Millions of women, in the U.S. and worldwide, use some sort of pharmaceutical birth control method or oral contraceptive such as the pill to prevent pregnancy while engaging in sex. For many years now, oral contraception has been the most popular of birth control methods, currently used by over 12 million women in the United States alone.
In this new century, longer term methods of birth control have become available. Among these are the hormonal contraceptive ring which provides approximately 3 continuous months of contraceptive control. Another birth control method is progestin implants, which release a continuous dose of progestin that acts to prevent ovulation. These implants can work from 3 to 6 years.
Some women use pharmaceutical contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Others, however, use it as a means of spacing the births of their children. For those in the latter category, many fear that continuing to use pharmaceutical birth control will increase their chances of infertility and possibly prevent them from having children in the future.
Other lesser used birth control methods include the Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Device or IUD, condoms, spermicidal lotions, and, of course, abstinence.
The IUD is made of metal and plastic and is inserted into the woman’s uterus. It prevents the fertilized female egg from being inserted into the uterine cavity, thus preventing pregnancy.
Of all methods of birth control, the ones at most risk for possibly causing future infertility are the IUD and the hormonal birth control methods such as the pill, hormonal contraceptive ring, and so on.
In normal cases, birth control pills aren’t likely to impair your long-term fertility. The birth control pills produced today contain a fraction of estrogen and other chemicals compared to pills from the forty years ago or more. In fact, doctors will advise that most women can start tying to get pregnant immediately after stopping the pill without any problem. In the case of women using hormonal contraception or other long term birth control methods, the wait may be a bit longer as it takes time for the all of the chemicals to be purged from the body.
In some women, however, pharmaceutical birth control methods has been shown to adversely affect or destroy the cervical fluid needed for conception. Usually, but not always, this fluid is regenerated once the woman goes off the pill. If the fluid is damaged or not regenerated, there is a possibility that conception could be impacted.
However, the biggest danger of using pharmaceutical methods of birth control is that it makes the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases much easier which can absolutely increase the chances of infertility.
In the case of the IUD, the potential danger is less direct. The IUD has to be inserted into the uterus. While doing so, it is possible that bacteria will hitch a ride on the IUD device, enter the uterus causing it to become infected and damaged. If infected, the infection can, in some cases, lead to infertility.
Aside from abstinence, all methods of birth control carry some minimal risk. In most cases, however, the risk of them affecting your ability to have children is slight.