Secondary infertility: when a second pregnancy doesn’t come
Today we want to talk to you about something that is not uncommon at URE Centro Gutenberg. Something we see happen in more than one couple or single mother that come to our fertility clinic in Spain for treatment.
Let us set the stage: you have already had one child naturally and now you want to give your little one a younger sibling but… time goes by and you’re having trouble getting pregnant a second time. This is what is known as secondary infertility.
Though maybe you hadn’t heard of this until now, secondary infertility is something that unexpectedly happens in many couples. But… what’s the cause? What options are there when this situation presents itself? In this article we’ll provide you with more information.
What is secondary infertility?
We use the term secondary infertility when a couple has already had one child, but now they are having difficulties conceiving a second child after one year of having sexual intercourse without protection.
It is also considered secondary infertility when the male or female had a child with their previous partner but are now struggling with infertility with their new partner.
Causes of secondary infertility
When it comes to identifying the possible causes of secondary infertility, we are faced with many different reasons. Here we’ll discuss the most common ones.
Age of the female
One of the most frequent causes in cases of secondary infertility is age. As we’ve mentioned many time, trying to get pregnant at the age of 30 is not the same as at 37.
Female fertility drastically declines starting at the age of 35. According to recent data, the majority of Spanish women try to get pregnant with their first child after the age of 30, the average being 31.2 years of age. Thus, it is almost inevitable that women will try to get pregnant with their second child after the age of 35…
Problems following a previous pregnancy
Occasionally there are certain complications that can go undetected following a completely normal pregnancy and delivery.
We are referring to infections, oftentimes asymptomatic, that can end up causing abnormalities in the fallopian tubes and endometrium and, as a consequence, issues that lead to secondary infertility.
On occasion, certain injuries resulting from a C-section, such as problems with the uterine scar, may make embryo implantation difficult. This issue may be made evident years later when the female is struggling to conceive a second child.
Change in habits
After having your first child it is possible that your habits aren’t the same as before. Poor diet, weight gain or loss, fewer hours of sleep, stress… All of these changes could be negatively impacting your fertility and could lead to secondary infertility.
Although we’ve gone over the most common ones, the explanations above are not the only ones. There are other reasons which sometimes cause patients to struggle when conceiving a second child. For example, hormone changes, ovulation problems and variations in sperm quality that were not present before may be issues now.
Treatment for secondary infertility
We’ve discussed what secondary infertility is as well as some of the causes that may lead to its diagnosis. Now the question you’re asking yourselves is… is there treatment for it? What can be done?
When a couple comes to us at URE Centro Gutenberg to evaluate their secondary infertility, we have them carry out the same medical tests as any other couple. This means they will undergo studies regarding hormones, uterine injuries, sperm analyses, etc. The goal is to find the reasons behind the problem.
Having said the above, there is no “one single answer” to solving secondary infertility and the solution will depend on many factors. That is why we will only give our recommendations to the couple regarding the ideal treatment for their second pregnancy once a diagnosis has been made.
If you are in this situation, contact us. We have been working in the field of assisted reproduction since 1987 and we are pioneers in our sector