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Secondary Infertility: The Reason Why You Can’t Get Pregnant Again
You’ve tasted the joy and bliss of being a parent. You’ve successfully carried to term and probably had an uneventful pregnancy and delivery. Conception seemed too easy. The pregnancy journey was a breeze. Delivery was all bubbles and joy. However, it’s been a few years, and getting pregnant again is beginning to feel like a chore.
Secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term after previously giving birth to a baby. While it isn’t uncommon, the good news is that you’re more likely to have a successful second pregnancy if you already have a child.
Millions of couples around the world struggle with secondary infertility.
“Doctor, why is this happening?”
What are the causes of secondary infertility? After all, everything worked right the first time. Let’s look at some causes below:
- Impaired sperm production, function, or delivery in men
- Fallopian tube damage, ovulation disorders, endometriosis, and uterine conditions in women
- Complications related to prior pregnancy or surgery
- Risk factor changes for you or your partner, such as age, weight, and use of certain medications
Are the main causes of male or female origin?
“Doctor, is it me or my partner?”
No stigma here! Just as with primary infertility, secondary infertility can be traced to either partner or both partners. About one-third of cases originate in women and about one-third originate in men. In the remaining one-third, the cause is due to a combination of factors or isn’t known.
Other risk factors
“Aside from who could be at fault, is there any other reason why we may not be getting pregnant again?”
For women who are trying for a second child, if you are below the age of 35 and pregnancy still hasn’t happened after trying for a while, consult a fertility specialist as soon as possible.
Some women are older than 35 when they start trying for their second child (for social, career, academic or health reasons). That could be a factor for the delay because fertility starts to decline rapidly after the age of 35. Other risks factors also come to play such as infrequent periods.
Whatever the case may be for you, the earlier it is discussed with a specialist, the faster your chances of addressing the issue.
Does secondary infertility affect couples emotionally?
“This is a lot to deal with, because I had no problems having my first child, and now, she’s already 8 years old!”
Infertility can be a devastating disease with a high emotional toll on individuals and couples, let alone secondary infertility. A range of emotions might brew up between both partners, including anger, sadness, grief, guilt, and loneliness. In our part of the world, many still speak without being sensitive towards couples with secondary infertility, asking questions such as, “when are you having the next one?“, or “make it snappy and give your first child a sibling.”
Dear reader, please be careful what you say to someone who has one child and seems like they’re not getting pregnant with the second. You don’t have a clue what they are going through.
Couples with secondary infertility need support emotionally and will benefit from support groups or a mental health counselor.
What can be done?
“Okay doctor, what’s the way forward, please? What needs to be done?”
As we always love to say, it takes two to tango. Depending on the circumstances, both you and your partner would need medical evaluations. This will help your doctor determine whether there’s an issue that will need further interventions or treatment at a fertility clinic.
Just like primary infertility, no one expects secondary infertility. It comes as a surprise particularly if you had your first child easy peasy. Don’t try to cope alone. Seek support from your partner, family, and friends as you talk to your health care provider about the next steps.
Are you dealing with secondary infertility presently? We want you to know that our team is more than happy to help you on your journey to parenthood.
If you have any questions or concerns, please use the comment section below.
Got more private issues and would love to talk to a fertility specialist? Please do not hesitate to contact us at www.wellfert.com and you can fill our free online fertility assessment form.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, Web MD