Birth Control Pill: Does it Cause Infertility?

As more and more information is available online (an amazing thing), more and more misinformation is also available (not so amazing).

Let’s break down the question: does the oral contraceptive pill (either estrogen-progestin combination pill or the progestin-only pill) cause infertility?

The short answer: is no.

The pill is commonly prescribed for a lot of different menstrual ailments, like cramping, heavy bleeding, irregular cycles, acne, PMS, and more. If you’re looking for contraception at the same time, then it can be an option that address those concerns.

Those concerns that formed part of the decision to go on the pill in the first place is what could be linked to infertility–not the use of the pill itself.

Even if you went on the birth control pill for contraceptive purposes alone, there could be developments happening in the background while you were on it.

Due to the nature of the pill and how it works–by shutting down ovulation–we can miss some of those developments until you come off the pill.

That’s why people think it was the pill when it was something that already existed or something that developed in your years on the pill.

Those changes finally show up in full force after discontinuation of the pill.

Sometimes, though, your old symptoms might not return. This might be because the pill treated them, because you “grew out of them”, and/or because you managed them somehow (lifestyle modification, other treatments, etc.).

The pill is commonly employed to manage symptoms of PCOS, heavy menstrual bleeding, PMS and PMDD, endometriosis, adenomyosis, dysmenorrhea (period pain), and more. Some of these are linked to infertility.

So, if you’re on the pill or making a decision to start, this information can be important to think about, especially if your primary concerns of pain or irregular cycles hasn’t really been looked into properly.

There’s a difference between making an informed decision about going on the pill because it’s the most appropriate treatment option for you versus being told that the pill will help all your symptoms without a full assessment. It is this second situation that many menstruators find themselves in, which is really unfortunate. It can delay diagnosis, lead to inadequate care, and/or impact decisions regarding future family planning which are time-sensitive.

If you’re looking for fertility support and care that involves having conversations where you get to ask your questions and weight out the benefits and risks, I’m accepting new patients in July 2024.