Long-term reproductive outcome subsequent to medical versus surgical treatment for miscarriage

Hum Reprod. 2005 Dec;20(12):3355-9. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dei257. Epub 2005 Aug 11.


Background: When compared with the conventional surgical evacuation for the treatment of miscarriage, medical evacuation has been largely accepted as an effective and safe management. However, there is a lack of data on the long-term reproductive outcome of these two treatment modalities, which is crucial in patient counselling. The current study evaluates and compares the long-term fertility and pregnancy outcome following these two treatments.

Methods: A cohort of 604 women enrolled in a previous randomized controlled trial comparing medical and surgical evacuation for miscarriage were followed up prospectively by telephone interview at a median of 6 (range 4-9) years using a structured questionnaire.

Results: A total of 423 women were contacted and four declined to participate (response rate 69.4%). Of these, 261 women (131 medical and 130 surgical evacuations) had attempted to become pregnant since the miscarriage. There were no differences in their baseline characteristics including age, reproductive and contraceptive history. The natural conception rates were the same (97.7%, P = 0.99) and the cumulative pregnancy rates were similar between groups, being 60 and 80% at 12 and 24 months respectively. The median time-to-pregnancy was 8 months in both groups (P = 0.97) and the subsequent live birth rates (85.2 versus 88.2%, P = 0.72) resulting from the immediate pregnancy following previous treatment were similar.

Conclusions: The long-term conception rate and pregnancy outcome are not different following medical or surgical evacuation for miscarriage. Women should be reassured that their long-term fertility potential will not be compromised after medical treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / adverse effects
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / drug therapy*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dilatation and Curettage / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Misoprostol / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telephone
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal
  • Misoprostol