What is the relationship between use of contraceptives and fertility?


What is the relationship between use of contraceptives and fertility? 

Use of contraceptives and fertility  among women are inversely related. Countries with a high proportion of women using contraceptives have lower fertility. Compared to 2020, there were higher rates of fertility back in 1990. Today high fertility levels are found mostly in Sub- Saharan Africa. Over time higher fertility and low contraceptive use is changed with lower fertility and more use of contraceptives. Some countries have low fertility even with low use of contraceptives while some have high fertility that too with high contraceptive use. This is because contraceptive use is actually not the reason for infertility. 

Does use of contraceptives delay fertility?

According to a new study, there may be a delay in the return of fertility after stopping the use of contraceptives. Cisgender women using oral contraceptives, the contraceptive ring, and some long-acting reversible contraceptive methods have experienced short-term delays in a return to fertility compared to users of barrier methods. 

Women using injectable contraceptives have the longest delay in return of normal fertility (five to eight cycles), followed by users of patch contraceptives (four cycles), then the users of oral contraceptives and vaginal rings (three cycles), and finally users of hormonal and copper intrauterine devices and implant contraceptives (two cycles). 

Any delay in the return of fertility after a person stops taking oral contraceptives are temporary. The delay is because after stopping the use of contraceptives, the ovulation and a person's menstrual cycle has to become normal which can take upto three months after stopping the use of birth control pills. 

According to a 2011 literature review of available evidence, the typical one-year pregnancy rates for the various contraceptives are

  • After putting an end to oral contraceptives, one-year pregnancy rates ranged between 79% and 96%. 

  • For copper IUDs (71% - 91%), contraceptive implants (77%-86%).

  • For injectable contraceptives, only two studies were reported at the time, which found that one-year pregnancy rates were 73% and 83% respectively. 

What are the impacts of contraception use?

Only about 4 in 10 women wish to avoid pregnancy, and use of contraceptives, particularly modern ones is low. Pregnancy rates among women seeking to avoid pregnancy who use various methods of contraception vary; the pregnancy rate for women who use no method at all is 40 percent. Modern methods have a much larger effect in preventing unintended pregnancies as compared to traditional ones.

Some birth control might cause temporary delays in the return of fertility after a person puts an end in taking it. It causes irregular menstrual cycle along with other side effects such as bloating, nausea, headache, vomiting, irregular bleeding, abdomen pain, lower libido, etc.

What are the contraceptive preferences and practices?

Improved family planning is needed and to achieve successful family planning it is required that we have: 

  • programs that meet the needs of all the women, not only those who are currently married;

  • support for the market that makes products available; 

  • recognition that hormone-based methods, particularly injectables, are vital.

Women tend to seek ways to use contraception that are careful. Moreover people use contraception just to be protected against STDs. Policy changes can have a profound impact on contraceptive access and use. Use of every modern contraceptive has increased for all groups of women. Women who continue sexual activity and fertility sooner may have an increased demand for contraception.

Data on men's reports of whether they or their wives approved of family planning show that husband's approval has increased somewhat but that spouses tend not to communicate extensively about the issue.

What is the connection between fertility decision and contraceptive use ?

Few studies have looked on what drives fertility decisions and contraceptive use among contemporary urban residents within a relationship context. Contraception use is favourable but the timing and choice of method majorly depends on the type and stage of relationship. First sex with a new partner is usually unprotected. Many women then subsequently show negotiating condom use; men also show motivation to practice contraception. As relationships pass couples abandon condoms and adopt traditional methods, out of fear that modern methods could affect fertility. After the first birth, couples prefer modern contraceptives to have a gap between children, but side effects often lead women to switch methods or discontinue use. 

What are some family planning methods to be used? 

Modern contraceptives are generally those whose use requires medical assistance and include sterilization, the intrauterine device, birth control pills or injections, and implants. Traditional methods of birth control include periodic abstinence, withdrawal, and folk methods.The more modern versions of periodic abstinence identify fertile periods more accurately than some older methods do. 

High fertility rates are generally the result of mistimed or unwanted pregnancies, which suggests that the urban poor have a high unmet need for effective family planning services. Sexual and reproductive health outcomes are not good among poor residents. Family planning services are increasing and reaching to slum dwellers, but that barriers remain. Sustained efforts are needed to build on the improvement.  


Contraceptive use can delay pregnancy as it prevents ovulation for a certain period but it does not affect your fertility. It can affect your menstrual cycle and causes irregular periods. But after stopping contraceptive use, women can conceive the same as women not using contraceptives. 

There is a need for community education about the advantages of contraception, and for programs that provide a wide variety of methods as well as adequate counseling. Sufficient and sustained funding and political commitment are both necessary to meet the objectives.





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