Birth control pills

How do birth control pills affect fertility?

Globally, around 17.5% or 1 in 6 adults experience infertility, highlighting the need for accessible and dependable fertility services to assist those in need. Numerous women have concerns about the potential impact of long-term birth control use on their ability to conceive. Fortunately, extended usage of birth control pills is unlikely to have any negative consequences on fertility.

How does the birth control pill prevent pregnancy?

The birth control pill prevents pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, the monthly release of an egg from the ovaries. Furthermore, it thickens cervical mucus, hindering sperm from entering the uterus and reaching an egg.

Birth Control and Infertility

If you’ve been on birth control for over a decade, you may worry that using “the pill” for such an extended period could decrease your chances of conceiving later on. There might be a lot of misconceptions regarding birth control and fertility.

Contrary to popular belief, the use of hormonal contraceptives, regardless of the method or duration, does not cause infertility.

These contraceptives aim to temporarily suppress fertility and prevent conception. However, once you discontinue their usage, your fertility levels will gradually return to their regular state.

The progestin and estrogen in the tablets thicken cervical mucus, hindering sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs, while also assisting in preventing ovulation. The pill does not impact future fertility.


The most popular kind of contraception is birth control pills (BCP) or oral contraceptives. Depending on the type of birth control pills (BCPs) used, they can impact ovulation, modify the uterine lining or cervix, or prevent sperm from fertilizing eggs, all of which help prevent pregnancy.

Your period should resume shortly after discontinuing birth control rings and patches since they function in a similar manner to the pill.

  • Additional advantages of BCPs that might support fertility preservation include:
  • Reduce the possibility of ovarian cysts
  • Help with easing endometriosis pain or stop endometriosis from forming or worsening
  • The use of birth control could decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.

How long does birth control last inside the body? 

After stopping birth control or contraceptive pills, it typically takes about one to two weeks for the hormones to leave your body. This applies to most types of hormonal birth control, except for the shot, which has a longer-lasting effect. Consequently, it is possible to conceive a few weeks after discontinuing these birth control methods.

Birth Control Doesn’t Lead to Fertility Issues

Many illnesses, including hypothyroidism and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), can cause infertility in women. The use of birth control does not cause irregularities. Most of the time, after discontinuing the pills, your cycle will nearly instantly return to normal.

Birth control pills regulate periods by interfering with the normal cycle rather than permanently altering it. When taking birth control pills, exposure to estrogen and progesterone for three weeks induces regular monthly periods, followed by hormone withdrawal for the last week.

Any menstrual irregularities that arise after stopping the pill are likely connected to pre-existing issues that were concealed while taking the pill.

Why do women develop the belief that consuming pills could lead to infertility?

One of the reasons is that birth control pills release hormones that prevent ovulation, potentially causing a delay in the return of the normal menstrual cycle. Depending on the frequency of use, these pills can partially or entirely suppress the menstrual cycle. Consequently, when women stop taking the pills, it takes time for their menstrual cycle to return to its normal pattern. Unfortunately, due to this misunderstanding, women often mistakenly believe that using the pill could lead to infertility.

The likelihood of pregnancy following the use of birth control pills

It’s possible to become pregnant after discontinuing the pill as soon as your period starts up again. Most OB-GYNs advise delaying quitting contraceptive use until you are absolutely ready because some women conceive right away.

Sometimes, it is expected that things may take a little longer.

After stopping contraceptive pills, hormonal supplements generally leave the body within a few days to a couple of weeks. Once these hormones have cleared, the menstrual cycle resumes its regular functioning, and fertility returns to its normal state. Sometimes, ovulation can occur even before all the hormones have completely left the woman’s system.

If a woman has trouble getting pregnant after discontinuing birth control pills, it’s important to note that the pills may not be the cause. Consulting a medical practitioner is essential to identify the exact reason behind the inability to conceive.

Does Getting Pregnant During Periods Happen?

Keep in mind that, under normal conditions, it might take a patient many months to become pregnant. Within three months of unprotected sexual activity, about 40-50% of healthy couples with no known fertility issues will conceive. If you have any worries about your fertility, always talk to your OB-GYN or a fertility expert.

What should a woman do if she wishes to stop birth control to conceive?

When aiming to get pregnant, a woman may decide to cease taking birth control pills. However, it is advisable to complete the current cycle of contraceptive tablets before discontinuing their use. By doing so, the menstrual cycle will resume its normal functioning. If you have discontinued the use of birth control and have been unable to conceive after a year (or six months if you are over 35), it is advisable to consult a fertility doctor. We suggest scheduling an appointment with one of our experienced Fertility specialists at 9M Fertility.


9M Fertility

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