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Secondary infertility: Why and when does it happen?

It is always unpleasant to not be able to conceive or have a full-time pregnancy, even if it is for the first or second time in your life. According to a review published in 2018, secondary infertility is the most common form of female infertility, although it is not addressed the same by society. 

Having already successfully conceived one or more children doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when you can conceive again. Most of the time, friends, family, and even doctors may downplay your fertility struggles because after all you already have children. But that’s not the case. Your struggles are real and need to be correctly addressed. Hopefully, there are treatments that can help with secondary infertility, while the most important thing is to find the correct doctor to support you through your fertility journey. 

What is secondary infertility exactly?

It is the inability to conceive or carry a baby to full term after having conceived naturally and given birth in the past. The cause of secondary infertility can be traced to either partner.

If you and your partner have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for six months to a year, even though you’ve had a baby before without fertility treatment, you may have secondary infertility.

Causes of secondary infertility.

As with primary infertility, one-third of the cases are due to the female partner, one-third to the male one, and the other third is linked to both partners or for unknown reasons.

Secondary female infertility causes:

  • Advanced age (ovarian reserve reduces over the age of 35)
  • Endometriosis.
  • Blocked fallopian tubes.
  • PCOS.
  • Recurrent miscarriages.
  • Excessive weight gain.

Secondary male infertility causes:

  • Advanced age (semen quality reduces after the age of 40).
  • Low testosterone levels.
  • Enlarged prostate.
  • Removed prostate.
  • Late-onset hypogonadism (a clinical and biochemical syndrome caused by an age-related decline in testosterone).
  • Excessive weight gain.

Treatment options for secondary infertility.

If you and your partner are trying to conceive for over a year if you are under 35 years old, or over 6 months when you are over 35, seek help. Even if you have conceived in the past, the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be for you to conceive again. Time is not by our side as we’re getting older, that is why we should always consult with a fertility specialist for a better understanding of your situation and needs.

Treatment options for women:

  • Clomid which is an oral medication that stimulates hormones that produce eggs in women with ovulation problems.
  • Uterine surgery that clears unwanted growths in the uterus like scar tissue, polyps, and fibroids that impact fertility.
  • IVF treatment.

Treatment options for men:

  • IUI, a procedure in which sperm is inserted directly into a woman’s uterus, often used when men have low sperm count or poor sperm quality (this is also an option for women with unreceptive cervical mucus). 
  • Testicular surgery, which can repair varicocele.
  • Supplements like antioxidant and anti-aging supplements can increase fertility in men while drug treatment can improve semen quality.

Secondary infertility may cause you to isolate, and produce negative feelings, while not seeking help and support from those who can actually help you. It is no shame to want to conceive again, and you should be able to talk about your fertility struggles, even when you already have children. The pain is real, and there are support groups out there that can help you. Find the right doctor, the one you can trust, talk about your feelings and needs, and never give up.

DM us for any inquiry you have, or book a call with our customer success manager in order to further guide you through your fertility journey.

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Secondary infertility: Why and when does it happen?