Can birth control make you infertile?
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Can Birth Control Make You Infertile?


There is a common concern among women on the issue of birth control use leading to infertility. When it comes to birth control and fertility, there can be a lot of confusion as to what works and what does not. One of the commonest questions is “Can birth control make you infertile?” The short answer to the question is NO. However, it is important to explore the different types of birth control, how they work, and their impact on fertility. It will go a long way in addressing the myth about birth control causing infertility.

Can birth control make you infertile?

What are the types of birth control?

There are several types of birth control methods available to females. Each of these options has their own way of working and their level of effectiveness. However, the most common and widely used method is the hormonal method. The types of hormonal birth control include:

  • Progestin-only pills that contain only progestin
  • Combination birth control pills that contain a synthetic mix of estrogen and progesterone hormones
  • Birth control patch which is a small skin patch that releases hormones through the skin and into the bloodstream
  • Birth control shots which is an injection of progestin that alters the endometrial receptivity. Thus, preventing ovulation and thickening the cervical mucus.
  • Implants (which is a small rod) that is inserted under the skin and releases progestin at intervals
  • An intra-uterine device which is a T-shaped device inserted into the uterus, also releases progestin. It is also referred to as the coil.
Can Birth Control Make You Infertile? IUD
Picture courtesy: Flickr

The progestin-only methods of contraception work in thinning the uterine lining and thickening the cervical mucus. Also, in some cases, stopping ovulation.

Can hormonal contraception cause infertility?

The answer is no. They do not cause infertility. The combined pill works by preventing ovulation from occurring. This means that there will be no eggs released which can then be fertilized. Progestin-only pills temporarily thin the uterine lining and thicken the cervical mucus. As soon as the female stops taking the hormonal contraception, their fertility returns to normal within a few months.

Can the intra-uterine device cause infertility?

An IUD does not have a long-term effect on fertility. Immediately after the device is removed, the contraceptive effects stop. This allows the body to return to its natural reproductive process.

Does any of the other contraception methods cause infertility?

Once a woman is off contraception, the difficulties that are faced in conceiving are most likely due to factors like age or other underlying conditions. These factors should be addressed as soon as they are discovered in order to get pregnant. The pill and the implant do not cause infertility.

What are the chances of getting pregnant if you stop using birth control? 

The chances of conceiving and carrying a child to term vary depending on the person, their underlying issues and the type of birth control that was used. Can Birth Control Make You Infertile? In most cases, fertility returns after a few months of stopping the birth control method, if hormonal. However, it is important to remember that fertility can vary from person to person, and it may take longer for some women to conceive. While birth control will not impact the fertility of an individual, other conditions and variables may affect the ease of conception of the woman. In these situations, an initial consultation with a fertility specialist in order to identify any issues which may be affecting fertility will be very beneficial.

Does the long-term use of birth control cause low egg reserves and infertility?

There has been no evidence to suggest that the long-term use of birth control pills causes infertility or has an impact on the egg reserves of a woman. Hormonal birth control pills do not have any long-term impact on fertility. When they are stopped, the body usually reverts to its normal menstrual cycle, and the fertility is restored to normal.

Conception after stopping birth control

In the case that a woman wants to conceive after she has discontinued the use of hormonal birth control, she should closely track her ovulation and menstrual cycle. This will help her to identify her most fertile days and increase her chances of conceiving. So, can birth control make you infertile? An expert assessment should be sought in the case of any doubts concerning fertility and conception anxiety. A specialist would be able to properly diagnose any issue affecting fertility and natural conception and offer potential solutions to them.

What is the wait time after stopping birth control before starting IVF treatments?

The length of time that is needed between stopping of the IVF treatment can vary depending on the individual circumstance. Using birth control while trying to conceive may seem counter-productive. However, it is important to note that some women use it to help with skin conditions and manage endometriosis among other things. The doctor will usually tailor the conception plan according to the individual situation. The guidelines generally are:

  • For the progestin-only pills, they can be stopped closer to the start of the IVF treatment. For instance, a few days before starting the stimulation medication. This is especially true if the medication is being taken due to endometriosis.
  • For birth control implants, their effects are usually longer lasting. So, it is necessary to have it removed several months before starting the IVF.
  • In the case of birth control injections, the effects can last for several months. Therefore, it is recommended that it be stopped well in advance of starting the IVF treatment.
  • Birth control patches are similar to birth control pills. So, it is generally recommended that it should be stopped for at least one full menstrual cycle before starting the IVF.
  • Combination birth control pills – It is recommended to stop taking the combination pills for at least a full menstrual cycle before starting the IVF treatments.

Signs of Infertility

Certain signs may indicate an underlying fertility issue. These are signs like

  • severe menstrual pain,
  • irregular periods,
  • hormonal imbalances, and
  • difficulty in getting pregnant after a year of having unprotected sexual intercourse.

If any of these signs are seen, it is important to see a fertility specialist for consultation. Also, seek further guidance on the treatment options that can help with fertility.

The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health. Read more

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