NCT response: ONS Conception Rates

Released on: 19 July 2011

Office of National Statistics released the 2009 figures of conceptions in England and Wales today.

In 2009 there were an estimated 896,300 conceptions in England and Wales, compared with 888,600 in 2008 – an increase of 0.9 per cent.

The conception rate for women aged under 18 decreased by 5.9 per cent, from 40.7 conceptions per thousand women aged 15–17 in 2008 to 38.3 in 2009. Conception rates for women aged under 20 and 20–24 decreased by 4.7 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively in 2009. Increases in the conception rate were observed for women aged 25–29 (0.5 per cent), 30–34 (3.5 per cent), 35–39 (3.4 per cent) and 40 and over (1.6 per cent).

For the first time the conception rate for women aged 35-39 was higher than the rate for the under 20s (60.1 conceptions per 1,000 women aged 35-39 compared with 57.3 per 1,000 women aged 15-19).

Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser, NCT, said:


“The rising numbers of women conceiving for the first time in their 30s or 40s follows a trend we have seen over the past decade, although the number conceiving over 40 is still relatively small. Many older women who are fit and well can go on to have a straightforward pregnancy and birth, and a healthy baby.


“There are many reasons women may choose to become a parent later on in life, including a desire to build a career or achieve financial independence, or that they don’t feel ready to settle down. Older women should feel well supported and confident in being able to give birth and have the type of birth they want and maternity services should be equipped to help meet these needs.”