Struggling to conceive a second time? What you should know about Secondary Infertility
What to know about Secondary Infertility
If you have experienced a successful pregnancy but currently struggle to conceive, you may be experiencing Secondary Infertility. Many hear “infertility” and think it can’t possibly apply if they already have a child. Secondary infertility is a real condition that poses a unique set of physical, emotional, and psychological difficulties. Couples often feel isolated from the primary infertility community because they already have a child. Yet, this does not (and should not!) diminish the experience, guilt and pain of infertility.
Signs of Secondary Infertility
Many factors contribute to secondary infertility. Some of the most common causes and signs of secondary infertility include:
- Age-related factors: As a woman ages, her fertility gradually declines. Advanced maternal age is linked to diminished ovarian capacity, hormonal imbalances, and an increased risk of medical conditions such as uterine fibroids.
- Changes in health status: What’s going on under the surface? What has your body experienced since your last pregnancy? What about your partner? Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) affect female fertility. Low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or structural abnormalities affect male fertility.
- Previous pregnancy or delivery complications: A patient’s medical history through prior pregnancies is important to consider. Complications such as uterine infections, miscarriage, or a previous C-section could make it more difficult to conceive again.
- Abdominal Operations: Pelvic adhesions and tubal problems caused by prior abdominal operations such as appendectomy or tubal surgery affect female reproductive capabilities.
- Lifestyle factors: Fertility is linked to overall health. Factors such as nutrition, weight, activity levels and stress all factor into your ability to conceive. Additionally, patients and their providers should assess exposure to environmental toxins, substance abuse, and medications.
Diagnosing Secondary Infertility
To diagnose secondary infertility, you should see a fertility expert to best analyze the full picture of your health. In my first appointment with a patient, I dive into their medical history. Many causes of secondary infertility are determined by looking at those details alone.
If needed, we leverage fertility testing in males and females for more insight. I always start with the least invasive imaging option. At IVFMD, we believe knowledge is power and we work closely with you to determine which testing and treatment journey is right for you.