Finding Solutions For Secondary Infertility
For most of society, infertility is a condition that’s only relegated to women that aren’t able to ever conceive a child. However, infertility can occur at any point and at any life stage. For example, some couples may have no trouble getting pregnant with a first child, but then struggle when trying for a second baby. When such a scenario occurs, the condition is known as secondary infertility. While the diagnosis can be difficult, treatment is available.
Dealing with secondary infertility can be frustrating since a woman or couple knows that once upon a time, conception was possible. Just like people dealing with primary infertility, a variety of factors can make getting pregnant the second time around a more difficult ordeal. Sometimes physical issues like scarring or damage in the fallopian tubes can block the egg from traveling to the uterus. Likewise, endometrial scarring can damage reproductive organs and diminish ovulation chances. For men, sperm quality might decline over time. With both partners, being older might also be a significant issue that causes diminished fertility.
Lifestyle factors affecting fertility
Sometimes secondary infertility can be due to lifestyle factors or underlying health concerns. For example, breastfeeding women often don’t ovulate since the act of nursing sends a signal to the body to stop releasing eggs. An easy workaround for this scenario would be to cease lactation. Similarly, issues such as weight gain, changing food choices, or even taking prescription medications might delay or influence fertility. An untreated infection or chronic condition like diabetes or thyroid disease can also negatively influence fertility.
When to seek help
Knowing when to get professional help for secondary infertility often depends on a patient’s age. For people ages 35 and younger, a year of unsuccessful trying is the benchmark for meeting with a fertility specialist that will look for physical or other scenarios that might be delaying pregnancy. For women and couples older than 35, consistently trying for 6 months without success is the usual recommendation before scheduling an appointment with a specialist.
Treating secondary infertility
For most individuals seeking help for secondary infertility treatment tends to include the same options that would be offered in primary infertility. After checking for underlying health or fertility issues, a participant’s age will also be used to guide recommendations. Women may be given ovulation stimulants, encouraged to try intrauterine insemination (IUI), or attempt in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant. If physical issues like blockage or damage are preventing eggs or sperm from moving, a specialist might recommend corrective surgeries. Being diagnosed with secondary infertility doesn’t mean a person can’t have a child. However, fertility interventions may be necessary to help a woman conceive again.