How Birth Control Could Affect Your Fertility

Friday, November 11, 2016 | 8:31 pm

By the time you’re ready to think about starting a family, you may already have spent 5, 10, even 20 years of your life trying to make sure you didn’t get pregnant. So when it’s time to turn all that effort around, it’s natural to wonder what effect all those years of birth control have had on your body, and how long it will take you to become fertile again. What’s the problem? There is an awful lot of misinformation out there!

1. Barrier Methods – If you relied on condoms or a diaphragm for birth control, your return to fertility is as simple as leaving them in your night-table drawer. As a bonus, condoms can actually help your fertility by protecting you against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, which can lead to infertility.

2. The Pill – The good news about the Pill and pregnancy is that oral contraceptives can actually give you a boost in preserving your fertility by lowering your chances of getting uterine and ovarian cancer. It can also suppress the symptoms of endometriosis, in which the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, causing fertility problems. Once you do decide to go off the Pill, finish up your monthly batch, and then prepare yourself to be pregnant.

3. Injections – Depo-Provera, a contraceptive injected into a woman’s arm or buttocks once every three months to prevent ovulation, is not intended for women who want to be pregnant any time soon. Depo-Provera, while a highly effective method of birth control, is also the one hormonal contraceptive that can have lingering effects on fertility. Even though Depo-Provera stops working reliably as birth control after three months, it persists in your body for many months longer because it’s deposited in the muscle. Once it’s in there, it takes time for it to work its way out.

4. The IUD – Intrauterine devices have been making a big comeback in the last few years after a long period in which they were on everyone’s blacklist. Back in the 1980s, there were a lot of reports charging that certain IUDs caused pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which could lead to infertility. Analysis of extensive data showed that the risk of PID is extremely low, with only a slightly increased risk during the first few weeks after insertion. When the IUD is removed, the return to fertility is fairly rapid, somewhere between the rate of the Pill and Depo-Provera.

5. Sterilization – While patients are cautioned that sterilization is meant to be permanent, people do get divorced and remarried, or simply change their minds, and for those women, it is often possible to become pregnant again. With either male or female sterilization, pregnancy can be achieved without a reversal through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Whichever birth control method you’ve relied on, the important thing to remember is that once you go off of it, you must be prepared for pregnancy.

For your fertility questions, visit HRC Fertility at 333 South Arroyo Parkway, 3rd Floor Pasadena, or schedule an appointment by calling (626) 440-9161 or visiting



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