23/07/2010 12:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

One In Five Teenagers Pregnant By Age 18

One in five sexually active teenage girls has become pregnant at least once by the age of 18, according to new Government figures.

And shockingly more than 1,3000 18-year old girls have been pregnant three times.

The survey found that 83 per cent of girls have lost their virginity before their 18th birthday, with 27 per cent of these having sex before turning 16. The findings show that despite Government attempts to tackle the high teen pregnancy rate, Britain's teenage pregnancies remain the highest in Western Europe.

About half of them kept their babies and more than one third had an abortion, said the survey.

The figures show a direct relation between education and the likelihood of becoming pregnant by 18: girls who gained mainly D to G grades art GCSE were more likely than higher achievers to have fallen pregnant.

As a result, Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, has criticised the Government's teenage pregnancy strategy as a 'disaster'. He told the Daily Mail: 'With all its emphasis on sex education and handing out contraceptives to schoolchildren under the age of consent, it is giving them the green light to experiment sexually.

'The expansion of confidential contraceptive services for young people under the age of 16 is making it more difficult for girls to resist the advances of their boyfriends and leading some to become sexually active when they might not otherwise have done so. 'The Government and the sex education establishment have shown themselves more interested in encouraging young people to use contraception than they are in discouraging them from becoming sexually active in the first place.

What do you think?
Are teenagers being encouraged to have sex because of sex education policies and free contraceptives?