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Can Birth Control Cause Infertility?

Taking birth control for extended periods may leave you questioning if it impacts your fertility in the long run. The good news is that it doesn’t have any long-term effects and can be safely taken without worry about damage to your future fertility.

For daily hormonal birth control, it’s so important to take your pill each day around the same time, as the effectiveness is short-lived in the body. Once you stop taking these pills, your body often returns to its normal fertility immediately.

The only exception to this with birth control is the shot called Depo-Provera. This shot is administered much less frequently and can linger in the body anywhere from six months to 18 months before you can return to normal menstrual cycles.

Birth Control and Fertility Myths 

Birth control methods, such as the daily pill, help to regulate the menstrual cycles and can often hide menstrual cycle irregularities. Her cycles may be spot on each month while on birth control, and once she stops, the cycles might be extended or not come at all. In these cases, an underlying cause needs to be investigated further, and it’s important to contact your Ob/Gyn if you notice irregular menstrual cycles. 

So What Does Cause Infertility? 

If birth control isn’t the culprit for fertility issues, then what causes fertility issues for women, especially those who have been on birth control for years? 

For women who have been on birth control for years, age is usually one of the major culprits for fertility issues. Women’s prime fertility is in her 20s and early 30s, but there is a decline in fertility starting in the later 20s that can impact the chances of conceiving for some women.

Lifestyle habits can also negatively impact fertility. Consuming too much alcohol or smoking can impact egg quality and hormone production in the body. Quitting smoking is optimal for fertility health and something we always recommend to our patients. 

Beyond age and lifestyle habits, certain conditions, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis, can negatively impact the reproductive system. Both conditions are often treated using birth control pills.

What To Do if You Haven’t Gotten Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control?

Approximately 21% of women will get pregnant within 1 to 3 cycles after stopping birth control, and nearly 80% of women will get pregnant within one year of stopping birth control pills. 

If you notice irregular cycles or have been trying for a while after stopping birth control, it’s a good time to make an appointment with a reproductive specialist to do additional testing and discuss treatment options to help you optimize your chances of conceiving a healthy pregnancy. 

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