hospital for treatment if there is any chance your pregnancy is ectopic.

An ectopic pregnancy can be very hard to detect with an ultrasound scan. If you experience one sided pain, tenderness and/or bouts of dizziness you should contact your doctor immediately.

What does it mean if I am Rhesus Negative?

During your consultation the doctor will test for your blood group. If your blood group is Rhesus negative you will get an injection of Anti-D to prevent Rhesus factor sensitisation. We will also give you more information about this.

Please ask us any questions you may have.

What about future contraception?

It is very important that you realise you could conceive as early as 2 weeks after your termination of pregnancy, even before your first expected period.

For this reason we strongly advise that you choose suitable contraception as soon as possible.

We are happy to discuss different contraceptive methods with you. Please see section K of this pack.

The following methods can be started immediately after a termination of pregnancy:

The Pill: should be started on the first day after your procedure.

The contraceptive injection: can be given at the time of your procedure.

The IUD or IUS: in most cases, either method can be put in at the time of your procedure.

Implant: can be inserted under the skin of the upper arm during the procedure.

Emergency contraception: can be used after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure, but is not recommended as ongoing contraception.

There will be a charge for any of these contraceptive methods.

For information on the most suitable form of contraception available to you, refer to the contraception section I of this pack, or speak to your doctor.


Abdominal pain should ease within 24 hours of the expulsion of the pregnancy.

Call Aftercare on 1300 888 022 or your own doctor if:

  • abdominal pain does not improve
  • abdominal pain improves and then worsens
  • you are feeling at all unwell, sick or weak with or without a fever.

These signs may mean you have an infection which may require treatment with antibiotics.

Serious infections are rare following a surgical termination but can be potentially life threatening. If you experience any of the warnings signs described here you should contact us without delay.

B: Procedure risk information sheet

Surgical risks

All surgery and anaesthesia have risks. The risks mentioned in the list below do not include all possible complications, but are the major complications associated with the procedure. Please keep in mind that it is safer to have a termination up to 14 weeks than it is to deliver a term pregnancy.

Some complications of termination of pregnancy are:

Retained pregnancy tissue or clot: In less than 1 in 100 cases a small amount of tissue may be left in the uterus. This can cause excessive bleeding and/or pain and may require treatment or a repeat procedure at our centre.

Infection: This is very unusual however if you experience pain or fever after the procedure call our centre immediately as a serious infection left untreated may cause infertility.

Vaginal bleeding: This differs for each person, but it can last up to 2 weeks after your procedure. It is not usually heavy and there may also be some abdominal cramping. In some women, bleeding and cramping increases 3 to 5 days after your procedure and may last up to 4 days. It is rarely heavy enough to require a blood transfusion (a risk of 1 in 5,000 if you are under 12 weeks). If you are at all concerned please contact us.

Continuing pregnancy: Very occasionally, especially in the early stages, the pregnancy remains in place after the procedure. You should contact us if symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or breast tenderness continue more than 1 week after your procedure, or if your period does not come within 6 weeks. If the pregnancy is still in place, a second procedure will be easily performed at no cost.

Perforation of the uterus: In about 1 in 1,000 procedures the instruments used may make a small hole in the wall of the uterus. This usually heals by itself, but if we are concerned that there is a chance of injury to internal organs like the bowel, or to blood vessels, we will ensure follow up treatment for you in a hospital. Very rarely,
a woman may require a hysterectomy.

Mood fluctuations: Women may experience sadness and grief after the procedure and these feelings normally pass in a few weeks. If you have a history of depression you have an increased risk of a recurrence after the procedure.

Anaesthesia risks

  • Allergic reaction: This is rare (1 in 10,000). Please tell the doctor of any previous allergic reactions.
  • Airway spasm: Tell the doctor if you smoke, have asthma or recently had a cold or chest infection.
  • Aspiration: It is very important that you eat nothing for 6 hours and only have small sips of water, but no other fluid, up to 2 hours prior to the procedure

NOTE: Queensland clients DO NOT consume anything including lollies, gum or even water for 6 hours prior to your appointment.

This will prevent contents of your stomach being inhaled into your lungs when you are under anaesthetic.


If you have any questions for the doctor please list them:
Note: Published PDF contains space for your notes here.

