What is SofTouch?
SofTouch® is a 2-5 minute procedure specifically designed just for women seeking to terminate an early pregnancy, which is a pregnancy at 10 weeks or less. SofTouch can also be used to treat an early miscarriage, or to treat an incomplete surgical abortion. This noninvasive method involves a small, hand-held device that quietly brings a natural release of your menstrual flow. The technical term for the SofTouch® method is Manual Vacuum Aspiration. In addition to the Abortion Pill, Manual Vacuum Aspiration is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the safest, non-surgical abortion option. You can explore SofTouch® in more detail, here.
Does it Hurt?
There’s a reason this method is called SofTouch®. It’s a gentle, noninvasive procedure performed with a soft touch by our highly trained physicians. Still, most women experience a few minutes of intense cramping. This is nothing to be afraid of. We will provide you with pain medication to manage the discomfort. Many women feel better understanding that the cramping is normal, and part of the way their uterus goes back to its normal size. We’re also America’s only practice to allow the comforting presence of a companion of your choice to be by your side during the procedure.
After the 2-5 minute procedure is over, most women feel back to normal within 5-20 minutes as they rest in their private exam room. The temporary discomfort is also preferable to being put to sleep for a surgical abortion. Most women who have a surgical abortion, such as a D&C, feel pain for hours – even days – afterwards. Surgical abortions also carry a risk to your fertility, but SofTouch® does not.
How far into my pregnancy can I get the SofTouch® Procedure?
The SofTouch® manual aspiration procedure is best completed between 5-10 weeks of pregnancy, which is calculated from the first day of your last period. If you are unsure of your pregnancy dates, you can schedule a consultation so that one of our physicians can perform an ultrasound and talk to you about your early options.
It’s also helpful to understand that ending an early pregnancy is different. You have more options, which are safer and gentler on both mind and body. Prior to 10 weeks, your body is primarily preparing for a pregnancy. The pregnancy itself consists of a coin-sized fluid-filled sac, and tissue similar to menstrual tissue. You can learn more about early pregnancy, here.
How does SofTouch® compare to the Abortion Pill?
There are many reasons that 9 out of 10 women who come to us end up choosing SofTouch® instead of the Abortion Pill. The most common advantage we hear from our patients is that SofTouch® takes just minutes during one visit, while the Abortion Pill takes up to 3 days and requires two visits. We are also the only practice in the United States to allow a companion of your choice – male or female – to be by your side throughout the entire visit, including your procedure.
Another advantage of SofTouch® is that there is only minimal bleeding, but the Abortion Pill may involve weeks or even months of bleeding. SofTouch® also involves very little cramping for just minutes, while the Abortion Pill causes intense cramping that lasts for hours. The SofTouch® method is also nearly 100% effective, but the Abortion Pill only has an effectiveness rate of 96-98% and patients must return to our office to verify termination of pregnancy. Instead, with SofTouch®, our physicians can immediately verify by ultrasound that the pregnancy has been terminated. With SofTouch®, pregnancy symptoms start to go away within 24 hours. With the Abortion Pill, it can take days before pregnancy symptoms start to resolve.
How does SofTouch® compare to surgical abortion?
Simply put, SofTouch® is better for your physical and emotional wellbeing. It’s a gentler choice that provides comfort during what can be a stressful time for many women. Unlike surgical abortion, SofTouch® is noninvasive. It’s not surgery! That’s why SofTouch® is completed in 2-5 minutes in a comfortable, quiet exam room – not an operating room. There’s no scraping, metal instruments, loud noises, and you don’t need to be put to sleep as is recommended by most surgical abortion doctors. Instead, the SofTouch® experience is more “normal” – like getting your annual Pap test. You can bring someone to be by your side if you choose. You can eat and drink normally before and after your procedure. You recover naturally. As soon as the procedure is over, your uterus starts to relax and go back to normal. While everyone is different, most women feel good enough to return to their daily activities within 20 minutes of having the SofTouch®procedure.
