Fertility Facts: Secondary Infertility Happens More Often Than You Might Think

Secondary infertility is more common than you might think.

What is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy following the birth of one or more biological children what were conceived without the assistance of reproductive technology or fertility medication. In other words, you had no trouble conceiving before, but are now suddenly not having any luck.

Secondary infertility is significantly more common than many people might think. With over 7 million people estimated to have infertility, reports suggest as many as half of those cases are due to secondary infertility.

Why would I have Secondary Infertility?

For many couples, the answer is rather simple, you are older. For couples that conceived easily in their twenties and then wait several years may be surprised that they have trouble conceiving. If it has been a few years since you last conceived, the egg or sperm quality may have decreased. In addition, changes in lifestyle may impact chances of conception… either partner gaining weight, smoking, starting a new medication or experiencing a new health issue since the last pregnancy. Furthermore, there could have been complications with the last pregnancy that might have impacted chances of conception.

Who should I talk to if I suspect Secondary Infertility?

The first step would be to discuss with you OB/GYN any problems you might be having trying to conceive. Secondary infertility could be linked to either partner, so each should have initial fertility testing. Like any suspected infertility, if you are under 35 and been trying to conceive for a year or longer, it is time to consult a fertility specialist. For women 35-40, who have been trying for 6 months without any success, it is time to seek help from a fertility specialist. And for women over 40, as soon as you suspect an issue, consult with a fertility specialist.

Unique Problems with Secondary Infertility?

While the diagnosis and treatment for secondary infertility often mirrors that of primary infertility, patients often have a unique set of issues coping with their diagnosis. Starting from the beginning, physicians and friends alike might encourage you to just keep trying rather than suggest that there might be medical reason for why you aren’t conceiving. And like all fertility patients, the emotional roller-coaster can run the range of grief, anger, guilt, jealousy and a sense of lack of control. In addition, you might be concerned with how your children are coping with your struggle and face people who don’t acknowledge your infertility because you already have a child.

It is important with any infertility diagnosis to be able to talk about your experiences, and better yet talk to someone that is in similar circumstances. Shady Grove Fertility offers free support groups for patients who would like to discuss their experiences with others.

If you think you might be suffering from secondary or any type of infertility, please call our New Patient Center at 1-877-971-7755 or visit us online.