Contraceptive Pearl: When to Stop Using Contraception

Many people stop using contraception at age 40 because they believe they can’t get pregnant. However, infertility rates for women over 40 are lower than we might expect: about 17% at age 40, 55% at age 45, and 95% at age 50. 

Patients may safely stop using contraception after menopause. This means, 12 months without a period for people over age 50, and 24 months without a period for people under 50. 

How do we know that hormonal contraception users have reached menopause? Those using a progestin-only method may continue until age 55. Patients using an estrogen-containing method may continue use until ages 40-55 (depending on their cardiovascular risk factors). If needed, these patients may switch to a progestin-only or non-hormonal method until age 55. 


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