A study revealed that going on the Pill could temporarily age a woman’s reproductive system. The hormones in birth control can reduce the production of eggs to levels that older women have, and it can last months after going off the medication.
Scientists at the Copenhagen University Hospital studied 833 women between 19 and 46 years old, according to the Daily Mail. They measured anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicles (AFC), indicators of fertility, and they found that levels of AMH and AFC were 19 percent and 16 percent lower in pill users.
Between 19 and 52 percent less eggs were produced by the women taking part in the study, and the greatest reductions were found in women under 30.
“We expected to find an effect of the pill,” said Dr. Kathrine Birch Petersen of Copenhagen University Hospital. “But during the project we were surprised at the quantified effect on ovarian reserve parameters as defined by anti-Mullerian hormone, antral follicle count and ovarian volume.”
Birch Petersen presented her findings at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Munich. She suggested that women should have an “ovarian reserve” assessment three months after going off the Pill to have the capacity of their ovaries checked to make sure they can provide egg cells that are capable of fertilization. Most women take up to six months to become pregnant after going off birth control.
“We do not believe the pill changes the ovaries in any permanent way,” she said. “But we still need to know more about the recovery phase after women stop the pill.”