An epidemiological study of recent trends in ectopic pregnancy.
Data from two independent sources in England and Wales, the first based upon persons discharged from hospital and the second upon general practitioner consultations, indicate that the incidence of ectopic pregnancy has been increasing since the late 1950s, with a particularly sharp increase since 1970. Time trends in the age and regional distribution of ectopic pregnancy suggest that the increasing use of intrauterine contraceptive devices may be a major factor contributing to this recent increase in extrauterine gestations. In contrast, recent age and regional trends in tubal infection appear to be unrelated to the trends in ectopic pregnancy. The possible contribution of progestogen-only contraceptives, induced abortion and tubal surgery to the recent increase in extrauterine pregnancy cannot be assessed from the available data.