The carafem Procedure

A safe, convenient, and affordable abortion procedure.

There are different methods for performing an early abortion. The carafem procedure, (sometimes called ” MVA,” “aspiration abortion,” or “surgical abortion”) is a safe and simple method of ending an early pregnancy in our office with a gentle and quiet hand-held suction device.

Here are a few things to know about the carafem procedure.

  • It is safe and effective. The carafem procedure is used to address an early pregnancy to 13 weeks from your last period.
  • It is natural. The carafem procedure is provided in a regular exam room – no loud machines or hospital-like setting required.
  • It is quick. The carafem procedure takes about 2-7 minutes, no longer than a regular pap smear.
  • There is no need for heavy painkillers. Most people report a minute or two of cramping and minimal discomfort. Because there is no need for strong painkillers, most clients can drive themselves home or even return to work the same day. Most visits last less than 90 minutes and you can eat and drink normally both before and after your visit.
  • It is affordable. Depending on location, the carafem procedure costs $550-700 and we accept most medical insurance, and medicaid in certain states.  Financial assistance may be available for low-income clients.

What is the carafem procedure?

The carafem procedure is a safe and effective method of early abortion. This process is also known as “aspiration abortion” or “surgical abortion” – even though there is no surgery involved.  We know it is one of the safest and effective methods of abortion around the world. Performed in our private office, the process takes about 2-7 minutes — about the same amount of time as a regular pap smear. Your physician will use a small, quiet handheld aspiration device that will quickly and gently remove the contents of your uterus, similar to releasing your period all at once.

A caring staff person will focus on your comfort by offering to play soft music and providing a warming heat pad to lessen cramping. Some clients prefer to bring a support person of their choosing into the exam room with them as well.

What to expect

Most of your visit will occur in a private office, where your clinician will walk you through what to expect both during and after the procedure. Your clinician will use a variety of written and digital materials to make sure all of your questions are answered.  They will also perform any laboratory testing you may need at this time. You will be in our office for around 90 minutes total, but the procedure itself only takes around 5 minutes.

Once you are in our private exam room, your physician will perform an ultrasound to confirm the date of your last period. This part of the visit will feel like a typical appointment at your gynecologist’s office.

During this time, a carafem client advocate will provide you with information and options to increase your comfort. You may choose to have a support person, like a partner or friend, join you for much of your visit, or your client advocate can assist you with gentle relaxation techniques.

The entire carafem aspiration procedure takes around 2-7 minutes, and most people report only about 1 or 2 minutes of strong cramping. Cramping usually stops within minutes once the procedure is finished.

When the procedure is finished, you may remain in your private room to recover — usually around 10 minutes. When you feel ready to leave, you can drive, eat, and return to most normal activities. You can call us night or day with any questions of concerns you might have.