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Do oral contraceptives affect fertility?

By Dra. Alicia Francos Pérez.
Last Update: 07/20/2021

There has always been much concern on the part of women who take or have taken contraceptives as to whether they will affect their future fertility. There have also been many studies that have tried to find the relationship between contraceptives and their implication for fertility... and the answer is now clear. Contraceptives do not affect future fertility.

It must be understood that a woman's follicular endowment is depleted over the course of her reproductive life, and does so on the basis of a programmed follicular atrophy mechanism. This does not depend on the contraceptives she takes, nor on the pregnancies she has, nor on breastfeeding..... In other words, the fact that the ovaries are not functioning in a normal hormonal cycle, because they have stopped functioning, either because of contraceptives or other situations such as pregnancy, does not stop this programmed atrophy, which will continue to occur month after month, regardless of this.

Therefore, it is clear that taking contraceptives will not affect a woman's follicular endowment or future fertility. On the contrary, there are women who need to take contraceptives as therapy for certain pathologies, such as endometriosis, so that if they stop taking them when indicated, the disease may progress and the follicular endowment may be lost at an accelerated rate.

However, this does not mean that contraceptives do not affect fertility at the time they are taken. The composition of contraceptives based on the hormones produced by the ovary means that the hormonal axis that governs the reproductive function in these women is annulled, ovulation does not occur and therefore pregnancy is prevented.

Suggested for you: Do you know these myths about fertility and reproduction?.

Dra. Alicia Francos Pérez
Dra. Alicia Francos Pérez
Gynecologist
Dr. Alicia Francos has a degree in Medicine from the University of Salamanca and a Master's degree in Mastology and Breast Pathology from the Autonomous University of Madrid and another Master's degree in Human Fertility from the Complutense University of Madrid. She also has a diploma in Gynaecological Endoscopic Surgery from the Université Clermont Ferrand.
License: 330840199
Gynecologist. Dr. Alicia Francos has a degree in Medicine from the University of Salamanca and a Master's degree in Mastology and Breast Pathology from the Autonomous University of Madrid and another Master's degree in Human Fertility from the Complutense University of Madrid. She also has a diploma in Gynaecological Endoscopic Surgery from the Université Clermont Ferrand. License: 330840199.