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BPAS comment on ONS Fertility rate rises in England and Wales

Katherine O’Brien, Associate Director of Communications and Campaigns, said:

"At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020,  many women may have delayed trying to conceive, leading to the slight increase in live births in 2021. While the total fertility rate increased slightly in 2021 compared to 2020, the rate remains lower than in 2019, in the pre-COVID period. There is no “right” number of births, but it is important that as a society we provide the support and healthcare services that enable women and their partners to have children at the time that is right for them. We know that many women would love to have children earlier in life, and to expand their families, but from the high cost of childcare to the motherhood pay penalty, many feel unable to do so.

What we also are seeing in the data is the continued trend towards older motherhood, with increases in the fertility rate among women in age groups over 30 years old, and decreasing among younger age groups. There are a variety of reasons why women are choosing to postpone motherhood, from career development to the ever-increasing cost of raising a child."

ENDS

For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’brien@bpas.org or 07881 265276.

About BPAS

BPAS is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/

In 2021, BPAS launched BPAS Fertility, England’s first not-for-profit fertility service, to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. We provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service, without profiteering from patients. Our service gives those ineligible for NHS funding an affordable option to access the care they need.