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What Is Secondary Infertility?

Many people believe that once you have had at least one child, you are fertile and will have no problems conceiving again. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Infertility does not discriminate and can strike anyone at anytime throughout their childbearing years. Secondary infertility is very common. In fact, it accounts for more than half of all infertility cases. Still, many people fail to recognize this as a serious infertility problem.

What Is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility is technically defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after successfully conceiving one or more children. Unlike those experiencing difficulty having their first child, people who are affected by secondary infertility are much less likely to seek infertility treatments. This is largely due to the misconception that once you are fertile, you are always fertile. Many people in this situation are told that they have nothing to worry about, just keep trying, and eventually it will happen. However, this type of advice only adds to the frustration and heartache felt by families.

What Causes Secondary Infertility?

The reasons for secondary infertility tend to be all the same reasons for primary infertility, including ovulation problems, endometriosis, uterine abnormalities, and male factor infertility. And the testing and diagnosis process is identical too. Further complicating matters is now you are a few years older since you were pregnant so your egg quality may have begun decreasing and/or your partner’s sperm may not be what it once was, particularly with regard to motility and morphology.

When Should I See a Fertility Doctor?

It’s always a good idea to see a fertility doctor whenever you are having difficulty getting pregnant. The typical rule of thumb is if you are under 35 and aren’t pregnant within a year of actively trying or within 6 months if you are over 35, go see a fertility specialist. If you have experienced two or more miscarriages, have a history of sexually transmitted infections, have irregular periods, or have especially painful periods, you should make that appointment even sooner.

If you are trying to get pregnant again and it's not happening, schedule an appointment with a fertility doctor. He or she can diagnose the cause of your problem, and develop a treatment plan to help you grow your family.


Comments (2)

Hi, im 28 and i had my first child when i was 19, no complications with him. Ive had 2 stds one @ 23 and the other @ 25 from the same man, btw we are no longer together. Also I have had 2 episodes which resulted in hospitalization from ovarian cyst(3-5cm) which they just monitored. Also i had 2 be put on BC for 4 month because i had dysmenorrhea. So now @ 28 im ttc and its been 2yrs without any luck. ive been told by my ob/gyn that evrything is normal(hormone testing & ultasounds) so why am i not concieving? Is it because my periods are consistent?(may 18, 2011; june 20,2011; july 22,2011; aug 27,2011)....ANY SUGGESTIONS?

Hi - If you've been trying to get pregnant for two years, you really need to transition from your ob/gyn to a fertility doctor, also called a Reproductive Endocrinologist. A fertility doctor has advanced training, and will do more thorough testing to determine why you are not getting pregnant, and will provide fertility treatment if necessary. Click here to find a fertility doctor in your area.

Best of luck,

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