Does the Pill Affect Fertility?

23rd May 2022

Currently, there are more options than ever for different birth control methods, giving people the freedom to choose whether or not they would like to conceive a child. From condoms to the depo jab, the options are plentiful, with condoms perhaps being the most commonly used. However, an excellent alternative to using condoms is to take the pill instead. 

The pill is a form of female contraception that is taken daily. There are many different types of birth control pills, but they all work in a similar way. The pills contain hormones that regulate ovulation, making it almost impossible to fall pregnant. But, does this affect fertility at all, and are you still able to get pregnant after coming off the pill? In this article, we will answer these questions, as well as others regarding contraception and fertility. We will also provide you with some top tips for getting pregnant after you have come off the pill.

Does the pill affect fertility?

It is a valid concern for many women that are thinking about going on the pill, as they are not taking it to become infertile, they are instead taking it to be safer during intercourse. Simply put, the pill does not affect long-term fertility at all, it simply controls hormones to stop the user from becoming pregnant whilst they are actively taking the pill. This is also the case for the different variations of the pill that some people take. There are two different variations of the contraceptive pill that people take. These are:

  • Combination

The most common form of contraceptive pill that is taken the most. The combination pill contains exactly that, a combination of oestrogen and progestin that controls ovulation. 

  • Progestin-only

Progestin-only pills contain zero oestrogen. These are often preferred by women who suffer from heavy periods, mood swings, or are vulnerable to blood clots. People are also told to move away from the combination pill and onto the progestin-only pill if they are experiencing regular headaches. 

Neither of these pills will have any long-lasting effects on your fertility, and you can also stop taking both when you wish. It is recommended that you finish the pack of pills that you are currently taking before coming off the pill entirely. 

When will your periods come back after you stop taking the pill?

One of the effects that some people notice when taking contraceptive pills is the stopping of periods. This is especially common for women taking progestin-only. The combination pill however is less likely to cause a ceasing of periods, and people may experience some bleeding, although you are still covered. 

When you stop taking the pill, it can take up to three months for your periods to return back to your regular cycle, although it can be as little as four weeks. You may experience what you think is a period as little as two weeks after you finish taking the pill, however, this may not be a full period, and may in fact just be bleeding as a result of the hormones in your body rebalancing themselves. 

Do not be alarmed if your periods do not return right away as this is completely normal, if you are concerned, however, you may wish to talk to your GP in order to get any further advice.

Does the morning-after pill affect fertility?

The morning-after pill is not the same as the contraceptive pill. The morning-after pill is a medication that is used the day after having had unprotected sex, in which pregnancy could have occurred. The pill is designed to be taken as a ‘plan B’, and is not an effective form of contraception. 

The morning after pill contains similar hormones to that of the contraceptive pill, however, it works by delaying the release of an egg, as opposed to stopping it. The morning after pill is best taken as soon as you can, as this will ensure you have the best chances of not falling pregnant.

As the morning after pill works in a similar way to the contraceptive pill, there are no long-lasting effects on your fertility should you take it. There are also no known long-term side effects of using the morning-after pill. In the short term, the morning after pill can cause some slight side effects including nausea, fatigue, headaches, and abdominal pain. 

Does birth control affect fertility long term?

As there are many different types of birth control methods aside from the contraceptive pill, there are often questions asked about whether any of them may affect fertility in the long term. The nature of contraception is to not affect long-term fertility, but rather to stop any short-term chances of pregnancy whilst it may be unwanted. The most effective form of contraception methods are said to be around 99% effective. These are:

Other forms of contraception, such as condoms, are less than 99% effective, however they are virtually all more than 90% effective. 

Tips for getting pregnant after the pill

When you come off your chosen birth control method you may be wondering about tips on how you can get pregnant. The fact of the matter is, once your periods return you will be no more or less fertile than prior to going on the pill. There are supplements however that you can take in order to boost your fertility levels. As well as this, you can even do home tests that allow you to monitor certain aspects of both female and male fertility. For example, you can do ovulation tests to discover when you are most fertile, or a man can do a sperm concentration test to discover if his sperm concentration is high or low. These tests can be purchased online, and are great at giving you an insight into your fertility after you have decided to stop actively using contraception. When you know your body better, you will have a greater chance of getting pregnant.