Does Taking Birth Control Pills Cause Infertility?

Can Long-Term Use of Birth Control Pills Make it Difficult to Conceive?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Birth control pills are one of the most preferred options in contraceptives to prevent any unwanted surprises. These pills are not only used by women for prevention of pregnancy sometimes but also for curing PCOS, endometriosis, acne, irregular menstrual cycle, PMS and other such issues. However, many of you, who may have been taking birth control pills for a while now, may wonder if these pills could make conception difficult for you or take a toll on your fertility, in case you plan to get pregnant or even otherwise. We understand your concern, and that’s why we’ve covered all the information you need on birth control pills and its effects on fertility.

Can Birth Control Pills Cause Infertility?

No, taking any kind of birth control pills does not affect the fertility of a woman. There is no scientific evidence available to show the direct relationship between prolonged use of birth control pills and infertility in women. But it has been observed that women who have been using birth control pills for a long time experienced a disruption in their menstrual cycle for a few months after they stop taking the pills. However, this condition of the disrupted menstrual cycle or post-pill amenorrhea usually happens due to some other underlying medical conditions and not because of taking birth control pills. On the contrary, taking birth control pills have been found to have positive effects on fertility because prolonged usage of pills protects women from the dangers of uterine and ovarian cancer. It has also been proved that taking pills help women to fight abnormal menstrual bleeding caused due to endometriosis. Taking birth control pills also reduces the chances of ectopic pregnancies in women. Therefore, if you wish to know will the pill affect fertility later in life. Then the answer is a simple ‘no’. Taking fertility pills may not be affected by taking the pill, but it may get affected because of some other underlying issues. There could be a short-term delay in the return of fertility, but it won’t affect fertility in the long run.

How Can Birth Control Pills Negatively Impact Your Long-term Fertility?

Any kind of hormonal contraceptives that a woman takes may have its impact on her body. Although it may not impact the fertility, it may fiddle with the long-term fertility of a woman. Here are some ways in which taking birth control pills may negatively impact the health of a woman.

1. It May Cause Hormonal Imbalance

Women may sometimes be prescribed birth control pills to overcome the problem of hormonal imbalance. However, prolonged use of the pills may hamper the natural production of progesterone and estrogens in the body. The synthetic production of hormones in the body can also fiddle with the natural hormone production and thus this may sometimes lead to fertility issues.

2. It May Disrupt the Menstrual Cycle

It has been observed that women who take these pills experience longer menstrual cycles and may have a shorter luteal phase, after stopping them. However, usually, these disruptions in the cycles may better approximately after nine months of stopping the pills.

3. It May Make Changes in the Cervical Mucus

Healthy cervical mucus helps the sperms to travel through the vagina and cervix to reach to the egg to fertilize it. However, taking birth control pills for longer periods may thicken the cervical mucus. The thicker cervical mucus may hamper the easy mobility of the sperms and thus may cause hindrances in the process of fertilization and cause problems in conception.

It May Make Changes in the Cervical Mucus

4. It May Cause Disruption in Ovulation

The birth control pills help release synthetic hormones in the body, which hamper the process of ovulation. However, this is not how the normal female body functions. Rather during the normal menstrual cycle, the body releases the hormones that prepare the follicle for ovulation, which may eventually lead to a pregnancy. However, when a woman takes the pill, it disrupts the natural flow of events, and the prolonged usage of the pills may make the ovaries not do its job properly. This kind of situations may give rise to fertility issues in women.

5. It May Make Changes in the Uterine Lining

It is important for a woman to have a healthy uterine lining in order to let the fertilized egg to plant itself on it. However, women who take birth control pills for longer periods of time may experiences changes in their uterine lining, which means their uterine lining becomes unreceptive for embryo implantation. This happens because the release of synthetic hormones in the body affects the natural hormonal production that is required to maintain a healthy uterine lining that supports implantation.

As per a study conducted on women who used birth control pills, it had been observed that approximately 20 per cent of women became pregnant within one month after they stopped taking the pill. And approximately 80 per cent of women conceived within one year after they stopped taking the birth control pill. However, there are some studies available that take into consideration the long-term risks for women who took birth control pills for an extended period of time.

If you have stopped taking your pills, your periods must have become normal. But if you are not able to conceive, you must be thinking that it is because of taking birth control pills. Well, that may not be the case because infertility may not result from taking birth control pills. There are many reasons that may cause infertility in both men and women.

If you have been facing problems in conceiving after you stopped taking birth control pills, it is recommended that you take your doctor’s advice on the matter and know what may be causing the problem and how it can be treated.

Also Read:

What Happen When You Suddenly Stop Birth Control Pills
Can You Get Pregnant While on Birth Control Pills
Is It Normal to Have Brown Discharge while on Birth Control Pills?

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Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.