If you have an unplanned pregnancy and need support, there are free confidential services including counselling to help you consider your options and get the information that you need.
Support for partners
Your partner or a family member can also get counselling for an unplanned pregnancy or after an abortion.
Free information and counselling
Freephone for information and counselling
You can freephone the My Options helpline for information and support on all your options if you have an unplanned pregnancy. This free helpline gives information on both continued pregnancy supports and abortion services. It is provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Free phone 1800 828 010.
If you are calling from outside Ireland, call +353 59 9165066
You can also contact My Options by web chat
You can also get free in-person counselling from a HSE-funded counselling service for unplanned pregnancies. Check where your nearest counselling service is on the HSE website.
Supports to continue pregnancy
If you think you are pregnant, you should visit your GP (family doctor) or contact your local maternity unit or hospital. They can give you information on the pregnancy care options available to you.
Antenatal care is the care you get from healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. Antenatal care in public maternity hospitals is free. Your GP appointments under the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme are also free.
If you are having a baby, there are various benefits and entitlements relating to birth and children.
There are information resources for parents, including for young parents and one-parent families.
If you want to choose adoption
Adoption is when you continue the pregnancy but give legal consent for your child to become part of another family on a permanent basis.
You can choose adoption at any stage during your pregnancy.
If you are considering adoption, you do not need to make a final decision until some months after the birth of your baby. You can discuss this with a counsellor for unplanned pregnancy.
Abortion in Ireland
If you live in Ireland, you can get abortion services for free in the public health service.
An abortion, also known as a termination, is the medical process of ending a pregnancy. It may involve taking medication or having a minor surgical procedure.
You can read information from the HSE on deciding to have an abortion and if there are any risks when getting an abortion.
When can you have an abortion?
You can have an abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy (that is, no more than 84 days since the first day of your last period). You will need to begin the process earlier than this
After 12 weeks, you can only have an abortion in exceptional circumstances, if the pregnancy:
- Puts your life at risk
- Risks serious harm to your health
- Is likely to lead to the death of the foetus before birth or within 28 days of birth because of a problem with its development
The earlier an abortion is carried out, the simpler and safer it will be.
How to get an abortion in Ireland
You need to attend a pre-abortion consultation and a doctor must certify that you will not be more than 12 weeks pregnant at the time of the abortion. You should have this consultation as early as you can.
After you get this certification you must wait at least 3 days before you have an abortion. For example, if you are certified on a Tuesday, the earliest you can have an abortion is Friday.
If you are under 18 getting an abortion
If you are aged under 18, you are encouraged to involve your parents or another supportive adult.
If you are aged over 16, you can choose not to involve an adult and a doctor can offer you an abortion if they think you can understand the information and give consent.
If you are aged under 16, and choose not to involve an adult, a doctor can only offer you an abortion if there are exceptional circumstances and you have had an assessment with a doctor.
After an abortion
You will be offered a free post-abortion check-up about 2 weeks after having an abortion. You can have this check-up with the GP or doctor you saw at your pre-abortion consultation. This appointment is optional.
The HSE provide a 24-hour nursing team for someone who has had a recent abortion and needs medical advice.
The HSE have information that is useful to have after an abortion as well as check-ups, counselling, support and aftercare after an abortion.
Who to contact
Phone My Options
Freephone: 1800 82 80 10
Outside of the Republic of Ireland: +353 59 9165066
Information and counselling
Monday to Friday: 9am to 8pm
Saturday: 10am to 2pm
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Irish Sign Language
Book an appointment through the Irish Remote Interpreting Service to access MyOptions using sign language.
Irish Text Relay Service
This service helps people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired, to make and receive calls independently. Book an appointment through Irish Text Relay Service.
My Options does not record calls.
If you or someone you know does not speak English
If you do not speak English, MyOptions can provide you with an interpreter. Freephone: 1800 82 80 10