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Secondary Infertility: What Are Some Causes and Treatment Options for Secondary Infertility

Updated on August 25, 2010

Secondary Infertility: What is it?

Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term after having one or more children. Secondary infertility is more common than most people think, as it accounts for over 60% of all infertility cases. Most people assume that if you already have one child that proves that you are fertile and you should not have a problem having another. However, it often turns out not to be the case.

Secondary Infertility Causes

Causes of secondary infertility are mostly the same as for primary infertility.

Problems with egg quality, ovulation, lowered ovarian reserve, blocked tubes endometriosis, uterine fibroids and uterine polyps are most often the reasons. In addition, the man may have issues with semen quality and ejaculation.

Your age is an additional factor, as your fertility (especially egg quality in women, but also semen quality in men) decreases as you get older.

Coping with Secondary Infertility

There is a false but common belief that once you are fertile, you'll always be fertile, and that if you just "keep trying",eventually it will happen. Even some doctors share this attitude. This belief makes the couples who experience secondary infertility much less likely to get proper treatment.

Couples suffering from secondary infertiliy usually do not get the support that they need from their family and friends. Some couples may even find that others criticize them for being ungrateful for the child or children they already have. They may hear comments, like "You have a wonderful child. What are you complaining about?" or "You have great kids already. Why do you need more?" This makes the secondary infertility even more difficult.

Whether or not you decide to get treatment, it may be helpful to try therapy or join a support group to find better ways to cope with the problem. Joining therapy groups is a good way to find support in difficult times.

Secondary Infertility: Treatment Options

At what point should a couple seek help from a fertility specialist?

Couples who have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive a child for one year should go and seek help of a specialist. Women in their late 30s or early 40s, you should do that even sooner - after 6 months or so of regular, well-timed, unprotected sex.

You should also consult a doctor if you have had multiple (2 or more) miscarriages, your periods are not regular and/or very painful, if you have burning vaginal discharge. In men, lower sex drive, painful ejaculations and impotence are also signs of problems that require consultation with a specialist.

For initial consultation, you should schedule an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist or to a GP or ob-gyn with experience doing fertility work-ups (confirmation of ovulation, semen-quality analysis, etc.).

The treatment options are the same as for primary infertility: intrauterine insemination and IVF process. Look for a clinic that offers a full range of services and special procedures, but not so big that you feel lost.

In additional to conventional treatments, read the book "Inconceivable" by Julia Indichova and get inspired!

Recommended Reading For Infertility

Inconceivable, 20th Anniversary Edition: A Woman's Triumph over Despair and Statistics
Inconceivable, 20th Anniversary Edition: A Woman's Triumph over Despair and Statistics

At a time when more and more women are trying to get pregnant at increasingly advanced ages, fertility specialists and homeopathic researchers boast endless treatment options. But when Julia Indichova made the rounds of medical doctors and nontraditional healers, she was still unable to conceive a child. It was only when she forsook their financially and emotionally draining advice, turning inward instead, that she finally met with reproductive success. Inconceivable recounts this journey from hopeless diagnoses to elated motherhood.



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