Jill Durocher

Feasibility of Multilevel Pregnancy Tests for Telemedicine Abortion Service Follow-Up: A Pilot Study

December 14th, 2020
Medical Abortion
Chong, E., Sheldon, W., Lopez-Green, D., Gonzalez, C., Hernández Castillo, B., Gulías Ogando, M., Tuladhar, N., Blum, J.

International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health; 2020 Dec 14; 46(Suppl 1):67-75; doi: 10.1363/46e1020

Context: Telemedicine clients wishing to confirm a successful medication abortion outside of a clinic setting are commonly instructed to use high-sensitivity urine pregnancy tests, which can take up to four weeks to yield accurate results. Multilevel urine pregnancy tests (MLPTs), which provide accurate results in one week, are a promising alternative, but their use has not been evaluated within telemedicine services.

Methods: From November 2017 to May 2018, 165 eligible and consenting pregnant people who contacted safe2choose—an organization providing telemedicine abortion services internationally—for medication abortion were enrolled in a pilot study and mailed a package containing medication abortion drugs, two MLPTs and instructions. Data on 118 participants who completed a web-based evaluation survey two weeks after the package was sent were analyzed to examine participant experiences and satisfaction with the service.

Results: Responding participants were from 11 countries, including Mexico, the Philippines and Singapore. Ninety-three percent used both MLPTs, and 91% of those who used both tests used them at the correct time intervals. Among the 95% of participants whose MLPT results indicated that their pregnancy hormone levels decreased from before to after medication abortion, 86% correctly interpreted the results to mean that they were no longer pregnant. Satisfaction was high, with all indicating that the supplied information was helpful; more than nine out of 10 noted that they would want to use the MLPTs again.

Conclusions: Incorporating MLPTs into telemedicine abortion services is feasible and associated with high client satisfaction. Enabling people to manage their own abortion follow-up care could greatly improve their overall abortion experience.