By Kirsten Karchmer

The Truth About Birth Control and Fertility.

When it comes to birth control and its impact on fertility, there are many factors to consider.

This guide aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the relationship between various contraceptive methods and fertility, backed by clinical data and research findings.

Hormonal Contraceptives and Fertility

Hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills, patches, rings, and injections, work by preventing ovulation and altering the cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it difficult for sperm to reach and fertilize an egg. While these methods are highly effective in preventing pregnancy, their impact on fertility is often a concern for many individuals.

Combined Oral Contraceptives (COCs)
- According to a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the median time to pregnancy after discontinuing COCs is approximately 3 months.
- Research suggests that long-term use of COCs does not have a significant impact on future fertility.
- However, some studies have found a slightly increased risk of delayed fertility for women who used COCs for an extended period (over 4-5 years) before attempting to conceive.

Progestin-Only Pills (POPs)
- A systematic review published in the journal Contraception found that the median time to pregnancy after discontinuing POPs was 2.8 months.
- The return to fertility after stopping POPs is generally rapid, with no significant long-term effects on fertility.

Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA) Injections
- DMPA injections can cause a delay in the return of fertility, with a median delay of 6-10 months after the last injection.
- A study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that approximately 95% of women who discontinued DMPA became pregnant within 18 months.
- The longer a woman uses DMPA, the longer it may take for her fertility to return to normal levels after discontinuation.

Non-Hormonal Contraceptives and Fertility

Non-hormonal contraceptive methods, such as copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) and barrier methods, do not contain hormones and generally have minimal impact on fertility.

Copper IUDs
- A systematic review published in the journal Contraception found that the median time to pregnancy after removing a copper IUD was 3.3 months.
- Copper IUDs do not affect ovulation or hormone levels, and fertility returns to normal levels immediately after removal.

Barrier Methods (Condoms, Diaphragms, Cervical Caps)
- Barrier methods do not affect fertility, as they do not interfere with ovulation or hormone levels.
- Fertility returns to normal levels immediately after discontinuing the use of barrier methods.

Factors Affecting Fertility After Discontinuing Birth Control

While the type of contraceptive method used plays a significant role in the return of fertility, other factors can also influence the time it takes to conceive after stopping birth control:

- As women age, their fertility naturally declines, and it may take longer to conceive after discontinuing birth control.
- A study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that women aged 35 and older had a longer time to pregnancy compared to younger women after stopping contraceptive use.

Duration of Contraceptive Use
- Longer durations of contraceptive use, particularly with hormonal methods like DMPA injections, may result in a longer delay in the return of fertility.

Pre-existing Fertility Issues
- Women with pre-existing fertility issues, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, may experience a longer delay in the return of fertility after discontinuing birth control.

Lifestyle Factors
- Factors such as obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption can negatively impact fertility and may prolong the time it takes to conceive after stopping birth control.

What You Need to Know That No One Else is Talking About

The Psychological Impact of Birth Control on Fertility Perceptions
- A study highlighted that concerns about contraception affecting future fertility are common among young people and can influence contraceptive choices. Addressing these concerns through education and counseling is crucial to ensure informed decision-making.

The Role of Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAB)
- Research has shown that fertility awareness-based methods can increase short-term pregnancy rates relative to hormonal contraception. These methods involve tracking ovulation and fertile days, which can be particularly beneficial for couples planning a pregnancy.

The Impact of Birth Control on Menstrual Cycle Regularity
- Birth control can mask underlying menstrual irregularities, which may become apparent after discontinuation. Women with irregular cycles may face challenges in conceiving and should seek medical advice if they experience prolonged irregularities.

The Importance of Addressing STIs
- Women on birth control may be less likely to use condoms, increasing the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can lead to infertility. Regular STI testing and treatment are essential for maintaining reproductive health.

The Influence of Social and Cultural Beliefs
- In some communities, there is a widespread belief that modern contraceptives cause infertility. These beliefs can deter individuals from using effective contraceptive methods. Education and community-based interventions are needed to address these misconceptions.

Clinical Recommendations

Based on the available evidence, healthcare professionals often provide the following recommendations regarding birth control and fertility:

1. For women planning to conceive in the near future, non-hormonal methods like copper IUDs or barrier methods may be preferred, as they do not impact fertility and allow for an immediate return to normal fertility levels upon discontinuation.

2. Women using hormonal contraceptives, particularly long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like DMPA injections or implants, may need to plan for a potential delay in the return of fertility after discontinuation.

3. Women over the age of 35 or those with pre-existing fertility issues may benefit from consulting with a fertility specialist before attempting to conceive after discontinuing birth control.

4. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can optimize fertility and potentially shorten the time to conception after stopping birth control.

It is important to note that every individual's experience with fertility after discontinuing birth control may vary, and consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended for personalized guidance and support.

