August 11, 2009

Birth Control Pills and Infertility

Posted in Category : Women's Health

First, you should keep in mind that infertility is a common condition with a whole range of causes. It is estimated that neatly 20 percent of American couples have dealt with fertility issues. In general, the term ‘infertility’ is used for cases where there is a failure to conceive for a minimum of one year. The condition can be classified as primary (whether neither partner has conceived a child) and secondary (where one or both have conceived earlier). Thus, any case of fertility can depend on the sexual health of either one or both partners. The widespread awareness of safe sex and birth control measures has brought in additional factors that need to be considered when discussing infertility.

Birth Control Pills and Progesterone

Among women, birth control pills have been in common usage since the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved the first Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (also called just the Pill) in 1960. Since then, there are a number of brands that also offer progesterone-only pills. In both cases, the pill works by increasing the woman’s hormone levels at specific times during her menstrual cycle. This interrupts the cycle and inhibits her fertility. It is important to recognize that the term ‘fertility’ in this case is specific to the monthly ovulation, where a mature woman’s uterus releases a mature ovum (egg).The pill’s sudden surge of hormones interrupts this process, thus ensuring that any male sperm will not find an egg to fertilize. The pill, however, has benefits beyond birth control. Women with certain menstrual disorders can experience regular periods. However, the pills have no effect on any underlying problems with the reproductive system. Hence, when a woman stops taking the pill, these problems will resurface, some of which could lead to infertility. In addition, a couple can have infertility problems that never surfaced simply because the woman was taking the pill and conception was not expected. Thus, stopping the pill often exposes underlying fertility issues, rather than causing them.

Some couples also get impatient; please remember that on an average a healthy couple can take up to 8 months before a successful conception. Another important factor you need to consider is age. For example, it is generally easier to conceive at the age of 22 than 32. If you stop taking pills at age 32, your body’s natural ageing will determine the chances of conception. Finally, most scientific studies seem to show that the pills themselves do not have any negative impact on long-term fertility.