Is there any correlation between needing IVF and the pill?


I would like to know whether there’s any research or correlation between the increased percentage of women (mainly in late 20s & 30s) needing IVF, and having been prescribed the contraceptive pill when younger and being on it for so many years. Is it a generational thing whereby doctors were too readily prescribing the contraceptive pill without properly investigating the source of the problem?

Thank you,


Dear S.,

This is a perennial question and there has been a great deal of study of this issue, because the use of the pill is so common and very widespread.  The general evidence suggests that there is absolutely no correlation between long-term or short-term pull use and the later need for infertility treatment or IVF.  At the very least there is no causal link.  However, because failure of ovulation or loss of periods is so common, some women coming off the pill and trying to get pregnant, find that they are not menstruating regularly or have no periods at al or re not ovulating.  They are simply showing something that would have happened whether they were on the pill or not. The widespread evidence suggests that taking the pill has simply masked but not caused an underlying problem.  That is to say that they would have stopped bleeding or stopped ovulation had they not been on the pill in the first place. Obviously, whilst pill taking, women have a bleed each month which is similar to a period. But when they stop the pill, they no longer have this withdrawal bleed so it seems as if the pill has caused the problem.

When injectable hormones are used for contraception, all bleeding stops and this suppression of periods may occasionally continue for some months after the injectables are no longer being given.

I hope this answers your question.

Best wishes

Robert Winston