These Popular Birth Control Methods Can Permanently Affect Your Fertility

Birth control can be invaluable when you need it to prevent a pregnancy that you're not ready to carry. However, the same birth control that offers protection against an unwanted pregnancy can also affect your ability to get pregnant in the future. Some methods of birth control affect fertility permanently in ways you might not expect.

Depo-Provera Shot

The Depo-Provera shot allows women to receive injections every 12 weeks instead of worrying about taking a birth-control pill daily. Unfortunately, women who received the Depo-Provera shot may not be able to get pregnant as soon as they stop the injections. It can take up to 10 months for a woman to start ovulating once she stops the shots.

If a woman is older and nearing the end of her fertile years, those 10 months can be devastating. Not being able to get pregnant due to a lack of ovulation could cause her to miss her window for becoming pregnant. This is something to think about before agreeing to start Depo-Provera shots.

Mirena IUD

Misleading advertising has many women thinking that the Mirena IUD is an easy, no-fuss form of birth control that women should all try. The truth is much more complicated. Mirena IUDs have been linked to many conditions that can affect fertility long-term.

Scarring and infections are more likely with a form of birth control that's implanted in a woman's body, and that's just the beginning of the problems. If the Mirena IUD fails and a woman becomes pregnant while it is still implanted, she is at risk for an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies take place in the fallopian tubes and can be dangerous for women. They can also cause long-term fertility problems that will keep a woman from conceiving even after the IUD is removed.

Fertility Awareness Methods

Also called natural family planning, a fertility-awareness approach to birth control involves a woman tracking her fertile days and simply avoiding intercourse when she could become pregnant. This seems to be the safest form of birth control since it doesn't involve shots, implants or hormones, but it can wreak havoc on a woman's fertility if she isn't aware of the risks.

Natural family planning may work for a woman who is in a monogamous relationship, but otherwise, it leaves a woman open to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some STIs, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, can cause problems with a woman's fertility and leave her unable to conceive.

Remember that some birth control can prevent pregnancy but not against STIs, and since STIs can be fertility wreckers, it's essential to use protection that guards against both if the relationship is not a committed one. Think about the future when deciding which method of birth control to use. Even if you don't want to become pregnant today, you don't want to limit your options in the future.

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