Can Birth Control Usage in My Youth Affect My Fertility Now?

It is perfectly normal to wonder how long it will take your body to shed any of the lingering effects of birth control. Due to the hormones present in many forms of birth control, women often wonder if the use of birth control in early adulthood has any implications for the desire to build a family later in life. Keep in mind that many factors play into fertility, but the use of birth control is rarely one.

Hormones and Birth Control

Conception requires a somewhat delicate balance of hormone levels. Hormone fluctuation can impact a woman’s ability to get, and stay, pregnant. Hormones act as the managers of the process. An LH surge tells the egg it is time to mature, followed by another surge that encourages the mature egg to begin its journey down the fallopian tubes. Hormonal contraceptives are designed to prevent the reproductive hormones from creating a fertile environment, so it stands to question if birth control use at any point in life can have an impact on a woman’s fertility now. 

At this point, there is no concrete evidence that long-term birth control usage impacts fertility. Extreme stress and being over or underweight tend to have more of an impact on when your menstrual cycle will return to a new normal.

How Long Will it Take My Body to Re-regulate?

Birth control is not all created equal. While all are designed to prevent pregnancy different methods approach their objective from different angles.

  • Barrier contraceptives such as condoms and diaphragms immediately stop working when you stop using them. Your menstrual cycle is not impacted by these types of contraceptives as they contain no hormones. As long as there is not an underlying hormonal or health issue, pregnancy should be possible right away.
  • Birth control pills prevent pregnancy by affecting your hormone levels. When you stop taking the pill, doctors say it should only take a couple of weeks for ovulation and your period to resume. While some doctors recommend allowing one or two periods before trying to conceive, that is primarily so you can track when you ovulate to maximize the potential for pregnancy. Recent studies show that 80 percent of women who want to get pregnant will do so within a year after they are off the pill. Unfortunately, some women experience post-pill amenorrhea, which is technically defined as three or more consecutive months without a period. This is usually caused by underlying physical or emotional issues and can result in a longer delay before your body is ready for pregnancy.
  • Depo-Provera is fantastic at preventing pregnancy. However, it does happen to be the one hormonal contraceptive that stays in your system long enough to impact fertility. Because the shot is deposited in the muscle, it takes the body longer to work it out. On average, it takes about 10 months to return to fertility. It takes about a year and a half for the pregnancy rate to match that of the general population’s once again.
  • IUDs work by not allowing an embryo to implant, or remain, in the lining of the uterus. Data gathered by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals indicates that once the IUD is removed, your chances of becoming pregnant are on par with the rest of the population.

Remember, birth control is rarely the leading cause of infertility in Viera, Florida. If you and your partner have been struggling to conceive for one year after ceasing forms of hormonal birth control, please give us a call. We would love to discover your fertility issues and help you become parents.