what are the chances of becoming infertile from birth control?

       What are the chances of becoming infertile from birth control ?

Can birth control cause infertility? No. There are no chances of becoming infertile from birth control as it has no effect in your future pregnancy but it does affects your menstrual cycle. If you are not trying to conceive taking contraceptives is well and good but some women have the fear that birth control pills can cause hindrance in future pregnancy but its not the case. "Birth control pills do not have a negative impact on fertility," stated by Eric Strand, M.D. at Washington University OB-GYN at the Women & Infants Center in St. Louis.

What is infertility? 

Infertility means that someone is unable to conceive or get pregnant even after 1 year of unprotected sex i.e without barrier or contraceptives. If the person is aged 35 or above, they are diagnosed after 6 months of sex. Around 15% of couples experience infertility. 

Not being able to be pregnant while using contraceptives is not considered as infertility. Although use of birth control can delay fertility but once it's intake is stopped, the chances of being pregnant is as normal as any woman not taking birth control.

Birth Control Fertility Myths

Menstrual cycle should return within about three months of stopping birth control but depending on the type of contraception used there may be some delay. This delay is often referred as fertility delay. Due to this delay it seems that birth control can affect your fertility. 

There could be short term delay of about 6 months or longer delays of about 31 months. In any case it is advised to consult a doctor. 

Where did this misconception originate from ? 

Dr. Nauf AlBendar, the founder of The Womb Effect, says birth control doesn't have any history so concerns are legitimate, initial studies of birth control were marked by a lack of consent and a lack of full disclosure. 

In 1969, the doctor's case against the pill played the role in creating misconception about contraceptives which shook public trust . With passing of time, use of contraceptives has increased and nowadays also people are well informed but delayed pregnancy in some of the cases has led to the misconception that birth control affects fertility. 

Are there any menstrual irregularities associated with hormonal birth control? 

While taking hormonal birth control, women may experience a number of menstrual effects depending on the method of contraception used and the individual person.

Some may get lighter periods while some get heavier. In many cases, the period becomes regular, but in some cases, it seems to be irregular or disappear entirely.

After stopping hormonal birth control, people may notice similar irregularities for a few weeks or months. This happens because the birth control releases some hormones which stops ovulation and it takes time for menstrual cycle to be normal. 

If by any chance, your periods are irregular even after stopping birth control that means you are not regularly ovulating which causes difficulty in pregnancy. 9n the other hand some people conceive very quickly after coming off birth control. It all depends on individuals. 

What type of delay, if any, does each method carry? 

There are various forms of hormonal contraception- the birth control pill, the vaginal ring, the contraceptive skin patch, hormone-releasing contraceptive, injections, and implants. Each of these, though used differently but has the same effect i.e preventing the mature eggs from being released by the ovaries and function. 

Some of the method have longer fertility delay: 

People using injectable contraceptives have the longest delay in the return of their normal fertility, likely about five to eight menstrual cycles, followed by patch contraceptive users i.e four cycles.

Then are the users of oral contraceptives and vaginal rings (three cycles). Then, those who use hormonal and copper IUDs and implants have the shortest fertility delay around two cycles only. 

Masked Health Condition

Birth control affects the hormones and creates a fake menstrual cycle which is actually withdrawal bleed. People often consider it as periods. Even if a person has health issues like anovulation ( ), the birth control cycle makes it look like normal menstrual cycle. If someone had irregular menstrual cycle before using birth control, they are likely to have it again after discontinuing birth control. After the discontinuation of birth control, people get to know about other reproductive issues causing a hindrance in pregnancy.

Some health conditions that result in anovulation or irregular ovulation are 

  • High stress levels

  • Hyperprolactinemia (excessive production of the hormone prolactin)

  • Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid)

  • Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)

  • Low body weight

  • Obesity

  • Premature ovarian failure

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

Endometrial Lining- It is one of the reasons why people believe long-term birth control use affects fertility. Endometrial lining is where an embryo is implanted during pregnancy. A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that women who used birth control pills for five or more years were more likely to have thinner endometrial linings making it difficult for an embryo to be implanted and hence results in a pregnancy delay. 

Are there signs of infertility to watch for? 

Even after one year of unprotected sex, if you are unable to get pregnant then there are a few symptoms of infertility to keep an eye on. Irregular menstrual cycle even after 3 months of stopping birth control can be a symptom. 

Hormone changes may cause:

  • skin issues

  • weight gain

  • lower sex drive


Whether you are on birth control or come off birth control, you are likely to have questions. All you need to know is that birth control doesn't affect your fertility. If you are trying to conceive but could not and previously had birth control, don't consider it to be a reason. Instead go for experts advice, consult a doctor, get yourself tested as there are a number of reproductive issues affecting or delaying pregnancy. 





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