Birth control usage in the U.S.

As of 2013, 61.7 percent of the 60.9 million women ages 15-44 in the U.S. were using contraception.

The most common forms of birth control include birth-control pills, female sterilization, male condoms and long-acting reversible contraceptives, according to data from the 2011-13 National Survey for Family Growth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Roughly 6 percent of married women ages 15-44 in the U.S. are infertile, and 12.3 percent of all women in the same age bracket struggle to get pregnant or carry a baby to term, according to the CDC.

However, birth control is not to blame for these statistics, said Mike Clark, Lone Star College-Kingwood Biology Department chairman.

“If anything, some believe, once you get off the pill, it might actually increase your fertility rate,” he said.

Dr. Blake Berryhill, an OB-GYN affiliated with Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital, also said birth control methods today have little to no effect on fertility. 

“It is not the birth control that causes fertility issues, but the underlying issues the birth control may have been treating,” Berryhill said. “For women that have been on birth control for a while, it may have been masking fertility issues they [already] have.”

Birth-control pills include progestin, which is what prevents pregnancy, and estrogen, which prevents breakthrough bleeding throughout the month, Clark said. However, the pill is often used for other medical reasons.

“The birth-control pill is not just used for contraception,” Clark said. “When it first started out, it was to control menstrual periods. A lot of OB-GYNs use it to control menstrual periods, polycystic ovary disease [and] dysmenorrhea, which is pain.”

Aside from male or female sterilization, there are not any contraceptives in the marketplace known to negatively impact fertility, Berryhill said.

Birth control usage in the U.S.

By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.