If you and your partner were waiting for the right time to grow your family, you may have been on some form of hormonal contraception, or birth control. But now you have reached the point in your lives where you want to take that first step towards parenthood or add another child to your family.
Some women fear that taking pills will interfere with future attempts to get pregnant, but actually, that’s not the case.
Here’s everything you need to know about how birth control can affect your fertility, including whether if birth control pills can make you infertile.
Can Birth Control Make You Infertile?
No, there is no direct link between birth control and infertility. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists a number of conditions that can lead to infertility in women, like hypothyroidism and polycystic ovarian syndrome, birth control is not listed as a cause. In the vast majority of cases, your cycle will return to normal almost immediately after stopping the pill.
Birth control can prevent pregnancy while you’re taking it, and most forms of birth control don’t harm your fertility. However, if you had irregular periods before you started taking birth control, those irregular cycles may return once you stop birth control.
After you stop taking birth control, the hormones will leave your system, causing your body to revert back to your natural menstrual cycle. The hormones that are associated with oral contraceptives only stay in your body for a short time, which is why you need to take the pill regularly to avoid a contraceptive failure.
This means you should expect your cycle to return to normal soon after stopping birth control. For some women it can take a little time, typically not more than a few weeks, for the menstrual cycle to start functioning again after stopping the birth control pill.
However, this isn’t always the case. It’s important to remember that some women will ovulate and resume regular periods almost instantly after stopping the birth control pill.
How Long Does it Take to Get Pregnant After Birth Control Pills?
It is possible to get pregnant as soon as your cycle returns after you stop taking the pill.
Some women conceive immediately, which is why most OB-GYNs recommend waiting until you’re truly ready before stopping contraceptive use. In other cases, things can take a bit longer – and that’s often normal.
According to more than 20 studies, 83% of people who stopped contraception got pregnant within the first 12 months.
Along with other research, it’s also been found that the duration of contraceptive use had no significant effect on conception time. So, even if you’ve been a long-term birth control user, you likely don’t have anything extra to worry about.
Are There Signs of Infertility to Watch For?
The main sign of infertility once you stop taking birth control would be the inability to get pregnant after a year of trying. But there are other symptoms of infertility that you may notice before that point.
For one, if your menstrual cycle is still irregular or hasn’t returned after a few months of stopping birth control, you should contact your doctor or healthcare professional.
If you’re female, hormone changes may cause:
- Lower sex drive
- Skin issues
- Weight gain
If you’re a maleyou should look out for:
- Pain or swelling in the testicles
- Libido changes
- Difficulty with erection or ejaculation
Remember that you should always consult your OB-GYN or fertility specialist with any concerns about your fertility and any birth control that you take.