Contrary to popular belief, birth control pills have no negative impact on fertility. Approved by the FDA in 1960, the birth control pill – commonly referred to as “the pill” – has been the subject of many rumors. Not only does the pill not cause infertility but it also has many reproductive benefits.
How It Works
The pill works through the combination of hormones estrogen and progesterone. Together, they work to prevent ovulation (the release of eggs from the ovaries). These hormones also change 1) the lining of the uterus to prevent pregnancy from developing; and 2) the mucus at the cervix (opening of the uterus) to prevent sperm (male reproductive cells) from entering.
It is safe to become pregnant almost immediately after stopping the pill. It is a common misconception that one must “flush out” birth control hormones. You may have heard of this in the form of: “wait as long as you were on it.” The pill itself and how long you have been on it, whether it’s been 6 months or 6 years, do not affect your fertility. Taking birth control pills does also not cause miscarriage or birth defects – nor does it make you temporarily infertile. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that when it comes to your fertility, one of the most important factors is your age.
Becoming Pregnant After The Pill
If and when you are ready to become pregnant, simply stop taking the pill. Regardless of how long you were on the pill, you should resume a normal menstrual cycle within 1-2 months. If you have irregular cycles 2-3 months after stopping the pill, the issue is not the pill and you should contact your gynecologist for follow-up.
The pill has positive long-term effects: it lowers the risk of pelvic infections that scar the fallopian tubes – a common cause of infertility. Additionally, birth control pills decrease the risk of ovarian and colon cancers. Additionally, the pill is often used to prepare women for egg freezing and infertility treatments like IVF because it helps time the start of your cycle.
If you or your partner has questions about conceiving after birth control use, Opionato is here to help. We offer personalized, evidence-based advice to help you make informed decisions throughout your fertility journey. To learn more about our virtual fertility consultations, please email us at [email protected].
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