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Does Birth Control Affect Fertility? 3 Things You Need to Know

Birth Control and Fertility

Hormonal birth control is commonly used to help prevent pregnancy, but does it negatively affect your fertility once you’re ready to get off birth control? 

The answer is simply no. Approximately 21% of women can get pregnant within a cycle or two after stopping hormonal birth control, while nearly 80% can get pregnant within the first year of stopping birth control. 

While it’s a myth that birth control pills can impact your fertility in the long run, we dive a little deeper into why there has been speculation about it. 

Three Facts About Birth Control and Fertility

Your Age Impacts Fertility

Women who have been on birth control for extended periods may struggle to conceive once they stop birth control, and in many cases, this has to do with age. Women are at their peak fertility during their 20s and early 30s, but a slight decline in fertility begins during the late 20s. For some women, this decline is steeper and can lead to fertility issues once stopping birth control. 

Birth Control Can Mask Menstrual Cycle Irregularities

Most women on birth control experience regular menstrual cycles, but some may notice irregularities in their cycles once they stop birth control. Your cycles should return to normal pretty quickly after stopping birth control, but if they don’t, it’s important to reach out to your OB. Some underlying causes could be contributing to these irregular cycles. Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis often notice these irregularities once birth control is stopped, so it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about what underlying causes may be contributing to your cycle irregularities. 

Depo-Provera shots Can Last Longer In the Body

While birth control pills need to be taken each day as their effect on the body is short-lived, the birth control shot called Depo-Provera is administered every six months. This hormonal birth control lasts longer in the body, and you may notice more difficulty conceiving up to 18 months after stopping this medication. 

When To Be Concerned After Stopping Birth Control

There are two instances where you should reach out to your OB or reproductive specialist after stopping birth control pills to make sure there is nothing else going on with your reproductive system that could impact your fertility. 

The first instance is if you notice irregular menstrual cycles after stopping birth control. Irregular menstrual cycles often indicate an underlying issue that could negatively impact your fertility and should be investigated further. 

The second instance is if you have stopped hormonal birth control and have not gotten pregnant within six months to one year. Seeking help from your doctor can help you better understand your fertility and if anything, such as age, has negatively impacted your ability to conceive. 

Here at OC Fertility, we work with many patients struggling to conceive and can often help figure out what is going on in the body that is preventing successful pregnancy, and find a treatment plan that works best for each unique individual.

Author
Dr. Nidhee Sachdev Dr. Nidhee Sachdev Nidhee Sachdev, MD has trained among the most prestigious and diverse medical programs in the country, including fellowship training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the prestigious New York University (NYU) Langone Fertility Center in New York City where she conducted research on preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) and the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she earned the academic distinction of chief resident in obstetrics and gynecology, and trained under a top recurrent pregnancy loss expert. Dr. Sachdev is passionate about providing individualized, collaborative patient care. She started her medical career right here in Orange County, earning her Doctor of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.

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