FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Family Planning Associates has been providing professional abortion services to the Chicagoland area since 1988.
There are male and female physicians at FPA. A female clinician will perform your pre-operative examination and additional female healthcare providers are with you during and after your surgery.
Yes. This test may detect pregnancy as early as five days after the expected and missed menstrual period. We also have the EPT (Early Pregnancy Test) available for a fee of $10.00. This test can detect pregnancy as early as 10 days after conception. All testing can be performed on a walk-in basis.
Yes, we will take a copy of your photo ID when you arrive. All of your medical records are completely confidential and if you ever request for a copy or transfer of your records, we require your signature and authorization for release. It is always important to give accurate and current information or medical records. Your correct name, address, phone number and medical history are important for many reasons, particularly in case of an emergency.
At this time we are not required to give parental notification for services you receive. Therefore, we recommend that you talk to a parent or adult in your life, but we do not disclose any information.
No. Minors in Illinois do not need parental consent. The law, however, is subject to change at any time.
No. Your partner does not need to know. Your services are completely confidential.
There may be protesters at the clinic. According to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994, protestors cannot block your access to our entrance. According to a 2009 ordinance in Chicago, within 50 feet of the clinic entrance, protestors must stay 8 feet or more away from you, unless they have your permission to approach you at a closer distance.
Making an Appointment
Yes. Our facilities offer different kinds of appointments on different days.
Appointments are available for the same day or the following day, depending on our surgery schedule.
No. Your pregnancy test and ultrasound will be performed when you arrive for your appointment.
General Questions about Abortion
FPA terminates pregnancy up to 23.5 weeks.
In most cases the abortion can be performed as early as the EPT pregnancy test shows positive results. You just have to be far enough in the pregnancy for it to be visible on ultrasound, which is usually about 5 to 6 weeks.
A D&C (Dilation and Curettage) is the surgical procedure to terminate a pregnancy. A D&C can be performed up to 13 weeks gestation. The non-surgical procedure is accomplished with medication and offered up to 9 weeks gestation.
Normally, your regular menstrual cycle will resume 4 to 8 weeks after the abortion.
Professional medical staff is available to our patients 24 hours every day. If you have any questions or are experiencing post-operative problems, please call the clinic directly or use our toll-free number (800-541-0356) at any hour of the day or night. Our trained staff will speak with you and may ask that you return to our clinic for evaluation.
An abortion is an extremely safe surgical procedure. Less than 1% of patients experience any complications at all. Fewer risks exist with abortion than childbirth. The physician performing the surgery is highly skilled and specializes in this procedure.
Yes. Our admitting staff will review your options and medical history, pre- and post- operative instructions, method of payment and birth control information. Our clinician will perform a physical examination prior to the procedure and will answer any additional questions you may have.
Our clinician will perform a pelvic exam and ultrasound to determine the length of gestation.
A blood test performed in our lab will determine your Rh factor. If your blood is Rh negative, you will be given an injection of MICRhoGAM or RhoGAM, depending on your gestation, following the procedure.
It has been our experience that the majority of our patients are relieved after the procedure. However, every patient is unique. If a patient is feeling anger, regret or guilt for an extended period of time, she may want to consider professional counseling. We understand that abortion is a difficult decision for some patients and we remain sensitive to their feelings. We are grateful that we can offer women a safe solution for undesired or problematic pregnancies. Exhale (www.4exhale.org) is a free after-abortion counseling hotline that we recommend if you just need someone to talk to.
In most cases, your menstrual cycle will begin 4-8 weeks after the abortion. If you do not have a period in 8 weeks, please call us.
Yes. We offer birth control to our patients immediately after the abortion, if they are medically eligible. Your clinician will evaluate your needs and assist you with the appropriate birth control method.
If you have had a first trimester surgical abortion, you should start your new birth control on the first Sunday after your surgery. If you have had a second trimester abortion and were given birth control pills or Ortho Evra, you should start your new birth control on the first Sunday after your surgery. If you have had a second trimester abortion and were given the Nuva Ring, you should start on the second Sunday after your surgery. Starting birth control as soon as you can after surgery may help to reduce the amount of bleeding you have after surgery and regulate your periods sooner. If you are using your birth control exactly as it is prescribed (including taking your pills at the same time every day), it will be effective after using it for one week.
About Surgical Abortion
Local anesthesia is a cervical block performed before your surgery. Your cervix will be numbed, but you will be awake during the surgery. General anesthesia is administered intravenously. You are completely asleep during the surgery.
If you have chosen general anesthesia you will be completely asleep during the surgery so you will not feel any pain. After the procedure you may experience mild to moderate cramping. In most cases ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil/Midol), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) will alleviate the cramping. If the cramping is not alleviated with these remedies, you should call us immediately. Please do not use heating pads for cramps after surgery as that may cause heavier bleeding.
You will be asleep for 5-10 minutes for a first trimester abortion, or 10-15 minutes for a second trimester abortion.
The anesthesia that we offer is safe, effective and short acting. You will be asleep for 5-15 minutes depending on the procedure. There is always some degree of risk with any surgery. Serious complications with general anesthesia are very rare in our facilities. Complications may occur if a patient has ingested food or liquid within 8 hours of surgery. Tell our staff if you have had prior complications with anesthesia or if you have had anything to eat or drink within 8 hours prior to your surgery.
