Can Birth Control Affect Our Fertility?

birth control fertility fertility awareness hormonal birth control

Birth control has been shown to decrease egg quality, decrease egg quantity, thin the endometrial lining, shrink ovary size, shorten luteal phase length (less progesterone production), increase cycle length (possibly anovulatory and irregular), increase the length of time it takes to get pregnant, and increase our risks for other issues.

Many women stop birth control to get pregnant. But can experience immense heartache when things don’t exactly go as planned.

But what if we were informed about these potential effects?

What if our grief is a misalignment with poorly set expectations by our providers?

What if our bodies don’t need fertility treatments right now, but just a little more time?

Let’s take a look at the data.👇

*EGG QUALITY/QUANTITY: Women ages 19-46 on oral contraceptives (OCs) - adjusted for variables - had up to 30% lower Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) and up to 20% lower Antral Follicle Count (AFC). (Petersen et al) These indicate ovarian reserve and egg quantity. It’s possible this could be temporary and that these markers can increase over time.

*ENDOMETRIAL LINING: 10+ years of OC use was associated with a thinner uterine lining. (Chang et al) Once an egg is fertilized, it needs to be able to successfully implant itself on the lining of the uterus.

*OVARY SIZE: Combination pills are shown to shrink the ovaries by ~50%. (Deb et al) Shrunken ovaries can be related to primary ovarian insufficiency.

*CYCLES: OC users can experience 12 months of shorter luteal phases and 9-12 months of longer cycles. Overall, it can take 9-18 months for cycles to normalize, hence a period of subfertility. (Gnoth et al)

*PREGNANCY: It can take ~8 months for OC or IUD users, ~10 months for implant users, ~15 months for injectable contraceptive users to conceive. The longer the use of hormonal contraception (2+ years), the higher the average. (Hassan et al)

*NEW ISSUES: HCs also increase our risks for new issues that may affect fertility. (Brighten) When I was given the birth control pill, I asked if it could affect my fertility. I distinctly remember being told it couldn’t and that I could get pregnant right after coming off. Obviously, this is not the case for everyone.

I’m sharing this because I’ve witnessed countless women deal with so much heartache trying to conceive post-HCs.

↪But what if we were informed about this?

↪What if our grief is a misalignment with poorly set expectations by our providers?

↪What if our bodies don’t need fertility treatments, but just a little more time?

Tune into Episode 1 of the Innate Wisdom Podcast with @followingmybody where we discuss the effect of birth control on fertility and much more. Link in bio.

❔❕Were you informed of any of these things before you took birth control?


Not medical advice. Birth control = hormonal contraceptives.


Brighten, J. (2019). Beyond the Pill. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Deb, S. Campbell, B.K. Pincott-Allen, C. Clewes, J.S. Cumberpatch, G. Raine-Fenning, N.J. (2012). Quantifying effect of combined oral contraceptive pill on functional ovarian reserve as measured by serum anti-Müllerian hormone and small antral follicle count using three-dimensional ultrasound. Retrieved from:

Gnoth, C. Frank-Herrmann, P. Schmoll, A. Godehardt, E. Freundl, G. (2002). Cycle characteristics after discontinuation of oral contraceptives. Retrieved from:

Hassan, M.A. Killick, S.R. (2004). Is previous use of hormonal contraception associated with a detrimental effect on subsequent fecundity?. Retrieved from:

Hendrickson-Jack, L. (2019). The Fifth Vital Sign. Fertility Friday Publishing.

Petersen, K.B. Hvidman, H.W. Forman, J.L. Pinborg, A. Larsen, E.C. Macklon, K.T. Sylvest, R. Anderson, A.N. (2015). Ovarian reserve assessment in users of oral contraception seeking fertility advice on their reproductive lifespan. Retrieved from:

Talukdar, N. Bentov, Y. Chang, P.T. Esfandiari, N. Nazemian, Z. Casper, R.F. (2012). Effect of long-term combined oral contraceptive pill use on endometrial thickness. Retrieved from:

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Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here. While the owner of this website tries to keep the information up to date, there may be things that are out-of-date and out of their control.