Birth Control Does Not Cause Infertility

Birth Control Pill ContainerSometimes I forget that I live in a bubble full of somewhat like-minded people, and then things catch me off guard – like claims from acquaintances that birth control causes infertility and cancer, and is your life worth postponing pregnancy for, not to mentioned your decision to hurt everyone around you with your inevitable cancerous decision to die?  Just to have sex!! ahhh!!

The reality:  Oral contraceptives – some studies show that there is a slight increased risk for breast cancer,  specifically with the triphasic pills.  Birth control pills also show a reduced risk in ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer. Key point from the article:

  • “A number of studies suggest that current use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) appears to slightly increase the risk of breast cancer, especially among younger women. However, the risk level goes back to normal 10 years or more after discontinuing oral contraceptive use.”

Birth Control and Infertility:  This was just a false claim.  There is no medical evidence to show that oral contraceptives increase infertility.  There has been shown there is an association with a temporary delay in fertility, but not infertility.  Essentially, your fertility goes back to what it was before, as well as taking into account the new differences in fertility based on other factors – such as age, nutrition, body changes, etc.  It is common for people to associate false cause and effect.  For example, if a woman is struggling with infertility and had also previously taken birth control – without actual proof that the birth control caused her infertility, she then leaps to conclusions, because people like to have answers.  False cause and effect.

From a study done in the last year in the Oxford Journal of Human Reproduction

“The researchers found that long-term users of oral contraceptives, like short-term users, experienced a temporary delay in fertility, compared with those who were discontinuing barrier contraceptive methods.  But the study also indicated that longer-term OC use was associated with a higher likelihood of pregnancy, compared with OC use for less than two years.” 

Different article that is a summary of the findings from above

I think it’s important to know the risks and benefits to your health and lifestyle choices.  When my insurance changed, the low hormone birth control was no longer covered.  As breast cancer runs in my family, I was concerned about the type that my doctor was putting me on.  I ended up arguing with him that birth control may contribute to breast cancer.  (He was saying it didn’t, and that he was not going to argue with me).  In this case he thought I was ignorant, and didn’t know my facts.  Even if I was wrong (which I wasn’t) he could have treated me more respectfully.  In any case,  I was obviously there getting a new prescription for birth control, and had made the decision for myself that the benefits outweighed the risks.  However, there were options within the spectrum of birth control that would have lessened those risks and he dismissed my concerns as a patient as well as was not up to date with accurate medical information that is widely available from medical journals and on the National Institute of Health’s own website.  It pissed me off.  It also angers me that insurance won’t cover low hormonal birth control.  It was only relatively recently that birth control was even covered by insurance – due to pressure by women’s groups it was finally included.  Rant is – this is a personal decision for a woman to make, and there are cases both for an against using it.  There is no ‘right’ choice, the most important thing is for people to be able to make informed choices for themselves.  False claims don’t help anyone.


About Musings over Coffee

Fitness enthusiast. Love to travel, mess up recipes, ponder random things, get riled up about the news, all of which nearly always coinciding with one of my favorite things in the world: Coffee.
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