C. Discharge instructions

For clients having conscious IV sedation or general anaesthetic


  1. I acknowledge receipt of discharge instructions and advice from my treating doctor and Marie Stopes Australia [PDF version has blank text box here] centre.
  1. I have read all of the information I have been provided with and understand the advice I have been given.
  2. I intend to comply with the discharge instructions and advice.
  1. In particular, I have been advised that:
  • I should be accompanied by a responsible adult when travelling home from the centre following the procedure today, and if possible, should travel by car and preferably not by bus or train
  • A responsible adult should stay overnight with me following the procedure and be capable of making decisions in relation to my welfare on my behalf
  • I must remain within one hour of appropriate medical attention until at least the morning after discharge;
  • I must have ready access to a telephone at all times following the procedure until at least the morning after discharge
  • I should not drive, travel on public transport alone, operate machinery or make important/legally binding decisions until [PDF version has blank text box here] (Insert date).

I AGREE to comply with the above discharge instructions and advice and absolve Marie Stopes Australia [PDF version has blank text box here] centre, Marie Stopes International and my treating doctor(s) of all responsibility should I choose to disregard the discharge instructions and/or advice given to me.

D: Surgical termination of pregnancy aftercare

To ensure a speedy recovery following your procedure, please take the time to read this important information.

When you go home

As soon as you feel well enough after the procedure, you can:

  • take a shower
  • resume gentle exercise
  • return to your normal activity

To reduce the risk of getting an infection, for the next week:

  • don’t insert anything in your vagina, including fingers or tampons
  • don’t use tampons until your next period
  • don’t have vaginal intercourse

Menstruation and contraception following surgical termination of pregnancy

Your period should resume 4 to 6 weeks following the procedure. Please remember that even if you have not had your period, an egg will still be released, so it is possible for you to fall pregnant again before your next period.

It is therefore essential that you start using a reliable form of contraception to avoid unplanned pregnancy as soon as possible following treatment. For information on the most suitable form of contraception available to you, refer to the contraception section K of this pack, or speak to your doctor.

If you are unsure or need further information on any aspect of the medical treatment or aftercare, or have any queries about contraception, please call Aftercare on 1300 888 022 at any time.

What to expect after surgical termination of pregnancy

The most common side effects you may experience after the procedure are:

Abdominal pain/cramps

To ease the discomfort try uterine massage (see section F of this pack), followed by abdominal hot pack and/or mild over-the-counter pain relief, such as Naprogesic®, Panadeine® or Nurofen®. Don’t use aspirin as this can increase bleeding.


Vaginal bleeding can start straight away or up to 2 weeks after the procedure. Bleeding differs for each person, however it is not normally heavy but may be accompanied by some abdominal cramping or blood clotting. In some women, bleeding and cramping may increase 4 to 5 days after the procedure and may last for up to 4 days. This is quite normal and, although this is not your first period, it should not be unlike your normal period. Some women may have no bleeding following their procedure. This can be quite normal too.

If you are unsure or at all concerned, please do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 888 022 at any time.

“Morning” sickness

If you suffered from nausea before your procedure, you will probably find that it stops within 24 hours after the procedure. However, if 2 weeks after the procedure you still continue to feel sick, please call us for advice on 1300 888 022 at any time.

Breast discomfort

Breast tenderness can last for at least 2 weeks after your procedure. For some women, particularly those later than 12 weeks gestation, it is also quite usual for your breasts to become fuller and leak a little fluid for a few days. Do not squeeze your breasts as this will only make things more uncomfortable for you. Instead, try wearing a support bra. Oral mild painkillers may also assist. If your breasts are still sore after 2 weeks, please call us on 1300 888 022 at any time.

Possible complications post-procedure

Our doctor will have explained to you all the possible risks associated with termination of pregnancy, as outlined here and in section B of this pack.

Although unlikely, the main risks that may occur following the procedure include infection, retained pregnancy tissue or clot and continued or ectopic pregnancy. You should contact our centre if you have any of these warning signs:

  • excessive bleeding, that is, soaking through a super pad every half hour for 2 hours
  • bleeding that you consider to be much heavier than your normal period, which has lasted continually for more than 2 days
  • constant pain or cramps continuing for more than 2 days
  • abdominal pain or tenderness that changes in nature, especially towards one side of your abdomen rather than a “tummy ache”
  • persistent blood clotting
  • smelly vaginal discharge
  • raised temperature or flu-like feeling
  • sickness or breast soreness that has continued for more than 1 week
  • absence of a normal period 4 to 6 weeks (unless in very advanced gestation) following the procedure.

