Overview:

  • estimates are derived by combining numbers of maternities and abortions

  • miscarriages and illegal abortions are not included in the statistics

  • maternities which result in 1 or more live births or stillbirths are counted only once

  • statistics do not include conceptions for usually resident women who give birth abroad, or for women who are not usually resident in England and Wales

Conception statistics include all the pregnancies of women usually resident in England and Wales that lead to one of the following outcomes:

  • a maternity at which 1 or more live births or stillbirths occur

  • a termination of a pregnancy by abortion

Timely but provisional quarterly conception statistics are published in the Vital Statistics: Population and Health Reference Tables. The figures provided are the number of conceptions, the conception rate and the percentage of conceptions leading to abortion by age and year. Provisional Quarterly Conceptions to Women aged under 18 are also published by area of usual residence.

In addition, there is an annual publication consisting of conception statistics by age of woman at conception, marital or civil partnership status at time of conception and outcome (maternity or abortion).

Maternities data are derived from information recorded at birth registration. Abortion data comes from the Department of Health and is based on notifications provided by abortion clinics.

Further information on data quality, legislation and procedures relating to conception statistics can be found in our user guide to conception statistics.

One of the aims of the Department of Health is to reduce under 18 conceptions and they are one of the main users of conception statistics. Public Health England and sexual health charities also use these statistics.

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