Environment matters. In an abortion clinic, women wait in common areas to be seen in an operating room, and then are sent to a common recovery room. Some women have described this as an “assembly line” experience. Companions are not able to be part of the visit. This experience can be intimidating, lonely, and scary. Plus, it’s unnecessary to go through this to end an early pregnancy. That’s why we offer simpler, more natural early options.
So SofTouch® is performed in an exam room similar to my family doctor’s office or OB-GYN?Yes!Because SofTouch® isnoninvasive, there’s no need for an operating room which many women find distressing. SofTouch®simply involves the gentle, quiet release of early pregnancy tissue. No scraping. No metal instruments. No loud electric suction. No need to be put to sleep. Click here for a comparison chart between surgical abortion and SofTouch®.
Why don’t abortion clinics offer the SofTouch® manual aspiration procedure?
Unfortunately, it is very rare for abortion clinics, even private NYC abortion clinics, to offer the manual aspiration procedure. That’s because SofTouch® is a method specifically created by our Harvard-trained founder, Dr. Joan Fleischman, to terminate an early pregnancy. Most abortion clinics perform the same surgical abortion procedure whether you’re in week 4 or month 4 of your pregnancy, even though an invasive method is unnecessary for ending an early pregnancy. Instead, the SofTouch® method was designed by Dr. Fleischman to be the safest, most natural, early abortion procedure.
But some abortion clinics say they DO offer an aspiration procedure…I’m confused.
You’re right, many clinics do offer aspiration abortions. But it is highly unlikely they are providing the procedure in the safest way possible. If you’re asked not to eat or drink after midnight prior to your visit, this is a red flag that your procedure will be invasive. Aspiration, by definition, simply means suction. SofTouch® creates gentle suction using a small, hand-held device. It is a non-surgical procedure that’s completed in a regular exam room. However, most clinics create suction using a loud, electric vacuum and it’s recommended that you be put to sleep. Surgical procedures are performed in an operating room, and then a recovery room.
Who performs the SofTouch® procedure?
Our entire woman-only team consists of compassionate, knowledgeable medical professionals. One of our board-certified physicians will perform the SofTouch® procedure after first meeting with you to review what to expect. Led by our Harvard-trained founder, Dr. Joan Fleischman, the entire team of Early Options physicians has undergone extensive training in this gentle, noninvasive method and early abortion options in general. Get to know our team and their accreditations, here.
How much does it cost to have the SofTouch® procedure?
The cost of the SofTouch® procedure falls in the middle of the typical fees associated with terminating a pregnancy, it’s about $1200. When you select SofTouch®, you can feel confident knowing you’ll receive personalized care from our all-woman staff, and benefit from our Privacy in Practice philosophy. We’re also the only practice that welcomes a companion of your choice to be at your side during the procedure. These are priceless advantages that you won’t get at an abortion clinic. When you leave our office, you will feel confident in the medical care you received, and we will support you to feel at peace with your decision.
Is SofTouch® safe? Are there any possible complications?
SofTouch® was designed to be the most natural and effective early abortion method. It is the least invasive manual aspiration procedure available. There is no scraping, electric suction, or metal instruments, so there is no risk of scarring and damage to your fertility. There is no need to be put to sleep, so there is no risk of major complications from anesthesia. It is safer than the Abortion Pill, which can cause persistent heavy bleeding. The rare complications of a SofTouch® procedure are minor and easily treated with antibiotics or a repeat procedure. Serious health risks are extremely rare and are usually related to the pregnancy, not the pregnancy termination procedure. In fact, the World Health Organization endorses manual aspiration abortion and the Abortion Pill as the safest abortion methods.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated in its Technical Guidelines on Safe Abortion: “Aspiration and medical abortion are preferred methods for abortion in the first trimester. Both these methods are safe, effective, and suitable for the primary level of care and should be available at levels of care with greater capacity and in many private clinical settings.”
IPAS, an international organization dedicated to safe abortion care adds: Regrettably, many health facilities still use the sharp curettage or dilation and curettage (D&C) method. The WHO guidelines state that because women’s risk of complications is substantially higher with sharp curettage than with vacuum aspiration or medication abortion, this method should be used only when vacuum aspiration and medication abortion are unavailable.