Some women get pregnant quickly with their first child but then struggle to conceive again. If you are reading this article, it definitely means you are trying to look for answers, support and hope that you can move in the right direction with your infertility issues despite having conceived before.
What Is Secondary Infertility?
The situation tends to catch you off guard since you have been pregnant before. Fertility issues will be the last thing on your mind. Despite that, the condition is more common than you think.
There are two types of fertility – primary and secondary. Primary infertility applies to anyone who has not been able to conceive at all despite having tried for a year or so if the female partner is over 35 years of age. Secondary infertility, on the other hand, applies to anyone who has successfully conceived before but is having trouble with subsequent conceptions in the future.
Secondary infertility can be both surprising and stressful. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, millions of couples are affected by secondary infertility. But being one of the millions does not make secondary infertility any less complicated.
Causes For Secondary Infertility
The causes for secondary infertility range from uterine conditions, insufficient sperm parameters, and complications from previous pregnancies to age, weight, and other lifestyle and medical conditions.
Ovarian Reserve: Women are born with a certain number of eggs, which declines over time. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to reserve the effects of ageing on the eggs, and there is no way to regenerate eggs. AS women get older, there is a decline in both the egg number and egg quality. So, older women are left with a smaller pool of eggs, and of that remaining pool, there is a higher proportion of genetically abnormal eggs. This results in a lower pregnancy rate and an increased miscarriage rate. These effects become more pronounced after the age of 35.
Tubular Factor: The fallopian tubes can be blocked by mucus and debris. They can also be impacted by the previous history of multiple pelvic surgeries, pelvic infections, and endometriosis. It is imperative to evaluate the fallopian tubes in the workup for secondary infertility.
Uterine Factor: The uterus is also an essential part of the evaluation. It needs to be evaluated for fibroids, polyps, and adhesions. If the patient had a previous history of miscarriage and had a DNC, the uterus is at risk of having adhesions or retained placenta.
Egg & Sperm Quality: If egg quality in women deteriorates over time, even sperm quality in men can suffer. Like in primary infertility, it is always advised that when a couple is suffering from secondary infertility issues, they should always get the egg and sperm quality checked.
Treatment Options for Secondary Infertility
The treatment options for secondary infertility are specific to the problem. The couple is tested to figure out what the issue might be. Women are tested for egg reserve, and ultrasound is conducted to check how the uterus is. For men, a semen analysis is performed. Depending on a combination of factors for the couple and determining which factors are causing infertility, the treatment is decided.
The treatment options could include:
- Ovulation induction
- Donor Gametes
What Can You Do to Treat Secondary Infertility?
There are a few things that even you can do treat secondary infertility.
The first and foremost is to maintain a healthy diet. Keeping your weight down is essential. Ensure that your BMI is between 18 to 23. This includes both the partners who are trying to conceive.
Exercising daily is also helpful. In fact, doctors recommend 45 minutes of moderate activity be crucial.
Age is an essential factor. Many women who get pregnant later in life are very keen to try quickly for the second baby. This is primarily because of their age. So, considering the first factor, i.e., age and how long a couple has been trying to conceive, are very important for understanding a woman’s fertility status.
A lot of older women often worry about their egg quality. Usually, women have a lot going on in their lives. Most women are working professionals who often have to juggle taking care of their existing child and other household responsibilities. In the midst of all this, they do not nurture themselves enough. Taking care of the diet and nutrition is extremely important.
You should also consider taking supplements. Alongside a healthy diet, you could also look into taking multivitamins and minerals and Omega3. Inositol and folate can also be considered.
Perhaps one of the most important things you need to think about is making time for yourself. If you are a working mother, you are almost always exhausted. You need to catch on your sleep and make some time for yourself, just to build up some of these reserves.
In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of secondary infertility cases. While the primary pregnancy can be natural and sometimes through IVF, many issues crop up when it comes to conceiving for a second time. Usually, it is because of a hectic lifestyle, lack of cohabitation, decreased sperm count, or reduced egg quality.
The Way Forward
Fertility experts usually advise couples, women under 35 years, to try to conceive naturally for a year before consulting a doctor. In the case of women between the ages of 35 to 39 years, experts recommend trying for six months before consulting a doctor. The times where it is recommended to see the fertility specialists right away are:
- if you are 40 years and above
- if you have irregular cycles since that may be an indication that you are not ovulating regularly
- if you have a known history of endometriosis or severe pain with menstruation or severe pain with intercourse
- if you have a known male factor
While secondary infertility can be challenging to deal with, the advances of modern medicines and invaluable advice and guidance from fertility experts ensure that you do not handle it alone.
Planning for IUI or IVF?
Fertility treatment options differ from couple to couple and individual to individual including factors like Age, Egg Count, Sperm count etc. Getting the right medical advice and treatment option will save you money, time, stress and allow reach parenthood dreams earlier. Reach out to MotherToBe Fertility center in Hyderabad, headed by Dr. Vyjayanthi [KIMS Infertility HOD] providing latest cutting edge fertility treatments including IUI IMSI ICSI FET IVF to hasten parenthood dreams. Recommended by multiple Gynecologists in the city for infertility treatments. Check our reviews as well.
Looking for a Recommendation?
If you considering treatment for your secondary infertility issues, consider speaking to Dr Vyjayanthi, Lead Clinician at MotherToBe, a leading Fertility Clinic in Hyderabad. With a long and positive reputation in this field, Dr Vyjayanthi is assisted by a team of prasticed and senior clinicians and fertility specialists that ensures that your fertility treatment is a stress-free experience as much as possible.
Read more : WHAT TO EXPECT DURING IVF TREATMENT?