Terminating a Pregnancy for Genetic Anomalies

As stated previously, with advanced medical technology and knowledge you may choose to terminate your pregnancy. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when making this decision:

  1. How far along are you in the pregnancy
  2. What are your state regulations regarding termination vis-a-vis gestational age
  3. What are your state regulations regarding burial/cremation – this is dependent on gestational age
  4. What options are available to you should you wish to bury or cremate even if it is earlier than the state’s legal requirements
  5. What options are the physician offering in terms of delivery
    1. D&C – a relatively simple procedure that can be done up to about 12 weeks gestation
    2. 14 weeks gestation and above:
      1. Induction – a procedure that culminates in vaginal delivery of an intact fetus – for this you will most likely be required to take medication orally, intravenously or vaginally to induce labor
      2. D&E – a procedure in which you can have an epidural or general anesthesia – the doctor will surgically remove the fetus – sometimes not entirely intact (you may not be told this by your physician)
  6. Do you wish to see the baby post delivery
  7. If you do see the baby how is s/he presented to you – who can be with you at the time of seeing the baby
  8. Will pictures be taken and available to you (they may be taken automatically but you are not required to take them home if you don’t want to)
  9. YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO SHARE YOUR DECISION WITH ANYONE. YOU ARE ENTITLED TO FEEL A SERIOUS LOSS AND GRIEF AFTER MAKING THIS DECISION AND FOLLOWING THROUGH ON THIS PROCEDURE

After the Procedure to Terminate the Pregnancy

Once you have undergone the procedure to terminate the pregnancy there will be considerations for you to make. You will need to decide what to do with the remains. In the section of this website discussing second trimester loss there is information explaining that every state has a different law regarding burial and gestational age. Be sure to understand your state’s requirements.

Should you choose to bury or cremate your baby’s remains, bear in mind that you are under no obligation to explain to the funeral home the circumstances around this loss. Some people are uncomfortable when they anticipate making arrangements and are fearful of how people may react to the choices they have made. This is a pregnancy loss and that is all people have to know.

As in all other losses, you will make your plans, you may choose to have a memorial service or some way of remembering your baby. You may also choose to name your baby should you desire.

Lingering Thoughts

Whatever were the circumstances of your loss and the decision that went into it, you may find yourself questioning the actions that you took. What is important to keep in mind is giving yourself permission and realizing that you made the best decision for you and your family and for you and your baby – with all the information that was available to you at the time.

You may find comfort in talking to others who have made similar decisions, or you may be ready to  move on and make other plans for the future. Whatever is right for you is what you need to do. Find support if you think you need it.