Secondary infertility- An Introduction 

An inability to conceive a child or carry a pregnancy to full term after successfully becoming pregnant at least once before is called secondary infertility. 

While the previous birth must have occurred without help from fertility medications or treatments like in vitro fertilization, Secondary infertility generally is diagnosed after trying unsuccessfully to conceive for six months to a year. 

Secondary infertility just like Primary Infertility can happen due to an issue in the natural process needed to become pregnant. Your and your partner’s fertility can change even after the birth of a child. 

Secondary infertility is just as common as primary infertility and can often be treated with fertility treatment.

CAUSES of Secondary infertility

Having the same causes as primary infertility, the cause of secondary infertility can be traced to either partner or both partners. 

Causes include: 

  • Problems in the quantity or quality of eggs
  • Problems with the fallopian tubes or uterus
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • C-section scarring
  • Infections
  • Fibroids
  • Adhesions or uterine scarring
  • Adhesions or uterine scarring
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Weight gain or other lifestyle changes
  • Reduced testosterone level
  • Poor-quality semen.
  • Prostate enlargement or removal
  • Low or absent sperm count
  •  Problems with sperm shape with sperm movement 
  • Unexplained Reasons 

Signs of Secondary Infertility

When a 35-year-old or a younger woman has had unprotected sex for at least 12 months or six months if older than 35, without getting pregnant, then secondary infertility can be suspected.

This particularly applies to women older than 30 who have encountered pelvic inflammatory disease, painful periods, irregular menstrual cycles, or miscarriages, and to men with low sperm counts.

What should be done? 

When you suspect secondary infertility, immediately schedule an examination with a gynecologist preferably the one who deals with infertility issues.

Early examination is significant to ensure the best treatment options. Some reasons for infertility worsening over time and delaying help reduce the odds of pregnancy success.

The medical history is reviewed by the doctor to determine if anything has changed since the last pregnancy. 

The doctor ascertains whether the woman has experienced irregular & abnormal periods cycles and tries to find out if she is ovulating and producing eggs normally.

For men, some disease or age might have affected sperm count or quality.

The doctor then discusses apparent tests with the couple, like an X-ray of the uterus (called HSG) helps to reveal scarring or abnormalities. A semen analysis may also be ordered by the doctors.

Treatment options for secondary infertility

The treatment options for both Primary and Secondary infertility are almost the same.

  • Medications: These induce ovulation in women with anovulatory disorder.
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI):  The sperm is surgically inserted inside a woman’s uterus, at the time of ovulation, to improve the likelihood of fertilization. Sperm donors can also be used in IUI.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF): It pertains to daily injections that stimulate the ovaries and then sperm and egg are fertilized outside the woman’s body and a resulting embryo is transferred back into the woman’s uterus in hopes of implantation. Egg or sperm donors can be used in IVF too. 
  • Surgery: It may help to repair structural problems in women, such as removing scar tissue, polyps, and fibroids from the uterus. 
  • Surgery in men: To repair testicular varicocele, the condition which is the most surgically correctable cause of male infertility.

 Studies have shown that for patients with secondary infertility, IVF is often the only or most successful fertility treatment option.

Bottom line 

When a couple who has had at least one child, is trying to get pregnant again but doesn’t conceive after at least one year of trying, it is known as Secondary Infertility.

The need for and the line of treatment is the same as someone with primary infertility. 

Dr. Shivani Bhutani at Eva Hospital says that it is as wise to use medical treatments that may help you have the child you desire in Secondary fertility, as it is in Primary Infertility. 

A noted and experienced Infertility Specialist Dr. Shivani has been appropriately counseling couples facing secondary fertility to have successful second pregnancies and children.

For an appointment with the best gynecologist in Ludhiana call 9244900001