FSRH statement: ONS releases quarterly figures (January-March 2021) on teenage pregnancy rates

Posted 10 June 2022

Date: 10 Jun 2022

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

Office for National Statistics (ONS) quarterly figures on under-18 conception rates for women in England and Wales, published today, show that pregnancy rates in women aged 15-17 in England fell by 20.5% in January-March 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. The data reflects a period during which the UK was in a national lockdown and might reflect changes in behaviour associated with it.

The rate of teenage pregnancies for January-March 2021 stands at 12.1 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17, whilst in 2020 it was 15.2 per 1,000.

Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:

“We welcome the ONS quarterly statistics on under-18 conceptions, which show a decline in teenage pregnancies across England and Wales even when taking into account the possible margin of error caused by the pandemic.

“In spite of the good quarterly outlook, we cannot afford to be complacent. We are still seeing significant fluctuations in the Local Authority rates. Every region has at least one local authority with a rate significantly higher than the England average.

“Young people must be able to confidently access sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including the full range of contraceptive methods. We must also see schools being properly supported to implement the statutory relationships and sex education (RSE) guidance, with the aim of empowering young people to take full control of their sexual and reproductive health and make informed decisions.

“It is essential that the Government’s new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy addresses these barriers, championing an easily accessible, fully-funded system for teenagers across the country.”


For further information please contact Camila Azevedo, FSRH External Affairs Manager at cazevedo@fsrh.org

Notes to editors:

  • The ONS quarterly figures on under-18 conception rates for women in England and Wales Q1 2021 can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/conceptionandfertilityrates/datasets/quarterlyconceptionstowomenagedunder18englandandwales
  • Quarterly data can fluctuate quite significantly. As the ONS explains "Rates are not calculated where there are fewer than 3 conceptions, rates based on such low numbers are susceptible to inaccurate interpretation. [...] Rates and percentages which are based on between 3 and 19 conceptions are displayed in tables but are denoted by [u] as a warning to the user that their reliability as a measure may be affected by the small number of events."

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ.