Birth Control Pills: Not Necessarily The Culprit
The 50th anniversary of "the birth control pill" has come and gone recently (on Mother's Day, how coincidental!) and an article in U.S. News & World Report focused on the impact that oral contraceptives have had on our world.
Interestingly, the writer stated that, among other results, the pill is responsible for an "epidemic" of infertility.
It turns out that the author is referring to how the use of the pill resulted in delayed childbearing in our society -- on a grand scale, not in terms of individual women. More women are able to put off getting pregnant until it better suits their life, as a direct result of the pill. There's hardly anyone who would call that a bad thing!
But I do have patients who come to me, worried that their years of trying responsibly to not get pregnant have worked against them now that they want to have a baby.
The truth is that studies consistently indicate no direct connections between using oral contraceptives and later infertility. I know that a lot of women, especially those who are diagnosed with unexplained infertility, are still hesitant to believe what research tells us on this point. And to be sure, once they're in my office, it's rather moot.
It's normal to think back to what you might have done differently. It can also aid in diagnosis (and possibly treatment) to review your history thoroughly, looking for answers to your own baby-making dilemma. But dwelling on this particular "common sense" connection (between oral contraceptive use and later infertility) that continues to be denied as fact-based by researchers... just isn't helpful for you. We also have to be careful not to discourage young, responsible women from making smart choices for their reproductive lives.