Ectopic pregnancy

Your doctor will have discussed with you if there is a concern about ectopic pregnancy (see section A of this pack). This can be a very dangerous condition if left untreated so it is vital that you attend any further tests or follow up appointments the doctor has advised . If you experience any abdominal pain or tenderness that changes in nature, especially towards one side of your abdomen rather than a “tummy ache”, you must seek immediate help. If you have any concerns at all, please contact us.


If you have a problem please call Aftercare on 1300 888 022 at any time.

If a doctor has recommended that you return for a check up or further tests, it is important to keep the appointment.

Post-termination counselling

If you would like to discuss your experience or feelings about the procedure, we have counsellors you can talk to. Please call us on 1300 003 707 or speak to your doctor for further advice.

For emergency AFTER HOURS assistance call: 1300 888 022 at any time.

E: Ultrasound fact sheet

What does an ultrasound do? Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images. The sound waves are transmitted into your body from a small hand piece called a probe and the images are shown on a screen and can be recorded or printed. Ultrasound is very safe and there are no harmful side effects.

Your doctor will perform an ultrasound to determine how many weeks your pregnancy has progressed (the gestation period). The ultrasound will also confirm that you pregnancy is located in your uterus. Your doctor may also perform an ultrasound to assess whether your abortion is complete and is not intended for other diagnostic purposes.

You do not need to prepare for your ultrasound. During the ultrasound jelly will be placed on your lower abdomen and you will not feel any discomfort, just a little pressure. The scanning procedure will take a few minutes and your doctor will discuss the results with you.

In some cases an internal ultrasound may be necessary. Should you need an internal ultrasound your doctor will explain this in more detail and seek your consent.

During an internal ultrasound a sterilised probe, covered by a protective sheath, is inserted into your vagina and moved gently to see the uterus.

You are under no obligation to have an internal scan done, though if the pregnancy cannot be located you may not be able to proceed with your procedure or treatment on the day.

F: Uterine massage fact sheet

What is uterine massage?

By massaging the lower abdominal area you improve the muscle tone of the uterus. This helps minimise heavy bleeding and cramping following a termination of pregnancy.

How does it work?

Frequent, firm massage of the lower abdominal area will tone the uterine muscles, helping to reduce bleeding and cramping. It also helps to prevent blood clots from accumulating in your cervix. You can also use uterine massage to help with cramping during your period.

How do I do it?

Lie on your back (you can bend your knees) and feel the top of your pubic bone in the lower abdomen. Press down firmly with your hand and using a circular motion, massage this area. You can also do this whilst sitting. Try to massage 10 times a day, 3 minutes at a time, until cramping/bleeding has eased. Your regular pain relief medication may reduce any discomfort you have when you massage.

What if it does not work?

If heavy bleeding and severe cramping persist and you are concerned, please call Aftercare on 1300 888 022 at any time.

Don’t forget your regular breast checks. And be sure to have a pap smear every 2 years.

G: Chlamydia fact sheet

This information is designed to provide you with up-to-date information about Chlamydia and to encourage you to have a test for the infection.

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia (pronounced clar-midi-yer) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis, which can affect areas such as the penis, cervix, urethra, vagina, fallopian tubes, anus, rectum, and less commonly the throat and/or eyes. If left untreated Chlamydia can cause serious problems, including infertility. It is easy to test for Chlamydia and treatment is simple and effective.

Chlamydia is increasing and now it is Australia’s most common STI. In 2010, there were over 74,000 Chlamydia notifications, compared with 16,770 in 2001. There is likely to be a lot more people with the infection than we know because the symptoms are not shown so it is possible to carry the infection for many years without knowing you have it.

Are you at risk?

Chlamydia affects both men and women of all ages. People who are most at risk are those who are sexually active (particularly those with multiple partners), and those having unprotected sex (vaginal, anal or oral).

How do you get Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is transmitted when the mucous membrane (the soft skin covering all openings of the body) comes into contact with the secretions or semen of an infected person, particularly during unprotected sex.

You can contract Chlamydia via:

  • sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral) with someone who is infected
  • transferring the infection on fingers from genitals to the eyes

The only way to protect yourself from STIs, including Chlamydia, is to practice safe sex and use a condom.

What are the symptoms of Chlamydia?

