Secondary Infertility: Causes & Treatment Options

Your baby is finally sleeping through the night, and you and you partner feel like you’ve gotten this whole parenting thing down. Together, you decide it is the perfect time to talk about having baby number two. You prepare, question, and decide you are ready to start trying. Fast forward one year later and you still aren’t pregnant. You start to question what is going on. You think back to your first pregnancy, and how you conceived after just two months. But now what? What has changed between you or your partner that is preventing you from getting pregnant?

Mother looking out a window while holding her toddler

Many women who don’t experience any issues getting pregnant with their first child may find it more difficult to get pregnant again. The inability to conceive after having had a child or children without difficulty in the past is called secondary infertility. While a complete workup is necessary to determine what the best treatment may be, secondary fertility can often be treated with fertility treatments.

What can cause secondary infertility?

The causes of secondary infertility are nearly identical to primary infertility and just as common, with 1 in 8 couples being affected. Secondary infertility can be caused by either or both partners. Common causes include age, egg quality or quantity, sperm count, shape, or movement, damaged fallopian tubes, uterine factors, and lifestyle changes.

As one gets older, their egg supply slowly decreases and the quality of the remaining eggs decreases as well. The combination of these two factors can play a major role in the chance of conceiving without medical intervention. A second factor is the type of delivery one had during the previous pregnancy. Scarring from a previous cesarean delivery may impact both the uterus and the fallopian tubes, which could make it more difficult to conceive.

If you are struggling with secondary infertility, you should seek assistance from a Reproductive Endocrinologist if you are under 35 years old and trying to conceive for 12 months or if you are 35 years old or older and been trying for 6 months. Note, that this is just a guideline. If you have a history of infertility or premature ovarian failure in your family or if you’re just worried, make an appointment.

With proper fertility testing and diagnosis, you and your doctor can help determine the best treatment for your family. And always remember you are not alone and at IRMS we are here to help you throughout your entire journey.

Still have more questions or want to start an evaluation? Be sure to make an appointment by calling us at 732.943.7169 or by visiting us on our website. You can also reach out to me on Instagram @dr.barryevan.

Barry Perlman, DO earned his medical degree from Rowan University as the valedictorian of the class of 2014. He graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in Molecular Biology. Dr. Perlman completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Following his time as Chief Resident, Dr. Perlman finished his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School. He is an attending physician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

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