Women aborting babies conceived through IVF

Dozens of women are aborting their children after having IVF to conceive them, statistics show.

One obstetrics Professor expressed shock at the news, saying each abortion was a “tragedy”.

The figures, released after a Freedom of Information request, come from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and show around 80 abortions a year are carried out on women who conceived by IVF.


The figures show around half of the terminations were on women aged between 18 and 35.

As young mothers are less likely to suffer complications in pregnancy, press reports are suggesting many of the abortions could be for social reasons.

One woman, Victoria, told The Sunday Times newspaper that she chose to abort her IVF-conceived baby after it became clear her marriage was failing.


Victoria said: “I couldn’t cope with bringing up a child on my own and I didn’t want any link that would force me to stay in touch with my husband”.

Former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe said women were treating babies like “designer goods”.

Prof Bill Ledger, a member of the HFEA, which regulates fertility treatment, said: “I had no idea there were so many post-IVF abortions and each one is a tragedy.”


Last year nearly 200,000 abortions took place in England and Wales.

Miss Widdecombe said: “If the law was being applied properly, people wouldn’t be able to get an abortion just because they changed their minds.”

The Abortion Act 1967 allows terminations on certain grounds such as if continuing the pregnancy would put the woman’s life at greater risk than terminating it.

The Act also says that an abortion is allowed, in the first 24 weeks, if bringing the baby to term would involve greater risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the woman.


During 2009 a total of 195,743 abortions were performed in England and Wales, with a further 13,005 terminations being performed in Scotland.

The official statistics reveal that of the abortions carried out on women resident in England and Wales, 63,309 – 34 per cent of the total – were for women who had previously had at least one abortion.

And of the abortions carried out in Scotland, this figure stood at 3,658, accounting for 28 per cent of the total.

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