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© ACDI/Katalina Morales

Study on Irish women seeking at-home termination of pregnancy (TOP) using online telemedicine

Objective

To examine the characteristics and experiences of women in Ireland and Northern Ireland seeking at-home medical termination of pregnancy (TOP) using online telemedicine.

Design

Population-based study.

Setting

Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Population

Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2015, 5650 women requested at-home medical TOP through online telemedicine initiative Women on Web.

Methods

We examined the demographics and circumstances of women requesting medical TOP and examined the experiences of the 1023 women who completed TOP between January 2010 and December 2012. We conducted a content analysis of women's evaluations and used logistic regression to examine factors associated with lack of emotional support during and after TOP

Main outcome measures

Satisfaction with TOP; feelings before and after TOP; emotional support during TOP.

Results

Women requesting TOP were diverse with respect to age, pregnancy circumstances and reasons for seeking TOP. Among those completing TOP, 97% felt they made the right choice and 98% would recommend it to others in a similar situation. Women commonly reported serious mental stress caused by their pregnancies and their inability to afford travel abroad to access TOP. The feelings women most commonly reported after completing TOP were ‘relieved’ (70%) and ‘satisfied’ (36%). Women with financial hardship had twice the risk of lacking emotional support (odds ratio = 2.0, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

The vast majority of women who completed at-home medical TOP through Women on Web had a positive experience. These demonstrated benefits to health and wellbeing contribute new evidence to the debate surrounding abortion laws in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Tweetable abstract

Irish and Northern Irish women completing at-home medical TOP report benefits for health, wellbeing and autonomy.

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