Dear Dr. Kate: Does Long-Term Pill Usage Make It Hard to Get Pregnant Later?

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City and she answers your medical questions here once a week. To ask her your own question, click here.

Dear Dr. Kate,

Right now I am absolutely not interested in having children. But in time, all things change. I have been taking birth control pills since I was 18. There hasn’t been any period between then and now where I haven’t taken a pill. Somewhere down the line (4 to 6 years from now) I may want to have kids and by then I will have been on the pill for 10+ years straight. So my question is, will this affect my chances of getting pregnant? I’ve heard of women taking a few months to a few years to get pregnant after getting off the pill. Will the time it takes for me to get pregnant be longer than most since I will have been on the pill for so long?


Dear CB,

First, congratulations on being such a successful birth control pill user! Happily, there’s no downside of long-term use of hormonal birth control. In fact, if you use the pill for over 10 years, you’ll reduce your chances of ovarian cancer by 50 percent, and your chances of endometrial cancer by almost 80 percent. So not only have you avoided an unplanned pregnancy, but you’ve actually reduced your risk of cancer.

The pill is very effective at turning off your ovaries, but it doesn’t put them in a deep-freeze. As soon as you stop the pill, your ovaries will wake up and begin to prepare for ovulation again. Yes, some women have trouble conceiving after they stop their birth control. But be assured: your fertility off the pill is the same as it would have been if you had never taken it in the first place. So if you were always able to get pregnant at age 28, you’ll have no difficulty once you start trying. But if you were destined to have fertility trouble at the same age, you’ll still have it anyway.

When you’re ready to start trying for pregnancy, your ovaries will be there for you. So enjoy your baby-free existence (and happier periods) as long as you want to.


Dr. Kate

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at

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14 Comments on "Dear Dr. Kate: Does Long-Term Pill Usage Make It Hard to Get Pregnant Later?"

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2 years 7 months ago

Does this include taking it for period suppression as well (continuously, with no placebo pills)? Or would this take longer to get pregnant afterward?

3 years 2 months ago

We’ve been trying to concieve since i came off the pill nearly 3 years ago after taking it for 6 years, i didnt have a period for nearly a year after coming off the pill, i have done a 6 month course of clomid but have still been unsuccessful :-(
Im finding it hard to understand why as me and my partner already have a son together and itdidnt take us long to concieve back then so why now? Hopefully further tests will find out what the problem is!

4 years 6 months ago

Im 30 and I have an 11yr old son and have been on the pill since his birth…. I have stop taken the pill over two years ago… And for the last six months began trying to conceive again and have had no luck… : ( my partner is 57yrs old… And wondering if his age has anything to do with the situation?? Please any help… Would really love a new blessing….

6 years 1 month ago

Hi i’m 29yrs old now come of the pill 12weeks ago after taking it for 8yrs, so i have a 8yr old son. Found out i have a tilted womb will this make it hard to get pregnant? Aswell as being on the pill for yrs? Any advice? pls. Thankz xx

6 years 6 months ago

I have to disagree with the statement ‘there’s no downside of long-term use of hormonal birth control.’ My friend used the pill for 8 years and threw a clot. Thank God it wasn’t life threatening but now she can’t use any hormones- ever, for life. And clots can be very serious in the heart or lungs and can kill you.