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Does Birth Control Save Your Eggs?

Does Birth Control Save Your Eggs?

We know that the birth control bill pauses ovulation, right? So, does that then mean that your eggs get saved up? Could this delay menopause? This is a great question from our community, and we got our chief medical advisor Dr. Dan Nayot to break it all down.

Does birth control affect how many eggs you have?

As you may already know, females are born with all the primordial follicles (think of these as precursors to eggs) that they'll ever have. In fact, the number of primordial follicles peaks at 20 weeks gestation—when you're still in utero. (Crazy, right?!) This is different from males, who are always producing sperm (though, sperm quality does decrease with age).

Once puberty hits, people with eggs start having ovulatory cycles. Think of it like a wave. Each cycle, hundreds to thousands of primordial follicles are activated, and only a fraction of them make it through to each next stage of development. Only one will make it to "mature egg" status and be ovulated. The ones that break down along the way go through what's called "atresia." If you're taking the pill, you'll stop that mature egg from developing, but it doesn't stop the waves of atresia. So, it doesn't "save" your eggs or delay menopause.

Does IVF use up your eggs?

And if you're wondering if fertility treatments or ovarian stimulation medications use up more of your eggs, you can apply the same logic but in reverse: Fertility drugs help recruit more mature eggs from the wave of atresia. You're not decreasing your future eggs because these follicles would've gone through atresia anyway.

Though you can’t impact the quantity of eggs you have, you can improve their quality by starting a top-notch prenatal vitamin at least three months before you try to conceive. Take our easy quiz to find the right personalized supplement for you.