Choice: Why some women choose medication termination of pregnancy over surgical termination.

Choice: Why some women choose medication termination of pregnancy over surgical termination.

Medication termination of pregnancy (MTOP) involves taking two sets of tablets (mifepristone and misoprostol) to induce a miscarriage in pregnancies of up to 9 weeks. Surgical termination of pregnancy is a procedure that requires a general anaesthetic and surgical technique to end a pregnancy. In Australia, an estimated one in four pregnancies ends in termination.

study by Newton et al. was conducted in 2015 with Victorian-based professionals who worked within services offering MTOP, to provide insights on why some women choose this option over surgical termination of pregnancy. The study suggested that the choice of termination method was often influenced by a range of factors relating to; practical reasons—time and location the women can access the service, level of support; and subjective reasons—perception that MTOP is more natural because it is similar to having a miscarriage, that MTOP offers more privacy and is less invasive. It is important that women are aware of the availability and accessibility of these services to make informed choices that best meet their individual needs, particularly in regional areas where access can be limited.

MTOP was added to the range of clinical services offered at Family Planning Victoria (FPV) in November 2015. The service is available to all women in Victoria who could access emergency services within an hour of their home. Patients are provided with an information leaflet at an initial consultation and followed up by phone at 48 hours and a face to face consultation at two weeks later. Between November 2015 and June 2016, 104 women have been booked into the service. Eighty-eight percent have rated the service as ‘excellent’ and 12% as ‘very good’. 

Healthcare professionals who would like to increase their skill set in MTOP can access online and practical training. MS-2 Step online training is required to become a registered prescriber for mifepristone and misoprostol. Healthcare professionals can also learn more about FPV’s MTOP training clinic by contacting Dr Suzanne Pearson ( 

FPV also has an ongoing suite of training courses for health professionals on reproductive and sexual health.


Whilst the Information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the Information. The Information may change without notice and Family Planning Victoria is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user. Please also consider our full website disclaimer.

Categories: Pregnancy , Abortion , Reproductive and Sexual Health , Professionals

Tags: Medication Termination of Pregnancy, Surgical Termination of Pregnancy, MTOP, Mifepristone, Misoprostol