In many cases, Chlamydia has no symptoms. Just because you cannot see it doesn’t mean you don’t have it.

Possible warning signs are:

  • pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
  • painful sexual intercourse
  • flu like symptoms, including a slight fever and nausea
  • unusual discharge from the vagina/penis
  • pain when passing urine and increased frequency of needing to urinate
  • vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods or after intercourse.

So how will I know if I have the infection?

The only way you can be sure is to be tested.

Chlamydia can be detected with a simple urine test or swab of the cervix, which can easily be done at our centre. If you decide to take the test, you can get your results within 72 hours. It is possible to have contracted other STIs at the same time as Chlamydia, so you should consider a complete STI check up.

We recommend that all women having a termination of pregnancy have a test for Chlamydia.

We will phone you or write to you if your result is positive and suggest you either return to the centre or visit your own GP as soon as possible for treatment. If the result is negative, we will not contact you, however you can phone us on 1300 888 022 to confirm your test results.

Can Chlamydia be treated?

Yes, very easily with antibiotics. The treatment is safe, simple and effective, usually only requiring a single dose of antibiotic tablets.

It is important to understand that anyone who has tested positive for the infection has almost certainly passed it on to their partner/s.

It is therefore very important that your current partner/s receive antibiotic treatment at the same time, otherwise you may be reinfected. Your previous sexual partners whom you feel may be at risk should also be checked and treated.

Avoid unprotected sex (vaginal, anal or oral) for at least 7 days after you and your partner/s have finished the course of antibiotics to ensure you do not reinfect each other, as Chlamydia can also infect the eyes, genitals or throat.

To avoid contracting an STI in future, always practice safer sex and make sure you have regular STI check- ups, particularly if you or your partner have multiple partners or if your partner has not been tested.

What will happen if I don’t get treatment?

Chlamydia can be a serious health threat. If left untreated in women, it may cause inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis) which can spread up into the uterus and fallopian tubes. This may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), potentially causing chronic pain, an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tube) or even infertility.

Pregnant women can pass on Chlamydia to their children, giving them infections of the eye, nose or throat, or pneumonia. If left untreated In men, Chlamydia may cause urethral and testicular infections.

It may also cause a serious form of urethritis (inflammation of the tube along which urine and semen pass through the penis), chronic pain and possibly fertility problems. These complications are preventable if diagnosed and treated early for both partners.

If you are unsure of anything, need further clarification or require test results, please call our National Support Centre on 1300 003 707.

What is the cost of a Chlamydia test?

The cost of a Chlamydia test is bulk billed if you have a Medicare card. If you do not have a Medicare card, the pathology company will bill you the full cost by mail. Some of this may be rebated with certain health insurance covers.

For more information on the services offered at a centre near you or to make an appointment please call our National Support Centre on 1300 003 707 or visit

H: Client rights and responsibilities

We have provided this information to inform you about what you can reasonably expect while in our care (your rights) and what our team members can reasonably expect from you (your responsibilities). Please take the time to read this information carefully.

As a valued client, you have the right to:

  • exceptional quality of healthcare in a safe and comfortable environment, delivered to you with the highest clinical standards
  • help and support in a non-judgmental, personalised and confidential manner
  • be treated with respect, dignity and consideration for your personal and physical privacy
  • culturally sensitive services, with access to an interpretation service if needed
  • receive up-to-date, relevant and clear information about your procedure and its associated risks, side effects and any alternatives, allowing you to make a fully informed decision
  • withdraw your consent to any procedure or investigation at any time
  • discuss any questions you may have about your procedure or care
  • get a second opinion about your procedure or care
  • know the identity and professional status of individuals providing services to you
  • be informed in detail of the costs involved in any procedures or alternatives
  • have the details of your condition and procedural care kept strictly confidential
  • access your personal health records
  • have us deal quickly and professionally with complaints about individual team members
    or services.

It is your responsibility to:

  • provide relevant information about your health and circumstances that may influence your procedure and/or recovery
  • stay well informed about your condition and procedure. It is up to you to ask questions if you are unsure or do not understand something
  • accept responsibility for the decisions you have made about the services you have asked for
  • comply with the instructions we have given you about your care
  • contribute to a safe and comfortable environment and behave appropriately in relation to noise, alcohol, smoking and illicit drugs
  • tell one of our team members if you have a criticism of our service so we can quickly address it
  • keep your follow-up appointments or, if this is not possible, let us know
  • give us accurate and correct details of your Medicare and private health insurance
  • pay the full cost of the services we have provided to you.

