Fall in conception rate among women in Greater Manchester
The rate of conception among women in Greater Manchester fell in 2021, new figures show.
The Office for National Statistics said the data provides understanding of how lockdowns and pandemic restrictions affected behaviour.
Figures from the ONS shows there were 47,205 conceptions in Greater Manchester in 2021. It was up from 45,872 the year before.
However, the rate dropped from 80.6 conceptions per 1,000 women in 2020 to 79.8 conceptions per 1,000 women in 2021.
Across England and Wales, there were nearly 825,000 pregnancies in 2021 - up from 818,000 the year before. It was the first increase in the number of conceptions in the last six years.
However, the rate of conceptions has been declining throughout the same period from 78.3 per 1,000 women in 2015 to 71.5 per 1,000 women in 2021.
Of the conceptions in Greater Manchester in 2021, 30.1% led to an abortion – the highest level in the past decade.
Overall, 26.5% of conceptions in England and Wales led to an abortion.
A spokesperson for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said the pandemic, and the Government response to it, had a clear impact on women’s pregnancy choices.
They said: "Faced with economic challenges and job insecurity, women and their partners had to make sometimes tough decisions around continuing or ending a pregnancy.
"Unfortunately, financial struggles and a lack of government support, including the two-child limit on financial assistance, continue to force women to choose between ending an otherwise wanted pregnancy or plunging their families in to great hardship."
They added there is no "right number of abortions" and added there is more the Government can do to ensure women make the right decision for themselves when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
The figures also show there were 865 conceptions among women aged under 18 in Greater Manchester – a rate of 16.9 conceptions per 1,000 for the age group.
About 55.4% of pregnancies resulted in an abortion.
Siân Bradford, ONS child health senior research officer, said the data reveals a higher conception rate among women who were not married or in a civil partnership for the first time since records began.
"Despite a higher percentage of abortions, women who were not married or in a civil partnership, still have a higher number of conceptions leading to maternity. Further work will be needed to establish whether this marks a change in trend,” she added.
The conception rate for women outside of marriage or civil partnership across the two nations rose from 73.4 conceptions per 1,000 women in 2011 to 75.1 conceptions per 1,000 women between in 2021.
Meanwhile, the conception rate for women within marriage or civil partnership decreased from 91.6 conceptions per 1,000 women to 72.2 conceptions per 1,000 women.