Is There a Link Between Infertility and Birth Control

Many women who have had trouble getting pregnant in the past after using birth control often ask whether or not birth control has inhibited their fertility. In like manner, there are women who are thinking of using birth control that are wary of becoming infertile from using it, as they still plan on having children in the future.

How Many Women Use it and Why?

In the United States approximately 1 in 5 women regularly use birth control. Currently, taking birth control pills is the top birth control method in the United States. There are actually more than one reason why women take birth control pills, some not as obvious as one might think.

The first and most practical reason to take them is to prevent getting pregnant. For many women this is the easiest and surest way for them to avoid getting pregnant without getting anything surgical done. For some women it serves as a means to regulate their cycles in a way that is preferable to them and their lifestyles. Finally, some women are pressured by their partners to take birth control measures.

What is the Harm?

The question remains, is there a link between infertility and birth control? Since so many women use birth control for a variety of reasons, it pays to be fully informed as to the possible risks associated birth control. As with any drug or medical tool, the more one knows before taking or using it, the better.

Highly irregular cycles can inhibit women’s fertility. The natural menstrual cycles are part of how a female body regulates itself for procreation. These cycles can be said to prime the body for pregnancy. Therefore, what are the repercussions of a drug that strongly interferes with this cycle? When a cycle that is supposed to occur every month is suddenly regulated to every three months, or even once a year, it follows that this could affect the body adversely in the long run.

The types of birth control that seem to most risky for future infertility are the IUD and the hormonal birth methods such as the hormonal contraceptive ring and “the pill.”
In most cases the birth control pill is not likely to cause any infertility issues. In fact, many doctors will argue that a woman can get pregnant immediately after ceasing to take the pill. It used to be that the pill had a much higher amount of estrogen, but the newest forms are much milder.

In the case of the hormonal contraceptive ring, it may take longer before the woman becomes fertile again as her body must purge the chemicals.
In the case of the IUD the negative effects can be a little more indirect. Since the IUD is directly attached to the uterus, there are certain risks that can make it so that the uterus becomes damaged. For example, bacteria can get into the IUD and infect the uterus; if it has been attached incorrectly it can tear the uterus and also cause problems with fertility.

Ultimately Slim Chances of Infertility

Despite the risks of taking birth control, whether it is the pill, an IUD, or the hormonal contraceptive ring, the chances of infertility after using them, or because of using them, is still quite slim. It is important to understand that taking any kind of birth control will come with risks, and it pays to be fully informed about what those risks are before putting them into ones body.

Wendy Bailey is a writer at birthcontrolsideeffects.org.

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