Here's What You Should Know About Secondary Infertility - Monica Bivas

Here’s What You Should Know About Secondary Infertility

Dec 6, 2021 | Fertility Stories

You can have a perfect first pregnancy without issues conceiving but be unable to accommodate a second baby. Primary infertility is a much-discussed subject. It is no longer a taboo topic or a silent issue. Nowadays, couples that are facing this problem tend to share their experiences and seek help. However, secondary infertility is not discussed on the same scale, and it carries stigmas and misunderstandings.

This issue may be caused by either the woman or man, and it is more common than you can think. So, if you have conceived and plan to have more kids, pay attention to the signs. 

What Is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive or carry a baby to full-term after you have had a successful pregnancy in the past. When your first pregnancy occurs naturally without the help of treatments, but your second pregnancy is unsuccessful with you not being able to conceive for six months to a year, it is classified as secondary infertility. On the other hand, even when couples conceive, they can be unable to carry the pregnancy to term, going through recurrent pregnancy loss.

Indeed, some couples experience more secondary infertility than primary infertility, but the fact is that the primary is more discussed. It is not by chance that there is much more information about primary infertility.


Causes Of Secondary Infertility

Here's what you should know about secondary infertility

Secondary infertility causes can be a combination of known or unknown factors affecting both women and men. Some agents of secondary infertility in women include:

Age: A woman’s peak fertility begins at age 25 and decreases between ages 30 and 40. After a certain age, the numbers of eggs left in women’s ovaries decrease, and consequently, so does their quality. Due to this, women are more likely to develop some problems like fibroids and endometriosis.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: It is also known as PCOS. It is a hormonal disorder that affects the normal development of your eggs. In this condition, women have an excessive number of male hormones, which interferes with the work of the ovaries. 

Complications from a prior pregnancy or surgery: If you had some difficulties from a previous pregnancy, that could affect your current pregnancy. 

Weight: Obesity, diabetes, or other disorders related to weight can be an issue for women. Sometimes, being overweight or underweight contributes to irregular periods, ovulation difficulties, or conditions that affect conception.

Some medications or unhealthy habits: Alcohol abuse, smoking, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and other unhealthy habits can contribute to pregnancy failure.

Additionally, men may also be responsible for secondary infertility due to causes like:

  • Impaired sperm production;
  • Abnormal sperm production, delivery, or function;
  • Genital infections;
  • Overweight or underweight;
  • Emotional stress;
  • Injury to urinary or genital organs;
  • Testicular varicocele;
  • Prostate removal;
  • Poor-quality semen.

What Are The Symptoms Of Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility symptoms are similar to other types of infertility and share many of the same signs. 

The first sign, and more evidence, is not achieving the conception goal after six months to a year of trying. If you are younger than 35 years old and have been trying for a year, it is better to see your doctor or a fertility specialist. If you are older than 35, it is recommended to seek help after six months of trying to conceive without protection. If you have 40 years old, you should talk to your doctor before thinking about conceiving. 

Other signs may trouble you in regards to infertility, like pain during sex or irregular periods.

If you are experiencing any of the disorders mentioned above, you should pay attention to other signs and see your doctor. 

What Is The Treatment For Secondary Infertility?

Here's what you should know about secondary infertility

When you decide to make an appointment with your doctor, you will need to answer many questions to determine what has changed in your life since previous pregnancies. It is expected you take some blood tests, ultrasounds tests, an X-ray to look for blocked fallopian tubes, and a semen analysis to measure sperm quantity and quality. After that and depending on your age, causes of secondary infertility, and some personal decisions, some possible treatments include:

Medication: Fertility medication helps to deliver different hormones, which improves ovulation.

Surgery: Soe uterus problems can be treated through surgeries. In cases of secondary infertility caused by men, the surgery can repair the testicular varicocele.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI): Also called artificial insemination. This surgery involves inserting sperm inside a woman’s uterus, increasing the chance of fertilization.

In vitro fertilization (IVF): This procedure consists of daily injections to stimulate the ovaries. The eggs are fertilized and retrieved to increase the chances of pregnancy.

Lifestyle changes: Reduce alcohol consumption, stop smoking, have a healthy diet, and practice exercise daily – the chances of getting pregnant increase in healthier couples.

Many couples can fix secondary infertility through some of these treatments if they act quickly.

Tips For Coping With Secondary Infertility

When getting pregnant doesn’t happen as naturally as before, couples may feel shocked, guilty, and depressed, especially those thinking it is getting “too late” to conceive. Many struggling with secondary infertility may feel they lost their “last chance” to conceive, and this feeling is not easy to cope with. 

See the tips below. They might help you deal with secondary infertility:

Accept your feelings: It is normal to feel anger, anxiety, depression, or sadness. Don’t repress your feelings. Instead, accept them.

Talk it out: Talk about your feelings to someone who cares about you. Sometimes, talking about your feelings and emotions helps you release and receive the support you need. 

Spend quality time with your child: Enjoy the time with your child. It is normal if you feel upset or sad. Try to keep normalcy as best as possible, for you, for your child, and for the family you already have.

Connect with your partner: Spend time with your partner talking about your feelings and secondary infertility. If you are tired of talking about it, plan a date and enjoy the moment. 

Infertility (primary or secondary) can be a devastating disease in physical and psychological terms. Fortunately, there are several treatments to increase fertility or to induce fertilization. However, even if these treatments don’t solve the problem, you can follow the tips above to cope with infertility. It is also helpful to seek professional help dealing with your feelings.

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