Can Birth Control Cause Infertility? The Whole Story

Can Birth Control Cause Infertility? The Whole Story

Just because you’re on birth control doesn’t mean you never want to have a baby.

Just, you know, not right now.

So if you’re taking birth control, will it affect your chances of getting pregnant?

Can birth control cause infertility?

We’ve got good news for you: no, hormonal birth control doesn’t cause infertility. 🎉

Of course, it does affect your ability to get pregnant while you’re taking it (that’s the whole point).

Once you do decide to have a baby, coming off birth control should bring you back to your baseline fertility—but sometimes there might be a slight delay.

The question about birth control and infertility is a fair one to ask—and has some historical roots.

Let’s take a look at where the misconceptions come from and what studies say today.

In this article: 📝

  • Does birth control affect fertility?
  • How common is infertility from birth control?
  • How long does it take to get pregnant after stopping birth control?

Does birth control affect fertility?

Back in the 1960s, when the pill first came into being, in-depth research was pretty slim, dosages were high, and the side effects could be pretty severe.

Myths about both the pill and the intrauterine device (IUD) causing infertility started to circulate, and in some ways, we’re still dealing with this legacy today.

But contraception has come a long way in the last 60 years (but that’s not to say we still have a long way to go).

Dosages are dramatically lower, and we understand hormonal birth control and its effects on the body so much better.

Today, studies like this one have given us fresh insight.

Researchers looked at 60,000 people who tried to get pregnant after using an oral contraceptive for a long time.

While 20% got pregnant during their first cycle, 80% were pregnant within a year, regardless of the birth control they were using.

This data, the study says, is similar to what we see among women who want to have a baby but haven’t been on contraception.

Similarly, this study, which explored 22 studies of almost 15,000 women, found that a high percentage of them (around 83%) conceived within a year of stopping birth control.

Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to fertility, and it’s possible that you might still find it hard to conceive—especially if your birth control has been masking other issues.

How common is infertility from birth control?

Birth control itself doesn’t cause infertility, even if you take it for a long time, but it is possible that it could hide other fertility problems that can affect your ability to conceive.

The pill, for example, induces an artificial period, also known as withdrawal bleeding.

And it might only be once you come off this form of birth control that you realize that your cycle isn’t quite as regular as you thought it was or that you’re not menstruating at all.

Conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome, being over or underweight, or having an over or underactive thyroid might be the cause.

Unfortunately, fertility can be really difficult to explain.

How long does it take to get pregnant after stopping birth control?

There’s no easy answer here.

All fertility journeys are different, and there are so many variables that come into play.

One factor is the type of birth control you’ve been on.

This 2020 study found that people who came off these forms of contraception usually got pregnant as follows:

  • Injectables: Five to eight menstrual cycles
  • The patch: Four menstrual cycles
  • The pill and vaginal rings: Three menstrual cycles
  • Hormonal/copper IUDs and the implant: Two menstrual cycles

Mostly, though, doctors recommend that you give it at least a year if you’re trying to conceive.

If you’re over 35, the timeline is about six months.

If you’re not pregnant by then, chat with your doctor about your options.

But ultimately, study after study has shown that infertility from birth control isn’t likely.

And if you do find it hard to conceive once you come off it, there might be other reasons.

Looking for support and a safe and friendly space to ask questions and be among those in a similar boat?

Join our Peanut fertility community. ❤️

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