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Does Birth Control Measures Have An Impact On Fertility?

Fertility, Infertility
Does Birth Control Measures Have An Impact On Fertility?

Most women in India start taking birth control pills at around the age of  16 to 30 years and if you are one among them, then you will know the numerous methods available in the market to prevent pregnancy. During that time, your only aim was to find a proper method that guarantees to stop pregnancy at any cost!

But after you have selected one of those methods and have been using it for some time, only then you come across an article on the internet that starts with ‘birth control pillaffect fertility’. By this time, you have already taken an adequate number of pills or used Intrauterine Device (IUD) and you’re now dead-upset and worried if these are really true.

If you dare to venture boldly to do your own internet research, you will be fazed by a number of articles, often contradictory, that you are left clueless, confused and back to the start. You will want to know if you should continue using birth control methods or if there are any remedies to the ‘said’ fertility problems but, alas, you get no clear result from your internet research. To put these doubts to rest, here we present you a comprehensive answer to the scary question – Does birth control pills cause infertility?


Does Birth Control Pills Cause Infertility?

Birth control pills have been for more than 50 years now and is considered as a safe option by many women and girls. However, considering the current lifestyle and conscious decision of delay in planning pregnancy, it is also not advisable to use these pills for prolong due to hormonal effect of pills.


Are Birth Control Pills Effective?

Accuracy of birth control pills is about 99%.


Is It Safe To Take Birth Control Pills For A Long Time?

Though it is safe to use but avoid using it regularly. Try other preventive methods.


What Are The Long Term Side Effects Or Disadvantages Of Using Birth Control Pills?

Anything that is used for prolonged comes with its own share of pros and cons. According to the American Cancer Society, taking regular birth control pills may increase your risk of breast cancer or cervical cancer over the time.


How Does Birth Control Pills Affect Periods?

After taking pills, your next menstrual cycle or periods might be either early, delayed, heavy flow, spotting or skipped temporarily. Please consult your gynae for more information.


Different Birth Control Methods

Many in India resort to using condoms as a birth control method to prevent pregnancy in which case, it is as easy as stop using them to get pregnant. It is similar for the other types of barrier methods too, like the diaphragms, sponges or cervical caps. Normally, the use of condoms doesn’t have any significant effect on one’s fertility, although it is advisable to consult a gynaecologist 6 months before you want to get pregnant.

Also, one added benefit of using condoms is that you will also lessen the chances of getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc.


1. The Oral Contraceptives 

Commonly known as the ‘birth control pills’, these oral contraceptives are one of the commonly used methods of birth control. These pills usually contain progesterone and estrogen which is used to control the pregnancy.

While you ask around about their own experiences of birth control pills, some swear that they have worked out charmingly for them while a lot of others complain that these pills have put them off the periods or have complicated their usual menstrual cycle. There are a few others who are worried that the usage of pills may cause any complications when they pregnant in the future or cause harm to the fetus.

In a European Active Surveillance Study on Oral Contraceptives (EURAS-OC) on more than 59,000 users of oral contraceptives found that over 21% of the past oral-contraceptive users became pregnant one cycle after oral-contraceptive cessation while 79.4% of women got pregnant after 13 cycles after stopping their oral contraceptive intake.

In a similar kind of study conducted in Germany, after stopping the consumption of the birth control pills, 7.9% of all first cycles were ovulatory with sufficient luteal phases but there were noticeable disturbances in the menstrual cycles for a considerable portion of them well till their ninth cycle with cycle lengths increasing to more than 35 days. Although it was observed that the effect of the oral contraceptives was reversible, it took them an average of ninth months to fully recover from the effect of these birth control pills.

From these two studies, it is safe to say that the effects of oral contraceptives aren’t permanent but one has to be conscious enough about when you are stopping it and when you want to get pregnant as there can be a time delay between when you stop using these birth control pills and when you get back your fertility.

Though there isn’t any permanent effect on fertility due to the use of the birth control pills, it isn’t advisable for smokers to go for birth control pills as it can have adverse cardiovascular effects leading to heart attacks. One in every 10,000 smokers who uses contraceptive pills dies from heart attack while others have the option of developing various complications.

An added advantage of using birth control pills is that it can lower the chances of getting ovarian or uterine cancer and also has the possibility of suppressing the endometriosis, thereby helping to protect your fertility.

If you have decided to get pregnant after using oral contraceptives, it is best to go off the birth control pills for one or two cycles to track how your cycles are, start using the barrier method of birth control in the meantime and check your fertility.


2. Intrauterine Device 

Intrauterine Devices or IUDs are generally used by women who don’t want to get pregnant for more than one year. If you are planning to get pregnant after a long-term use of the IUDs, you can get it removed by a suitable professional.

There are two types of IUDs:

  • Copper-containing IUDs which can last for at least 10 years. This prevents the pregnancy by stopping the sperm from reaching the fallopian tubes and is effective in preventing pregnancy.
  • Levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs works by thickening the cervical mucus and thinning the endometrium. There are four variants of these IUDs available which can last from 3 to 5 years depending on the brands you choose.


In a research conducted in the USA on the effects of IUDs, it was found that there was no difference in the pregnancy rates between women using IUDs and women using other forms of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.

While IUDs have been found to have no direct effect on fertility, there is the probability of getting tubular diseases which might be the base for infertility. In a study relating the use of IUDs and pelvic inflammatory disease, it is found that tubal infection does have a relation with the usage of IUDs though there may also be a few external factors involved.

It is recommended in the study that “with the possible exception of women with a single partner at low risk for sexually transmitted diseases, the IUD should not be a contraceptive method of 1st choice”. It further states that for the woman who has one child, the use of copper IUDs may be a safer option when compared to other alternate methods.


3. Contraceptive Implants

Implants are generally placed below the skin in the upper arm. This looks like a small rod and it releases progesterone into the body and is generally effective for around three years.

In a research conducted in India regarding the use of Implanon, a brand of contraceptive implant, it was found that after the discontinuation of the Implanon, 40% had return of ovulation within one month while in total, 95.8% conceived within 12 months and was the use of Implanon was concluded as an effective and safe method of contraceptive for birth control.


4. Vaginal Rings 

Vaginal rings, commonly called as Nuva Rings, which is inserted into the vagina for a period of three weeks. This will be followed by one week of ring-free period during the time of menstruation after which a new ring has to be inserted into the vagina again.

research found that the use of the contraceptive vaginal ring has less adverse metabolic effects than the use of birth control pills and another research mentioned that the fertility returns back to normal after one stops using the vaginal rings.


Test Your Fertility Now! 

While some of these contraceptive methods may have a short-term, temporary impact on one’s fertility, to know where you stand in terms of being fertile, you can take an easy at-home fertility test and get all your confusion cleared. It is always best to test sooner and know the status of your fertility in the early stages.

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