Depo Provera is a birth control injection that contains the hormone progestin as its active ingredient. Highly effective, depo Provera may appeal to women who would like a long-term contraceptive that they don't have to remember to take every day and that isn't externally detectable. Depo Provera is suitable for women who cannot take contraceptives containing estrogen. It can also be used by those women who have anemia, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids, unlike methods such as the Mirena IUD.
Depo Provera shots can be administered to the buttocks or upper arm, and healthcare providers recommend getting a depo shot every 12 weeks for maximum efficacy. Not getting a shot every 12 weeks increases your chances of an unwanted pregnancy, but that doesn't mean stopping shots offers an immediate return to fertility.
Does Depo Provera Really Lead To Infertility?
Depo Provera doesn't lead to infertility. It is, however, associated with a delayed return to fertility (ovulation), as compared to other popular forms of hormonal birth control. In other words, depo Provera may work a little too well.
The moral is clear, really: depo Provera can be an excellent contraceptive solution for women and girls who do not want to get pregnant, now or within the next few years. Those women who think there may be a chance that they would like to start trying to conceive within the next two or three years should probably choose an alternative form of birth control. Your options include the Mirena intrauterine system, the Nexplanon birth control implant, and the Paragard non-hormonal intrauterine device.
What Can You Do If You Are Trying To Conceive After Depo Provera?
Though you may read about methods that are supposed to force the hormone contained in depo Provera out of your system faster, it doesn't work that way. Depo Provera can take about a year to fully leave your system, and there's nothing you can do to speed the process along. You'll just have to be patient.
However, what you can do is monitor your body to check for signs of ovulation — so you will know that your ovulation is back as soon as possible, enabling you to step up your TTC efforts. Here's what you can do:
- Talk to your doctor! Tell your healthcare provider that you are trying to have a baby after previously having used depo Provera. A hormone check can give you a clearer picture about your fertility.
- Use ovulation tests, starting on about the seventh day of your menstrual cycle. If you get a positive ovulation test, you are able to get pregnant again.
- Monitor your cervical mucus. Some women don't like this, but it works. Taking a sample of your mucus with your finger each day, you'll be able to see when you are fertile. The menstrual cycle should start off with little mucus, and end with thick, white, creamy mucus. If you get egg-white, stretchy cervical mucus in between, there's a good chance your ovulation is back.
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