The news of Kim Kardashian's pregnancy is all over the tabloids and mainstream media. No one expected to be reading about Kim Kardashian having a baby with Kanye West so soon after the couple started dating, but that is exactly what happened. According to interviews with Kim and an episode of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Kim faced fertility problems, including suppressed hormones and diminished egg supply, thanks to years of taking the birth control pill. But is Kim telling the truth about her fertility problems?
Do Birth Control Pills Suppress Hormones?
Birth control pills supply estrogen, progesterone or a combination of the two hormones in order to stop ovulation. Ovulation requires increased levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), however, birth control pills prevent these hormones from peaking so ovulation never happens. Birth control pills, therefore, do suppress FSH and LH, but does this suppression lead to infertility as Kardashian’s doctor claimed?
There is no medical evidence that taking birth control pills affects fertility. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to take birth control pills at the same time each day. Missing one or two pills is enough to counteract the protective benefits of birth control resulting in pregnancy after unprotected sex. If Kim's blood tests were completed while she was taking birth control, FSH and LH levels would be suppressed due to the daily dose of estrogen and/or progesterone. The whole purpose of birth control is to suppress fertility while taking the pill.
Does Birth Control Affect Egg Quantity?
Another claim made by Kim is that tests revealed she had the eggs of a 50-year-old. Women are born with a set number of eggs and birth control pills prevent ovulation; without ovulation, eggs are not matured and released. The entire time Kim was on birth control, the pills were protecting her egg supply, not diminishing it.
While the world is abuzz with news of the West/Kardashian baby, due in July 2013, there is a ton of misinformation coming out about infertility, fertility and birth control use. Doctors and experts agree that women can take birth control as long as desired, so long as they are healthy and do not smoke. There is even research suggesting birth control promotes overall health by reducing risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer for some women.