There is a common belief that the pill and other forms of hormonal contraceptives can damage your fertility. But what does science tell us – can birth control make you infertile? To date, there is no research that demonstrates that the pill or any form of hormonal contraceptives has a long-term negative impact on fertility. In fact, the pregnancy rates of women that who have used hormonal contraceptives is similar to women who have never used hormonal contraceptives.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BIRTH CONTROL
Birth control actually have many health benefits. Research has found that being on hormonal contraceptives for five years or more can actually help reduce a [person’s] risk of ovarian cancer by nearly 50 percent. A 2018 study in JAMA Oncology found that the pill dramatically reduced the likelihood of developing endometrial and ovarian cancers and served as a preventative treatment.
For women that have endometriosis or extremely painful periods (dysmenorrhea), oral contraceptives are usually considered a first line of therapy. In patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), these agents can control irregular periods and decrease levels of testosterone that can cause excess hair growth and acne.
Hormone-containing IUDs can also decrease excessive uterine bleeding and have also been shown to decrease painful symptoms associated with endometriosis.
WHAT IF I CAN’T GET PREGNANT?
If you have stopped taking birth control and your menstrual cycle has returned, but you’re not getting pregnant, you should consider seeing a fertility specialist.
There are many reasons why you may struggle to conceive. Infertility impacts 1 in 8 U.S. couples, and both men and women can experience fertility problems equally. It’s important that both the male and female partners undergo a fertility evaluation to help determine the cause of infertility.
We recommend that if you’re under 35 and you’ve been trying to conceive for a year without success, or you are over 35 and have been trying for six months, it’s time to see a fertility specialist. If you suspect that you may have an underlying issue – irregular cycles, prior pelvic infections, fibroids or endometriosis, prior history of radiation or chemotherapy for male or female partners, you consider just coming in sooner for an evaluation rather than waiting.