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Can Birth Control Measures Make You Infertile?

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

So you’ve been using birth control for some time, and now you and your partner want to start a family. A natural concern you may have is if your time on the pill may have affected your fertility once you are ready for a baby. Rest easy! There is no evidence that taking the pill, no matter how long, can impact your fertility.



Here is some more information about the birth control pill, your fertility, and what you need to know when you’re ready to get pregnant.

How do birth control pills actually work?

Birth control pills contain synthetic hormones that are similar to those produced in the female body, namely oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones work in tandem to halt ovulation by instructing the brain to decrease production and release of the hormones that are responsible for the maturation and ovulation of eggs during a typical menstrual cycle.

Birth control pills also cause the uterine lining to become inhospitable for embryo implantation.

Can birth control cause infertility?

Contrary to popular belief, the pill has no negative impact on fertility. All reversible birth control methods prevent pregnancy while they are being used, but none have long-lasting impact on your ability to conceive when you stop.

The belief that birth control pills could cause infertility is due to some women experiencing a delay in resuming ovulation and menstruation following prolonged birth control use. For some, it may take months after stopping birth control for ovulation and menstruation cycle to return to normal.

How soon should my period restart after stopping birth control?

Your period should start within one to two months after stopping your birth control pills. This holds true irrespective of the duration of time that you’ve been on the pill. If your period doesn’t come back within two months, consult your doctor.

Birth control pills can mask menstrual cycle irregularities

One of the benefits of taking the pill is that you usually know exactly when you will start to menstruate. However, the pill may mask irregularities in your menstrual cycle that could make conception more difficult. These may include a shorter than normal, longer than normal, or absent cycle altogether. Birth control pills may also mask prolonged menstrual bleeding, which is bleeding that continues for more than 5 to 7 days.

Birth control could mask other symptoms

The birth control pill can mask other reproductive problems that can affect your fertility. When you’re on the pill for many years, the additional hormones can mask ovulatory problems while artificially allowing you to have a regular menstrual cycle.

A woman who has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) may have irregular cycles, acne, or excessive hair growth. The birth control pill contains artificial hormones that cause regular bleeding and even reduce the symptoms of PCOS. So, a woman who was unaware that she had PCOS may have problems getting pregnant when she stops the pill because of her undiagnosed PCOS, not because of the pill.

Similarly, conditions such as increased body fat content, endometriosis, hypothalamic amenorrhea and other ovulatory disorders may not show any symptoms when a woman is taking birth control. This can lead to a delay in being diagnosed until after they stop taking it and are ready to conceive.

How soon can I conceive after I stop taking the birth control pill?

Medically speaking, you can get pregnant right away. It may take you a month or so for your cycle to regularize.

Some studies have found that there can be a short period of time, of 6 to 9 months, where a woman can have disruptions to her menstrual cycle.

If a woman under the age of 35 has been unable to get pregnant after 1 year after discontinuing use of birth control, or if a woman 35 years or older has been trying to conceive for 6 months without success, she should consult a fertility specialist.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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