Information about the hospital system and about getting medical treatment in Germany.

Friday, 29 December 2006

Can you have pregnancy interruption (abortion) in Germany?

Germany is not really the country of choice if you need an abortion. The procedure is closely regulated by criminal law, and many very good clinics, especially when they belong to church institutions, refuse "interruptio" altogether. Other countries in Europe are less strict about this issue.

However, most clinics do not decline treatment when it is necessary and the regulations have been followed. And of course, the medical procedure as such is not really the problem; it is standard in most obstetric clinics and the staff have a lot of experience.

One important point: According to German law interruptio can be legalized best within the first 12 weeks after conception. Time is the issue. So the doctor has to check first and make sure that the pregnancy is still in this early stadium.
what we need in Germany, is a consultation with an organization that specializes in trying to counsel women and offer advice about the possible alternatives to abortion and about the supportive services that exist for women in a critical pregnancy situation. Only after having gone through this consultation (where you have to explain your reasons), and getting a confirmation paper about the process, and after waiting another three days, the doctor is legally permitted to perform the operation.

If, in spite of this, a woman wants to come to Germany for this treatment, a patient referral organisation like German Hospital Service Ltd. should be employed in order to get the logistics arranged: In addition to the appointment with the hospital, an appointment with the consulting service must be made, and suitable hotel accomodation for the compulsory days of waiting before the operation must be booked.

This somewhat complicated procedure makes it difficult to get the treatment arranged for patients who need a medical service visa to come to Germany. Visa application can be too time consuming. The possibilty to get a tourist visa will be important.

A look at the financial side:

In principle, the operation can be done on an out-patient basis: You enter the hospital in the morning, have the operation, and leave the hospital in the afternoon. For this, the costs will be around 500.-Eur.

From a medical point of view that is not really advisable: It can happen easily that the patients do not feel too well for some days after the procedure. Then it is reassuring to be in or near the hospital. So, if you opt for in-patient treatment and stay in hospital for some days, approximately 500.- Euro per day hospital costs should be expected. As usual, the estimated sum has to be deposited at the hospital prior to admission. And if you opt for outpatient treatment, you should plan to stay at a nearby hotel for some days after the operation.

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