If you are starting to think about having children in the near future, you will need to consider the contraception you are currently using.
Some types of contraception affect your fertility for some time even after you stop using them. Other types allow your fertility to return as soon as you stop using them.
If you and your partner use condoms (female or male condoms) to prevent pregnancy, all you need to do is stop using them.
Using condoms, with or without a form of hormonal contraception, is a bonus as they protect you from STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. These can lead to infertility if left untreated.
Whether you use the combined or the progestogen-only pill, you can get pregnant as soon as you stop taking it.
To give yourself time to get to know your body and to monitor your cycle so that later you can time sex for when you are most fertile, you should wait a month after stopping your pill for your cycle to return to its normal pattern – use condoms in the meantime.
These methods of contraception are often referred to as LARCs (long-acting reversible contraception) and they aren’t called “reversible” for nothing - as soon as you have your IUD, Mirena, or contraceptive implant removed, you could get pregnant.
Depo Provera injection
If you’re using Depo Provera, you should stop getting your injections well before you want to get pregnant, and switch to another shorter acting method of contraception such as condoms or the pill.
Some women won’t ovulate (release an egg) for many months after they stop using Depo, some will begin to ovulate straight away, and others will start after just a few months.
Each woman is different, and you can’t predict how long it will take for your fertility to return, so if children are on your horizon, it’s a good idea to give yourself some time for your fertility to come back.
Vasectomy should always be considered a permanent method of contraception.
While it is possible to have a vasectomy reversed, it is important to know that it is not always successful. Reversal can be expensive and will mean you need to see a specialist. The more time that has passed since the vasectomy, the more difficult a reversal will be.
When you are trying to start a family, we recommend that you:
- Avoid alcohol
- Start taking folic acid tablets before you conceive. Folic acid prevents your baby from developing spina bifida
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