New data released today by the Office for National Statistics shows that teenage conception rates are at the lowest level since 1969, while conceptions to women in their 30s and 40s continue to rise.
Between 2014 and 2015 conception rates increased for among women aged 25 years and over, and decreased in all age groups under 25. Over the last 5 years, conception rates have decreased among all age groups except those aged over 35. In 2015, there were 68.3 conceptions per 1,000 women aged 35-39 compared to 62.9 in 2010. For women aged 40 and over, there were 15.1 conceptions per 1,000 women in 2015 compared to 13.5 in 2010. The ONS also reports that the conception rate among both these age groups has more than doubled since 1990.
Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, bpas, said:
“The trend towards older motherhood is clearly here to stay, yet women continue to be warned about the perils of ‘leaving it too late’ on a regular basis. The calls for fertility education to stop women ‘sleepwalking into infertility’ are neither reflective of the evidence regarding chances of conceiving in your thirties, nor the reality of women’s lives. We know that women are having children later in life for a variety of reasons - from concerns about childcare to struggles buying a family home – but they are not doing so because of a lack of awareness of their fertile window.
“The rise in women having children later in life is not a problem in need of a solution. We need to support women’s choices across their reproductive lifetimes, and ensure they have access to the high quality contraception, abortion and maternity services they need to exercise those choices.”
The full ONS dataset can be viewed online here.
Notes to Editors:
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, bpas, is a charity which sees more than 70,000 women a year and provides reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. More information can be found at www.bpas.org