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Does the Birth Control Pill Affect Fertility?

Birth control pill and fertility
As ovulation issues can affect female fertility, it is a common misconception that short-term and long-term usage of the birth control pill can be to blame. Birth control and infertility can share both direct and indirect links but not for the reasons you may think.

How the Pill Works

The birth control pill is used to prevent the release of an egg, slow the progress of a released egg, thicken the mucus of the cervix, and thin the uterus’ lining. The pill releases a synthetic progesterone (progestin) and/or estrogen to control the natural hormone levels to impair ovulation or egg release. The thickening of the mucus hinders the entrance of the sperm while the thinning of the lining of the uterus can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.

Does the Birth Control Pill Affect Fertility?

A common concern for many women wanting to stop birth control to increase her chance of getting pregnant is “can the birth control pill cause infertility”?

No, the long-term effects of using the pill over the years does not have a direct link to infertility issues. While the pill has been known to be an effective form of contraception, the effects of years of usage may appear to hide underlying issues that affect fertility.

The pill has been blamed for infertility as some women do not experience regular periods in the months following discontinuation of the pill. These delayed cases can be caused by the body naturally adjusting to the imbalance of the hormone levels and the changing physiology of the cervix.

A study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Danish Medical Research Council found no evidence supporting that long-term use of the birth control pill has an adverse effect on fecundability. This refers to the probability of conception within the first months of a regular menstrual cycle.

Different Types of Birth Control Pills

The two common types of birth control pills are known as combination and the minipill. Each one is prescribed for its own unique components and association with a woman’s needs.

The combination type is available in various forms with all containing estrogen and progestin. Depending on the condition of the menstrual cycle, a woman may be given a conventional 21-day of active pills with seven “sugar” pills to be taken over a 28-day period. A continuous dosing form will contain 84 days of active pills with seven inactive pills to encourage bleeding only four times a year.

A minipill prescription provides only progestin and is available in only full active packs. The progestin dosage in minipill packs is lower than that found in a combination pack.

Considerations Before Discontinuing Birth Control Pills

Discontinuing birth control pills can bring upon physiological changes such as hormone imbalances that cause mood swings and cramping. There can be pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness and enlargement, nausea, acne, and bloating.

The emotional changes can see an increase in libido as well as bouts of depressions. The path to fertility can be an emotional rollercoaster without prior use of birth control pills. The basic hormonal changes can exacerbate these emotions.

Once a woman stops using the birth control pill, her menstrual cycle will begin with irregular bleeding within the first few months. It takes time for the body to readjust to the loss of the effects of the birth control pill.

Enhancing Fertility After Discontinuation of Birth Control Pills

Specialists from our leading fertility clinic in Kitchener Waterloo recommend increasing your fertility chances by taking prenatal vitamins, reducing stress, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption. Regular exercise and following a nutritional diet can also help.

Timeline for Fertility After Discontinuation

Each person’s fertility journey is unique, especially after a discontinuation of birth control pills. Many women experience irregular periods, cramps, weight fluctuations, and mood swings. A healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and nutrition consumption of prebiotics, probiotics, and polyphenols are recommended.

The Importance of Taking Control of Your Fertility

If you need female infertility counselling, contact the team of specialists at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo. As a leading fertility and IVF clinic in Canada, we offer expert fertility care, treatment, and counselling for both partners.

Our assessment and treatment plans are customized to the needs and comfort of individual patients. Call us today at (519) 650-0011 or email us at


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Kitchener, ON
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