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Teenage pregnancy rate decreases

The conception rate for women aged over 40 has hit a "record high", while teenage pregnancies have fallen, new figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said pregnancies in people aged 40-44 jumped by more than 6% from 11.5 per 1,000 women in 2005, to 12.2 in 2006.

It added that the rate for teenagers in England and Wales fell from 41.4 conceptions per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 17 in 2005, to 40.7 in 2006.

And there were 7.7 conceptions per 1,000 girls aged 13-15 in 2006, a slight reduction on the 7.8 recorded in 2005.

But across the country, there were wide regional variations.

Children's minister Beverley Hughes said: "I would like to congratulate the 89% of local authorities where rates are continuing to fall - further evidence that where areas apply our Teenage Pregnancy Strategy effectively, we are getting results.

"However, there is still work to do and there are still some areas where the level of teenage pregnancy is unacceptably high."

Julie Bentley, chief executive officer of the fpa, said of the rise in older women falling pregnant: "Every woman has to make her own decision about the right time to have a baby.

"As long as women are aware that their fertility naturally declines over the age of 35, and that it will probably take a bit longer to get pregnant, late motherhood is a valid choice."


Copyright © PA Business 2008

Related video: The 2010 teenage pregnancy strategy

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