How Conceivable Can Help

Navigating the transition from birth control to trying to conceive can be a complex journey, especially when considering the potential underlying issues that birth control might mask. Conceivable is here to support you every step of the way, helping you identify and address these issues to optimize your fertility and prepare for a healthy, happy pregnancy.

 Identifying Underlying Issues

Birth control can sometimes mask underlying reproductive health issues such as irregular menstrual cycles, hormonal imbalances, or conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. Conceivable offers comprehensive assessments to help uncover these hidden issues:

- Personalized Fertility Assessments: Our detailed health assessments gather information about your menstrual cycle, hormonal health, lifestyle, and medical history to identify potential underlying issues that may affect your fertility.
- Advanced Diagnostic Tools: We utilize advanced diagnostic tools and techniques to provide a thorough evaluation of your reproductive health, ensuring that no stone is left unturned.

Creating a Personalized Plan

Once any underlying issues are identified, Conceivable works with you to create a personalized plan tailored to your unique needs and goals:

- Customized Fertility Plans: Based on your assessment results, we develop a customized fertility plan that includes dietary recommendations, lifestyle changes, and targeted supplements to support your reproductive health.
- Holistic Approach: Our approach integrates traditional and modern practices, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, and mind-body techniques, to enhance your fertility and overall well-being.
- Ongoing Support and Monitoring: We provide continuous support and monitoring to track your progress and make necessary adjustments to your plan, ensuring that you stay on track towards achieving a healthy pregnancy.

Emotional and Mental Well-being

The journey to conception can be emotionally challenging. Conceivable offers  emotional and mental health support to help you manage stress and maintain a positive outlook:

Emotional Support Services: Kirsten AI  offering a safe space to discuss your concerns and emotions.

- Mind-Body Techniques: Incorporate practices such as meditation, yoga, and mindfulness to reduce stress and promote emotional well-being.

Leveraging Kirsten AI

Kirsten AI, our personalized AI fertility expert, plays a crucial role in supporting your journey from birth control to conception:

- Data-Driven Insights: Kirsten AI analyzes your health data to provide personalized insights and recommendations, helping you understand your fertility patterns and optimize your chances of conception.
- 24/7 Support: With 24/7 access to Kirsten AI, you have a constant source of guidance and support, helping you navigate any challenges that arise.
- Adaptive Planning: Kirsten AI continuously monitors your progress and adapts your fertility plan as needed, ensuring that you are always on the right track.


Transitioning from birth control to trying to conceive can be a daunting process, but with Conceivable's comprehensive support, you can confidently navigate this journey. By identifying and addressing underlying issues, creating a personalized fertility plan, and leveraging the power of Kirsten AI, Conceivable helps you optimize your reproductive health and prepare for a healthy, happy pregnancy. Reach out to us today to start your journey towards parenthood with the support and care you deserve.


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2. Cronin, M., Schellschmidt, I., & Dinger, J. (2009). Rate of pregnancy after using drospirenone and other progestin-containing oral contraceptives. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 114(3), 616-622.
3. Farrow, A., Hull, M. G., Northstone, K., Taylor, H., Mason, W. P., & Golding, J. (2002). Prolonged use of oral contraception before a planned pregnancy is associated with a decreased rate of pre-eclampsia. Human Reproduction, 17(10), 2754-2761.
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10. Hubacher, D., & Grimes, D. A. (2002). Noncontraceptive health benefits of intrauterine devices: a systematic review. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, 57(2), 120-128.
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12. Hassan, M. A., & Killick, S. R. (2003). Effect of male age on fertility: evidence for the decline in male fertility with increasing age. Fertility and Sterility, 79(3), 1520-1527.
13. Legro, R. S., Brzyski, R. G., Diamond, M. P., Coutifaris, C., Schlaff, W. D., Casson, P., ... & Alvero, R. (2010). Letrozole versus clomiphene for infertility in the polycystic ovary syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(13), 1174-1185.
14. Homan, G. F., Davies, M., & Norman, R. (2007). The impact of lifestyle factors on reproductive performance in the general population and those undergoing infertility treatment: a review. Human Reproduction Update, 13(3), 209-223.

This comprehensive guide provides an overview of the relationship between various birth control methods and fertility, backed by clinical data and research findings. It highlights the impact of hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptives on fertility, as well as factors that can influence the time it takes to conceive after discontinuing birth control. By understanding these nuances, individuals can make informed decisions about their contraceptive choices and plan accordingly for their fertility goals.

Want to Start Improving Your Fertility?

Meet your new, 100% personalized, available 24/7 fertility coach, Kirsten AI. She will help you identify all of the underlying issues impacting your fertility, make a plan to fix them and support you day in and out on your journey to motherhood.