Thinking about stopping your birth control pill and trying to conceive? You might’ve heard that your odds are higher right after coming off the pill—but is it true?
No, or at least, not really. The pill stops you from ovulating, which is why it’s used as a contraceptive. Once you stop taking it and ovulation resumes (typically right away if you had regular ovulation to begin with), you have a chance of getting pregnant. For the most part, it’s that simple.
If you were to observe a thousand people who’ve just come off the pill, you’d see that more of them conceive in the first cycle than, say, the 13th cycle. That has nothing to do with the pill though—that’s just how the stats go in fertility in general.
But there is a small chance of what’s called a rebound effect. The pill stops ovulation by using estrogen and progesterone to suppress a hormone called FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). As the name suggests, it helps stimulate the growth of ovarian follicles so that they release an egg (it’s the hormone that doctors use to get a lot of eggs in an IVF egg retrieval).
Sometimes after stopping the pill, more FSH is produced than usual, which can mean two eggs are released instead of one. Of course, that increases fertilization potential (as well as the possibility of having fraternal twins, too).
This rebound effect is rare. So, if you’re thinking of starting the pill just to stop right after and hope for an FSH boost, don’t. If anything, you’ll just be losing a cycle. If you’re already on the pill, maybe you’ll have that rebound effect, but also know that on average, pregnancy can take six months to a year of trying.
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