After quitting birth control, women may face more than an eight month delay before their fertility returns

You’ve probably been told that hormonal birth control methods, such as coils, patches, implants, pills, and injections, can take time to leave your system. But this period may be even longer than you think

New research reveals that women may face an eight-month wait before their fertility returns after they stop contraception. This speed at which fertility returns depended on the type of contraception the woman was using. It’s important to note that the findings showed that contraception did not have any lasting effect in the long run.

Injectable contraception methods affected fertility for the longest at an average of five to eight months.

For women using a contraceptive patch, the wait was four months.

Women taking the birth control pill experienced a three-month wait for fertility levels to return to normal.

It was two months for those using an implant, including hormonal coils and copper coils.

The study was conducted in a joint effort between Boston University and Aarhus University

They pooled their data from three extensive studies including almost 18,000 women, and published their research in the British Medical Journal. The doctors in charge of the study hope that it ‘might inform clinical recommendations on contraceptive decision making.’

Participants were asked questions about their personal lives, lifestyle information (such as diet, alcohol consumption, and smoking habits), and medical histories. The women completed follow-up questionnaires every two months for a year, or until they became pregnant, whichever came first.

The study states, “Overall, we found that use of IUD devices and implant contraceptives was associated with short delays in the return of fertility, with injectable contraceptives showing the longest delay. Understanding the comparative effects of different contraceptives…is essential for family planning, counselling for contraception and management of infertility.”

Nearly two thirds of women aged 20 – 24 take the pill to prevent pregnancy, making it the most popular birth control method in the UK

Around 14% of women use injections or implants as their preferred method of birth control. Injectable birth control is more than 99% effective when used according to directions. Manufacturers currently warn that it can take up to a year for fertility to return to normal levels after ceasing to take the injections, with the NHS warning that, “it may not be suitable if you want to have a baby in the near future.”

Professor Geeta Nargund, the Medical Director at CREATE Fertility, is optimistic about the findings. “The latest BMJ study offers interesting and useful information for women taking contraception. It emphasises the importance of counselling women about their individual future fertility needs when prescribing contraception.”

Dr Nargund explains the importance of giving women a wealth of information about their fertility so that they can make the right choices for their future.

“It’s not just about the effectiveness and side effects, but also about providing information on how quickly their fertility is likely to return when they decide to come off contraception, should they decide to try and fall pregnant.”

What are your experiences with birth control? Did you experience a delay in your fertility levels? Drop us a line at

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