I: Client feedback statement

We aim to provide the best possible service and care to our clients. We accept however, that there may be occasions where we do not meet your expectations. We greatly value your feedback, because it helps us improve, and ensures we can continue to provide professional, efficient and effective sexual and reproductive healthcare services to all our clients.

 If you have comments to make about any aspect of the quality of service or care you receive, you can tell us by:

  • completing our client feedback form which our centre manager will review. Please note, we will not reply to your comment unless you ask us to
  • phoning the relevant centre during business hours, and asking to speak with the centre manager. Depending on what your complaint is about and to help us investigate it, we may ask you to write to us
  • writing a formal letter or emailing the centre manager
  • making a complaint to the Health Complaints Commission in your state

Please address your phone call, letter or email to the attention of the centre manager. They will investigate your concerns and respond to you. If we cannot resolve your complaint straight away, we will contact you (either by phone or in writing) within a reasonable timeframe, once we have investigated it.

If you are not satisfied with our initial response, you may raise your concerns with the state manager. If this is unresolved, then to the operations director, who will review all case notes and will respond to you as soon as possible. If this response does not satisfy you, you can raise your concerns to our CEO Australia, and if not satisfied, to the Department of Health in your state.

J: Client confidentiality statement

We are committed to keeping your personal details confidential. We collect your personal information so we can provide you with the best possible healthcare service. We will collect your information either verbally or in writing from you personally or through our team member.

 We will only use your personal information to:

  1. Provide healthcare information, and for other purposes directly related to, or reasonably necessary for providing this service to you
  2. Disclose to certain third parties in the course of providing healthcare information and/or services to you, or as may be required or permitted by law, including disclosure:
    1. to your doctor
    2. to specialists and/or consultants who may provide
      services to you
    3. to community support providers
    4. to your insurers, lawyers, the Department of Health, Medicare, pathology service providers
    5. in certain emergencies where there is a serious threat to life
    6. other purposes only if you agree.

Your personal details are safeguarded by state and federal privacy law. We recognise the sensitivity of this information and are committed to keeping your personal details confidential. It’s important to note, there is some information you must give us for us to be able to provide you with certain services and with the best possible care.

We will not use or disclose your details for any purpose other than those stated above. To protect your confidentiality,
we cannot and will not enter into discussions or correspond with a third party without your written permission or your password. If you wish us to talk or write to a third party, such as your GP, you will need to give us your written consent, or provide the third party with your password.

You may want to access your personal information, which we hold in accordance with the relevant state and federal privacy laws. To do this, please contact the centre you visited, or contact our National Support Centre in writing to: GPO Box 1635 Melbourne Victoria 3001.

For more details about your information you can ask for a copy of our privacy policy at our centres, or view it on our website at

K: Contraception chart

Choosing the right contraception

You only have to look at the above contraception chart to see how many contraceptive options are available today. From taking the pill every day to inserting an IUD that can last up to 10 years, you should be able to find the right one for you.

What you choose will depend on your personal circumstances: your age, your way of life, whether or not you have children, whether you have multiple partners, your health and the need to avoid an unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

While most contraceptives, if used correctly, offer between 95 to 99.9 per cent effectiveness, no one method of contraception is 100 per cent reliable.

Your choice should also take into account that only condoms offer protection against both STIs and unplanned pregnancies.


Table 1: Hormonal methods
Contraceptive Combined Pill Progestogen only Pill Contraception Implant Contraception Injection Combined Vaginal Ring
How it works 1 pill consisting of 2 hormones (oestrogen and progestogen) taken same time daily. Prevents egg being released. 1 pill consisting of 1 hormone (progestogen) taken same time daily. Prevents sperm reaching egg. Lasts for 3 years, but easily reversible. Cost effective over time. Lasts for 12 weeks. No periods may be an advantage for some. Similar advantages to the Pill but with a lower dose of hormone and once a month use (inserted for 3 weeks, remove for 1 week).
Advantages Can regulate menstrual cycle, reduce PMS and period pain. For those who can’t take oestrogen due to medical conditions or side effects; for those breast feeding. Lasts for 3 years, but easily reversible. Cost effective over time. Lasts for 12 weeks. No periods may be an advantage for some. Similar advantages to the Pill but with a lower dose of hormone and once a month use (inserted for 3 weeks, remove for 1 week).
Considerations Not suitable for some medical conditions. If pill is taken more than 24 hours late extra precautions required. Unpredictable bleeding pattern. If pill is taken more than 3 hours late, extra precautions required. 99.9% effective. 99% effective. 99% effective if used correctly.
Reliability 99% if taken correctly. 92% with typical use. 98% if taken correctly. 92% with typical use. 99.9% effective. 99% effective. 99% effective if used correctly.
STI and HIV protection No protection against STIs or
No protection against STIs or
Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics. Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics. Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics.
Availability Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics. Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics. Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics. Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics. Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics.


