Taking oral contraceptive does not affect a woman's ability to conceive after she stops it, reveals a study.
The study led by German researchers showed that neither the length of time the pill was taken nor the type of hormones used had an affect on pregnancy rates.
In the European Active Surveillance Study on Oral Contraceptives, the researchers followed 60,000 European women for five years.
The findings revealed that 21 per cent became pregnant one cycle after stopping contraceptive use.
After three cycles, the rate of pregnancy had increased to 45.7 per cent, and at one year (13 cycles) 79.4 per cent were pregnant.
On the other hand, one in five women who did not conceived in the first 12 months, 45 per cent did so in the second year (26 cycles) after stopping the pill, giving an overall success rate of 88.3 per cent.
However, researchers from Bayer Schering Pharma and ZEG-Centre for Epidemiology and Health Research in Berlin did admit that women who had been using the pill for a long time did have a slightly lower rate of pregnancy than those who had used it for a short period, but this was due to the effect of age, not long-term contraceptive use.
The rates of pregnancy were reduced in women older than 35 and in smokers.
"Because of their high efficacy, there is a perception by some women that the use of oral contraceptives may be associated with an impairment in fertility after their discontinuation," the NZPA quoted the researchers as saying.
"These findings suggest that previous oral contraceptive use does not negatively affect the rate of pregnancy," they added.
The findings of the study have been published in the US journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.