Secondary Infertility : What is it and Why does it happen

‘Secondary infertility’ adds up to about 20-30 per cent cases of total infertility cases that happens in India. As per reports  instances of women facing problems getting pregnant for the second time is a growing concern especially in urban India.

I already have a child, so why can’t I get pregnant again?……you are facing Secondary Infertility

We have a kind of thought process that goes like, if you succeed with first pregnancy then it would happen naturally second time too….but this not be the case. The fact is, it is extremely difficult for couples to believe that they will have to take some medical intervention to become parents again.

Secondary Infertility is defined as “When a woman is unable to bear a child, either due to the inability to become pregnant or the inability to carry a pregnancy to a live birth following either a previous pregnancy or a previous ability to carry a pregnancy to a live birth.”

So this includes women

Who repeatedly and spontaneously miscarry

Whose pregnancy results in a stillbirth

Are unable to carry pregnancy to a live birth (failed/successful first pregnancy)

Secondary infertility:  Why does it happen?

Female Reproductive age is the main culprit. With age, chance of  getting pregnant naturally diminishes. Women are born with all of the eggs (oocytes) they will ever have. As women age their ovarian reserve diminishes, which means that their egg quantity and quality decreases with time.

Status of the pelvic organs. Presence of fibroid or a polyp in uterus could be the trouble maker

About one-third of infertility cases are related to male infertility. It could be due to low or absent sperm count, problems with sperm shape or problems with sperm motility

Weight too could be the problem. Being over or underweight alters ovulation in women. It also can impact sperm health in men.

Lifestyle diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and even depression can lead to secondary infertility

The everyday stress of being a parent can also be a contributing factor. Sleep deprivation,  busy household, managing a toddler  all can add to it.

Secondary infertility

Secondary Infertility Treatment Options

Treatment option does not mean head straight to IVF clinic. The truth is many fertility treatment options are available like infertility medications to intrauterine insemination. But the key point is more you delay, more difficult it’s going to be. Medical team suggests that couple should meet fertility specialist if they are unable to get pregnant again after six months of trying if they are over 35, or one year of trying if they are under 35. 

Very much like primary infertility, secondary infertility screening will also include looking for hormonal, environmental, immunological and physiological causes.

Semen Analysis – Male patients will have to go for semen analysis to determine motility and sperm count

Female check up – This would include ultrasounds to determine whether ovulation and egg release is happening normally,  X-ray to look for blocked fallopian tubes etc

Once detailed check up and discussion are carried out expert could suggest the treatment procedure.

This could start with

Nutritional Care – Couple will be provided with education and strategies on how to optimize health for conception and pregnancy. Special diet plans would be drawn for couples who have lifestyle diseases.

Followed by

Drug care – The next step would involve fertility medication (medicine +/-hormone treatment) or drugs in combination with intrauterine insemination.  Intrauterine insemination is a form of artificial insemination that involves placing a concentrated semen sample in your uterine cavity to improve chances of conception.

If not

Couples will have to go for in vitro methods like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Reproductive Surgery, Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) or Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)

One thing to be understood is going through Secondary infertility is as tough as Primary infertility. Emotional well being and Family support is essential for this journey to become successful.

Secondary Infertility

As the world celebrates the International Women’s Day, we the bunch of bloggers have come together with Neha from Sharing our experiences, Deepali from myteenytot and Anubhuti from  criesnlaughter.

I am very thankful to Amitoj Kaur from Doctor Enjoying Motherhood for introducing me in her blog and now I would like to introduce Neha Sharma from Growing with Nemit.

7 Responses

  1. alpanadeo says:

    That’s a very helpful information. In most of the cases doctors consultation is very much needed. Age factor definitely plays a very important role.

  2. Gunjan says:

    Thanks for sharing such in formative post. I always suggest to get an examination done before a couple starts planning. This a applicable for both men and women as we all face issues due to busy lifestyles

  3. Amitoj Kaur says:

    Very informative post.. Age factor and stressful lifestyles surely lead to problems such as secondary infertility. .

  4. Neha Sharma says:

    Thanks Hena, for sharing this super informative post. I had no idea about secondary infertility. You have explained it in such a manner that a layman will also understand it easily. Worth sharing.

  5. reetuzgravatar says:

    Interesting article, Hena. Very relevant in the age we live in.

  6. Neha gupta says:

    That is a very helpful article Hena. and something I was completely unaware of. Thanks for talking about it and sharing useful information.

  1. March 16, 2018

    […] would like to thank Hena Jose for introducing me in her blog post Science and Samosa and I would further like to introduce Jayshree Ghosh who blogs at She Says It. So, hop on this […]

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