A common concern among women considering birth control is whether it can lead to infertility. In this blog we explore the differences in available birth control methods and their impact on fertility. We also discuss the chances of getting pregnant after stopping birth control and address the question of whether long-term use of birth control pills can cause infertility. Lastly, we will provide some signs of infertility to watch out for and offer advice for those who want to conceive after discontinuing birth control.
Types of birth control
There are several types of female birth control methods available, each with its own mechanism of action and level of effectiveness. The most common birth control solutions include hormonal methods.
- Combination birth control pills: Containing synthetic versions of oestrogen and progestin hormones.
- Progestin only pills (the mini pill): Containing only progestin.
- Birth control injection: An injection of progestin that alters endometrial receptivity, may prevent ovulation, and thicken cervical mucus.
- Birth control patch: This small patch that releases hormones through the skin.
- Birth control implant: A small rod inserted under the skin which releases progestin.
- IUD: The IUD (intrauterine device) also referred to as a coil is a T shaped device inserted into the uterus which releases progestin.
Progestin only methods are used to thin the uterine lining, thicken the cervical mucus, as well as in some cases stops ovulation.
Can the pill make you infertile?
No, the pill does not make you infertile. The combined pill works by preventing ovulation, which means that no egg is released for fertilisation. Progestin only pills temporarily thin the uterine lining and thicken cervical mucous. Once you stop taking either pill, your fertility should return to normal within a few months.
Can an IUD make you infertile?
An IUD does not have a long-term impact on fertility. The contraceptive effects of an IUD stop as soon as it is removed, allowing the body to continue its natural reproductive process.
It is important to note that, once you are off contraception, difficulties in conceiving are most likely related to factors such as age or underlying conditions. It is important to address these concerns as soon as possible in order to take the correct steps towards a solution.
Similar to the pill, the implant does not cause infertility. The implant is a small rod inserted under the skin that releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. Once the implant is removed, fertility should return to normal within a few months.
How long before starting IVF treatment should you stop using birth control?
The length of time you should stop using each method of birth control before starting fertility treatment can vary depending on the method and your individual circumstances. While using birth control when trying to conceive may seem needless, many women use it to help with skin, and manage endometriosis amongst other things. The doctor will tailor your plan according to your individual case.
Generally, the guidelines are:
- Combination birth control pills: It is typically recommended to stop taking combination birth control pills at least one full menstrual cycle before starting IVF.
- Progestin only pills: These can be stopped closer to the start of IVF treatment, usually a few days before starting stimulation medications, especially if it is part of controlling symptoms for endometriosis.
- Birth control patch: Similar to combination birth control pills, it is generally advised to stop using the patch at least one full menstrual cycle before starting IVF.
- Birth control injection: The effects of the birth control shot can last for several months, so it is typically recommended to stop receiving the injections well in advance of starting IVF treatment.
- Birth control implant: The birth control implant can also have long-lasting effects, so it is usually advised to have it removed several months before starting IVF.
What are the chances of getting pregnant after stopping birth control?
The chances of getting pregnant after stopping birth control vary depending on the individual and the type of birth control used. In most cases, fertility returns within a few months after discontinuing hormonal birth control methods. However, it is important to remember that fertility can vary from person to person, and it may take longer for some women to conceive. Although birth control does not impact your ability to become pregnant, other conditions or variables can result in difficulty conceiving naturally. In this case it is important to have an initial consultation in order to identify any factors which may be impacting your fertility.
Can long-term use of birth control pills cause infertility & low egg reserve?
There is no evidence to suggest that long-term use of birth control pills causes infertility or affects a woman's egg reserve. The hormones in birth control pills do not have a long-term impact on fertility. Once you stop taking the pill, your body will resume its natural menstrual cycle, and your fertility should return to normal. If you are concerned about your egg reserve booking a blood test (AMH levels) which will specifically assess your reserve and provide clarity in this area.
What to do if you want to conceive after stopping birth control?
If you decide you want to conceive after stopping birth control, it is recommended to track your menstrual cycle and monitor ovulation. This will help to identify your most fertile days and increase your chances of getting pregnant. If you are experiencing any doubts on anxiety in regards to your fertility after stopping birth control its important to seek an expert assessment. By booking an initial scan and consultation, you can receive specialist insight into your fertility health any issues that may be affecting your ability to conceive naturally as well as potential solutions. We are here to provide guidance and support throughout your journey to conception. it is important to address any problem as soon as possible.
Signs of infertility to watch out for
While birth control does not cause infertility, there are certain signs that may indicate an underlying fertility issue. These signs include irregular periods, severe menstrual pain, hormonal imbalances, and difficulty getting pregnant after a year of trying. If you experience any of these signs, it is important to book an initial scan and consultation for further evaluation and guidance on treatment options which can assist you in your fertility journey.
The pill, implant, and other forms of birth control work by preventing pregnancy, but they do not have a long-term impact on fertility. Once you stop using birth control, your fertility should return to normal within a few months. If you have concerns about your fertility or are planning to conceive, it is always best to have an advanced ultrasound scan and initial consultation which can provide personalised analysis, leading to advice and support.