Concerns on future fertility among users and past-users of combined oral contraceptives: a questionnaire survey: The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care: Vol 24, No 5


Objective: The combined oral contraceptive pill is the most preferred contraceptive method worldwide. Despite high life-time prevalence of infertility of 16–26%, scarce data about concerns of future fertility among COC users are available. We aimed to study whether COC usage induces concerns about fertility.

Methods: Online questionnaire-based survey included 1283 current COC users and 1006 past users. The questionnaire covered knowledge and concerns of various aspects of fertility with respect to COC usage.

Results: Significantly, more current users (66%) than past users (52%) had considered whether or not COC usage could affect future fertility (OR = 1.6, 95% CI 1.3–1.9). Nearly 50% of both groups believed COC usage could impair conception rates after discontinuation. Furthermore, 28% current vs. 19% past users believed COC could diminish the ovarian reserve more permanently. Conversely, 14% current and 11% past users believed that lack of ovulation could ‘spare’ the eggs (OR = 0.9, 95% CI 0.7–1.3). Significantly fewer current users (22%) vs. past users (35%) had heard, primarily by female friends, that a short break of 1–2 months during long-term COC usage was healthy, (OR 0.72, 95%CI = 0.56–0.92).

Conclusions: Health care professionals prescribing hormonal contraception should be aware of misapprehensions and concerns of fertility among users of COC.

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