In most cases, the patient experiences bleeding for up to 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery. However, some patients do not experience any bleeding and other patients have spotting or bleeding off and on. If you have any questions about what is normal after your surgery, you can always call the clinic. A 24-hour on-call service is available for after hours.
The first trimester surgery is a simple procedure performed by aspiration (suction). This procedure is referred to as a D&C (Dilation and Curettage) and is a method to empty the contents of the uterus. This procedure takes about 3 to 5 minutes.
If you are over 13 weeks pregnant, you will first have your cervix dilated with a sterile product made specifically for cervical dilation. You will return for the actual surgery on the second or third day. This procedure is referred to as a D&E (Dilation and Extraction). In some cases, a patient will require two consecutive days of dilation and will return for the surgery on the third day. The dilation procedure takes a few minutes and you will be in the clinic for a few hours on the day or days that your cervix is dilated. In some cases, we can administer a medication on the morning of your surgery that will soften and dilate the cervix without the need for insertion of dilators the day before.
The majority of our patients return to work or school the following day. The admitting and medical staff will explain the DOs and DON’Ts after surgery.
Your driver, friend or family member may not enter the surgery or recovery room with you, as we must protect the privacy of all of our patients. We encourage your driver to wait for you in our reception area. If this is not possible, your driver can return for you upon completion of your appointment. It is important that your driver wait for you until your medical history and physical exam have been completed.
You should not have sex for two weeks after your procedure. We recommend that you abstain from sexual activity for two weeks because you are more susceptible to infection following your procedure.
Taking public transportation after surgery is not recommended. If no other method of transportation is available, we require that an adult must accompany you.
You should not use tampons for two weeks after surgery. Sanitary napkins should be used to decrease the possibility of infection and to monitor the amount of bleeding.
In most cases, a surgical abortion is 100% effective. A small percentage of cases will require a reaspiration if unusual bleeding occurs or if there is retained tissue.
Most patients experience some cramping. If the cramping is not relieved by over the counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil, we ask the patient to call our 24-hour emergency number (800-541-0356). You may take a shower or tub bath after surgery. Do not douche, use tampons or have intercourse for two weeks after surgery. Avoid any products that contain aspirin as aspirin promotes bleeding.
When general anesthesia is administered, gag reflexes are temporarily suppressed. If food or liquid remain in the stomach, vomiting can occur resulting in asphyxiation (choking).
Yes. All of our doctors are licensed by the State of Illinois, are board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and specialize in pregnancy termination.
The tissue is sent to a licensed and accredited laboratory for analysis and is disposed in accordance with the mandates of state law.
The contents of the uterus are sent to a pathology laboratory for analysis. The results of the analysis are sent to the doctor within 7 days of the procedure. We will contact you if you need to come in for an evaluation to make sure that the abortion was successful. In some cases, the doctor may request that you return to the clinic 2-3 days after your abortion for a blood test for that purpose.
You should avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting (over 10 pounds) for one week after the procedure.
About the Abortion Pill
The abortion pill is a non-surgical method to terminate pregnancy. This method is available to women under nine weeks of pregnancy. The medications used are mifepristone (Mifeprex) and misoprostol (Cytotec) tablets.
After taking the abortion pill, you may experience mild to moderate cramping. In most cases ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil/Midol), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) will alleviate the cramping. If over-the-counter medications are not effective, the clinician may also give you a prescription for a stronger pain reliever, such as Tylenol with codeine. Please do not use heating pads for cramps as that may cause heavier bleeding.
The only way to know if the abortion was successful is to return for your 1 week follow-up visit. It is possible to have heavy bleeding and cramping and pass clots, yet still be pregnant.
In a small percentage of cases, the tablets given for a medication abortion do not cause miscarriage. In these cases, the patient will require a D&C which is covered by your initial payment.
You should not exercise after taking the pill until you return for you follow-up visit. The clinician will advise you at that time when you can resume physical activity.
In some cases the patient experiences bleeding for up to 2 to 3 weeks after taking the abortion pill. Bleeding can range from very light spotting to a flow heavier than a normal period. If you are ever soaking more than one pad every hour, or if you have any questions about what is normal after your abortion, you can always call the clinic as we have a 24-hour on-call service.
You should not use tampons for two weeks after taking the abortion pill. Sanitary napkins should be used to decrease the possibility of infection and to monitor the amount of bleeding.
The abortion pill is 99% effective. This means that 1 woman out of 100 will need a surgical procedure or a D&C to complete the abortion.
You should plan on being at home for the first 24 hours after taking Cytotec (the second medication). Your bleeding and cramping might be more intense than you would feel comfortable with at school or work. The following day, you can return to school or work.
If I can’t come back to FPA for my follow-up appointment, can I just see my doctor or take a home pregnancy test?
By consenting to take the abortion pill, you also commit to returning to FPA for your follow-up appointment. If you know that you are unable to do so, you should not take the abortion pill with us. In order to confirm that the abortion is complete, it is necessary for us to do an ultrasound. If the abortion is not complete, only FPA can provide you with the additional medications or services needed to complete it. Home pregnancy tests can remain positive for over a month in some cases.