WOMEN in their 40s are increasingly having abortions as confusion over messages surrounding fertility means they have mistakenly stopping using contraception.

Abortion provider, Bpas, said more than four in 10 women over the age of 40 who went for an abortion were not using any contraception whatsoever.

Comparatively, fewer than one in three 20 to 24-year-olds who opt for an abortion are not using contraception.

Bpas provides help to women with pregnancies which are unplanned, or which they do not wish to continue, and carries out the majority of abortions in Britain paid for by the NHS.

The service now carries out more abortions for women aged over 35 than for women aged under 18.

The society said women erroneously believe it is incredibly difficult to conceive in their 40s.

In 2012, there were 7,737 abortions carried out for women aged between 40 and 44, in 2002 this figure was 6,531.

Ann Furedi, Bpas chief executive said: “Over the past few years we have seen much scaremongering about older women’s fertility.

From ‘career women’ leaving it too late to older women ‘banking on IVF’ to conceive, these stories lead many women to dramatically underestimate their own fertility later in life.”