Orchid offers advanced genetic testing for couples who want their child to have the best shot of a healthy life. As part of our “Pregnancy and Fertility” series, we distill down your fertility treatment options and help you navigate the complex process.
How Birth Control Impacts Fertility
To understand how birth control impacts fertility, you’d have to first understand how birth control works.
In a nutshell, birth control is designed to maintain consistent hormone levels in your body. The hormones in birth control are synthetic forms of estrogen and progestin, which a woman’s body naturally produces via the ovaries.
More specifically, these two hormones are responsible for keeping the ovaries from releasing eggs. They also change the cervical mucus and thin the uterine lining, which prevents sperm from entering the egg.
However, these hormone levels can drop quickly if you skip or miss a dose. This may cause bleeding and ovulation to begin within the next two weeks. If you are using birth control pills as a contraceptive method and if you miss one dose, you should take the last pill you missed immediately. You should also still take the pill for the next day, even if you need to take two pills on the same day. The recommendation is to use condoms in the next 7 days until your birth control pills are effective again.
As for fertility, there is no evidence that taking birth control affects a woman’s ability to become pregnant. As mentioned above, the hormones in the pills are very short-acting and leave the body quickly.
Once you stop taking birth control, you should go back to ovulating normally. In some cases, it can take a few months to ovulate regularly if you recently stopped taking birth control pills after a prolonged period of taking them.
Why Birth Control is Often Used During IVF Treatment
Patients undergoing IVF are often directed to take birth control pills as part of their medication protocol to regulate their hormone cycle. This is done so that the ovaries can respond better to IVF medications afterwards and to decrease the chances of developing ovarian cysts. In general, taking birth controls before starting an IVF cycle helps to create a better timeline for treatment.
The type of birth control pills recommended during IVF treatment are “monophasic,” meaning that each pill has the same amount of estrogen and progesterone hormones. This ensures that a consistent level of hormones is maintained with each dose. Most IVF cycles require that you take the active birth control doses consistently.
How Long Does it Take to Get Pregnant After Going Off Birth Control?
Your ability to get pregnant after stopping birth control depends on the following factors:
- Female reproductive health
- Female general health
- Sperm motility and quality
- Frequency of intercourse
Depending on how long you were on birth control prior to deciding to conceive, you could become pregnant almost immediately or it could take a few months to a year. It all depends on the above three factors coming back to “normal” as well as the type of birth control you were using.
For example, just because you’ve begun ovulating right away, it doesn’t mean that your body has all the conditions necessary to get pregnant. If you’re under 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for one year (or over 35 and trying to conceive for 6 months) without results, it’s recommended that you see a fertility specialist to help diagnose and address any underlying concerns.
Fertility treatment and reproductive medicine have come a long way since IVF was first introduced over 40 years ago. Today, advanced embryo testing is now available to couples who want their child to have the best shot of a healthy life. Explore how Orchid helps you conceive with confidence.