Uncovering the Myths: Can Birth Control Cause Infertility 

Rahul Gupta
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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can birth control cause infertility

Birth control methods have been a popular and effective way of family planning for millions of women worldwide. 

According to the WHO, from 2000 to 2020, the percentage of women aged 15-49 using any contraceptive method increased from 47.7% to 49.0%.

However, there is a persistent belief that long-term use of birth control pills can lead to infertility. 

This belief is largely based on misconceptions and misunderstandings about the working of birth control pills and the female reproductive system. 

Read this article on how can birth control cause infertility to debunk all the myths. 

Understanding birth control and fertility

The belief that birth control can lead to infertility is a common concern among individuals.

Reputable sources like Piedmont Healthcare, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, and the Cleveland Clinic have debunked this myth.

They emphasize that hormonal contraceptives, regardless of the method or duration of use, do not cause infertility.

Instead, these contraceptives are designed to delay fertility and prevent pregnancy temporarily. 

Upon discontinuation of birth control, normal fertility levels typically return within a few months at the longest.

Fact:
The Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a widely adopted reversible contraception method, with 14.5% of women in developing countries and 7.6% in developed nations choosing it.

Examining research on birth control and fertility

Woman holding birth control pillsSource: towfiqu_ahamed_barbhuiya
Woman holding birth control pills

Recent research has shown that using birth control, especially hormonal methods like oral contraception, doesn’t seem to harm fertility.

A study even found that prolonged use of oral contraception might lower the risk of delayed conception when planning a pregnancy.

This challenges the common idea that birth control causes infertility. 

The research also points out that social pressures contribute to this belief, underscoring the need to address it to ensure better access to contraception.

Warning:
Combination birth control pills pose a risk of serious conditions, including blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke, especially for smokers.

Impact of birth control methods on future fertility

The impact of various birth control methods on future fertility is an important consideration for individuals planning their reproductive health. 

  • Hormonal contraceptives: The pill (combined contraceptive pill) does not affect future fertility. Fertility returns quickly after stopping the pill, with many women resuming their natural levels of hormone secretion within just a few months
  • Non-hormonal contraceptives: Non-hormonal contraceptives, like condoms and diaphragms, do not affect future fertility. They provide protection against STIs and unintended pregnancy but do not impact fertility levels
  • Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC): LARC methods, such as IUDs and implants, can be more challenging to reverse than hormonal methods. Fertility returns more quickly after stopping LARC methods
  • Sterilization: Sterilization is generally considered a permanent form of contraception and is only recommended for individuals who are absolutely sure they do not want to have children

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Conclusion

Reputable sources, like Piedmont Healthcare, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, and the Cleveland Clinic, reject the belief that birth control causes infertility.

Hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill, do not hinder future fertility, and normal levels typically resume shortly after discontinuation. 

Non-hormonal methods, like condoms, have no impact on fertility, emphasizing their effectiveness in preventing unintended pregnancies without affecting future family planning. 

Correcting prevalent misunderstandings is crucial, given that studies show societal pressures contribute to misconceptions about contraception causing infertility.

Understanding that infertility affects 8-12% of the population emphasizes the need for accurate information in making informed reproductive health decisions.

Dispelling myths is essential to reduce the unmet need for modern contraceptives and promote understanding among individuals planning their reproductive health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can birth control cause infertility in the future?

No, birth control does not cause infertility. Reputable sources, including Piedmont Healthcare and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, confirm that hormonal contraceptives, regardless of duration, do not hinder future fertility. Discontinuing birth control typically allows normal fertility to resume within a few months.

Can a pill make you infertile?

No, the pill does not cause infertility. Numerous studies confirm its safety. Additionally, it doesn’t diminish your chances of getting pregnant after discontinuation. The pill is a reversible contraceptive method with no long-term impact on fertility. 

What are the side effects of birth control pills?

Common side effects include nausea, headaches, and mood changes. These usually subside after a few months. Serious side effects are rare but may include blood clots and high blood pressure. Consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice. 

What are the harmful effects of the pill? 

Using the pill may elevate blood pressure and doesn’t guard against STIs. Initial months may have breakthrough bleeding. There’s a potential link to serious conditions like blood clots and Breast Cancer. 

Citations:
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