Secondary infertility happens when a man and woman are unable to conceive a child after a year of trying, in spite of having children previously without any troubles. Primary infertility is much common than secondary infertility. Based on statistics, 11 out of 100 couples who already conceived a child in the past suffer from secondary infertility. That is more or less four million families or approximately half of all infertility cases. Regrettably, since couples suffering from secondary infertility already have a child, their problems are normally disregarded by their family, friends, and even their doctors. In this article, we will explain in detail on Secondary Infertility Causes, Treatment, Support groups, & Success Stories.
Presuming that infertility cannot occur to them, a couple having secondary infertility may postpone consulting their problems getting pregnant, and wait just a little bit longer. Usually, a woman over the age of 35 will wait more than six months while a woman below the age of 35 will wait more than a year before getting a medical consultation. However, postponing the diagnosis and treatment may lower the success rate of the treatment since the majority of the causes of secondary infertility worsen over time.
Causes of Secondary Infertility
Secondary infertility is brought about by the same problems that cause primary infertility. The following are the common causes of secondary infertility:
This usually happens when there is a deficiency or absent sperm count. Sperm shape problems also referred to as sperm morphology and Sperm movement problems also referred to as sperm motility can also cause male infertility.
It can be irregularities with the ovulation process or even the absence of ovulation known as anovulation.
- Obstructed fallopian tubes
- Repeated miscarriages
Approximately 1/3 of infertility cases are associated with male infertility, another 1/3 is associated with female infertility and the last 1/3 is associated with both male and female infertility, and an unknown cause.
A lot of the couples are asking why they are having problems now when they did not have any infertility problems previously. Unfortunately, the answer to this question remains unknown.
The couple’s age may also be a causative factor, particularly if the couple were a lot younger when they have their first child, or the couples are a lot older when they start to build a family. Several causes of secondary infertility may aggravate with time, such as endometriosis or fibroids. If the woman also gained large weight since her first pregnancy that can also result in fertility problems; however, as usual, there are no certain causes why a couple cannot have a child at present compared to the last time.
Treatment for Secondary Infertility
The treatments for secondary infertility are similar to the treatments for primary infertility. The following are some of the treatments for secondary infertility:
Fertility medications. The doctor usually starts the treatment by giving Clomid, the most commonly prescribed medication for fertility.
- IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
- IVF (In vitro fertilization)
In some cases, it is given together with other assisted reproductive options.
Surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is commonly performed to mend obstructed fallopian tubes, or for the removal of fibroids or endometriosis deposits.
In some cases, your family and friends may ask you why you are going to the extremes of fertility treatment when you already had a child in the past. However, be secure that your treatment needs are similar to a couple suffering from primary fertility. It is not “going to the extreme” when you want to make use of medical treatments to have a child.
Support Groups for Secondary Infertility
Since secondary infertility is usually not recognized as a problem, a lot of couples find it difficult to have appropriate support from their family and friends. Several couples may even be criticized by others as ungrateful for the child or children they already have. It is very important that you discuss the issue with the people that matter to you so that they can understand your situation and that you need their support.
Whereas problems with fertility can usually trouble the relationship, secondary infertility can be particularly distressing. The ways in which couples can deal with stressful situations can differ. Communication may not work when one partner does not want to talk about the problem at all, causing the other partner to just go silent about the problem. Whether or not the couple wants to pursue treatment is up to them.
It may be helpful to look for therapy to help you and your partner with your situation and how to cope up with it. Support groups can help you understand that you are not alone with your struggles. Joining support groups have been found out to be very helpful in helping couples to cope up with their problems.
Furthermore, you will also need to talk to your child or children about the problem in an age-appropriate manner. Children are very sensitive and they will eventually notice the tense atmosphere at home. Discuss your feelings and encourage your child or children to express his or her feelings about the problem.
With the right kind of support and guidance, you and your family will be able to cope up with the situation and make the right choices.
Secondary Infertility Success Stories
The following are some of the success stories of couples that try out treatments for secondary infertility:
- A couple had their firstborn baby boy in 2008. The couple both grew up as only children, thus they really wanted a second child. After their firstborn baby boy finished with breastfeeding, the couple started trying again for another one. The woman has a normal period, but she was still not pregnant at the end of 2009.
- In January 2010, she had a consultation with her gynecologist. The examination revealed no evidence of structural problems, however, her estrogen remain high after her first pregnancy that stops her from ovulating. Since the estrogen levels are high it made the ovaries act as if she was still pregnant. Nevertheless, after 28 days of using Clomid, the woman becomes pregnant again.
- In March 2005 a woman had a baby girl. She took oral contraceptives in late 2005 until 2007, when she and her husband had made a decision to have a second baby.
- The woman discontinued using birth control pills in January 2008 but after six months she was still not pregnant. Her physician told her that it was normal not to get pregnant immediately after discontinuing the pill; however, at the end of 2008, she and her partner began to feel concerned. The woman feels a lot worse when her sister had delivered two babies during the same period.
- Her doctor gave her Clomid. In the first month up to second month there was no favorable result. In the third month she did not have her period but it was not because she was conceiving a baby. After 60 days, her doctor prescribed progesterone stimulates a menstrual period and it was after 14 days, that she conceived a second child.
- A couple had always wished to have four children. The woman delivered three children without any problem, but she constantly gain weight with every pregnancy. After her third delivery, she gained a total of 88 pounds (40 kg). She and her husband continued to try to conceive a child; however, she just did not get pregnant.
- Since she and her husband were both over 40 years old, they consult a doctor after 6 months of trying. The doctor advised the woman to eat less and lose weight. The woman loses 16 pounds (7kg), and she was pregnant again.