Can Birth Control Put Me at a Higher Risk for Infertility?
There’s a high chance that you’ve used some form of birth control in your lifetime. In fact, 75% of sexually active women under the age of 30 have used or still use birth control. Whether it’s the pill, the IUD, the implant, or the shot, the potential dangerous effects that birth control has on your fertility potential has probably crossed your mind once or twice.
We’re here to clear the air for you— birth control has no long-term impact on your fertility. It may seem this way for certain contraceptives, but that’s just because certain birth controls are intended to be long term.
For example, oral contraceptives (AKA the Pill) is a day-to-day form of birth control. Missing a few days of the Pill is enough for some women to get pregnant. On the contrary, Depo-Provera (AKA the Shot) is injected into the arm every 3 months. This contraceptive is a more “long-term” solution. Even though fertility returns, it may take up to 10 months for the rate of pregnancy to match the public. Somewhere in the middle of the Pill and the Shot is the IUD. Doctors suggest that fertility returns shortly after removing the IUD.
Surprisingly, contraceptives can actually help you avoid diseases or lessen symptoms of pre-existing uterine issues. Say what!? That’s right— the Pill has been shown to help reduce the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers, and helps maintain the painful symptoms of endometriosis.
Yet women who have taken or who were on birth control may have to worry for another reason. This is because when using a contraceptive such as the Pill or the IUD, the likelihood of using a barrier method, such as a condom, decreases. Not using a condom is linked with a higher risk of STIs, which in turn can increase risk of infertility. Untreated chlamydia, for example, can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease— a top contributing factor to infertility.
The main takeaways? If you’re on birth control, don’t worry about the last impact on your fertility. BUT! Make sure you always use a barrier method, such as a condom.
If you think you’ve taken contraceptives in the past and worry about the lingering side effects, talk to your doctor. Every body is different and yours may have responded to birth control differently.