Table 2: Barrier methods
Contraceptive Male Condom Female Condom Diaphragm – Cap
How it works Rubber, non-latex or latex sheath traps sperm during sexual intercourse. Thin plastic sheath placed in vagina to trap sperm. Dome of rubber placed over cervix to prevent sperm entering uterus. Spermicides required.
Advantages Readily available. Only use during sexual activity. Can be used as a back-up for other methods. Only use during sexual activity. Only use during sexual activity.
Considerations Can reduce spontaneity. Stays in place for 6 hours after sex. Stays in place for 6 hours after sex.
Reliability 95% effective if used correctly. 80% with typical use. 95% effective if used correctly. 80% with typical use. 95% effective if used correctly. 85% with typical use.
STI and HIV protection Helps protect against STIs and HIV/AIDS. Helps protect against STIs or HIV/AIDS. No protection against STIs or HIV/AIDS.
Availability Local family planning clinics. Local family planning clinics and some GPs Local family planning clinics and some GPs


Table 3: Inrauterine methods – Hormone Intra-Uterine System (IUS)
Contraceptive Copper Intra-Uterine Device (IUD) Hormone Intra-Uterine System (IUS)
How it works Plastic and copper device fitted in uterus. Prevents egg and sperm meeting. Small plastic device with progestogen fitted in uterus. Prevents egg and sperm meeting.
Advantages Stays in place for up to 5 or 10 years depending on type. Cost effective over time. Stays in place for up to 5 years.
Cost effective over time.
Considerations May make periods heavy and/or may increase period pains. Spotting and irregular bleeding common initially, though periods usually become lighter and shorter.
Reliability 99% effective. 99.9% effective.
STI and HIV protection No protection against STIs or HIV/AIDS. No protection
against STIs or HIV/AIDS.
Availability Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics. Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics.


Table 4: Permanent methods)
Contraceptive Female Sterilisation Vasectomy
How it works Fallopian tubes closed – which prevents egg and sperm meeting. Closes off the sperm-carrying tubes.
Advantages For those who want a permanent method of contraception. For those who want a permanent method of contraception.
Considerations Small medical risk during procedure. Must use alternative method of contraception until sperm count is clear (usually 3 months).
Reliability Over 99% effective. Over 99% effective.
STI and HIV protection No protection against STIs or HIV/AIDS. No protection against STIs or HIV/AIDS.
Availability Requires referral to specialist. Usually done in hospital. Marie Stopes Australia™ centre (no referral needed) or GP referral to specialist.


Table 5: Emergency methods
Contraceptive Emergency Contraceptive Pill – ulipristal acetate Emergency Contraceptive Pill – levonorgestrel Copper IUD
How it works A single dose pill containing ulipristal acetate. Stops or delays the release of an egg. A single dose pill containing progestogen hormone. Stops or delays the release of an egg. Fitted to prevent egg and sperm meeting.
Advantages Best taken as soon as possible, but is effective up to 120 hours (5 days). Best taken as soon as possible, but is effective up to 72 hours (3 days). Fitted up
to 5 days after sex.
Considerations The longer you wait before taking it, the less likely it will work. The longer you wait before taking it, the less likely it will work. May make periods heavy and/or may increase period pains.
Reliability Risk of pregnancy is 0.9% if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, 1.4% within 72 hours. Risk of pregnancy is 2.3% if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, 2.2% within 72 hours. 98%-99% effective.
STI and HIV protection No protection against STIs or HIV/AIDS. No protection against STIs or HIV/AIDS. No protection against STIs or HIV/AIDS.
Availability Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics. From pharmacies without prescription, or from GP. Marie Stopes Australia™ centre, GP, local family planning clinics.

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Document code: NMAC0012 STOP V12 JUL17