Secondary Infertility is the inability to have a child after at least one successful pregnancy. It is anything but rare. In fact, 10% of women will experience secondary infertility, and it accounts for half of the infertility cases today.
Secondary infertility can be a surprise for many couples. Often with any previous pregnancy, there was no problem with conception or carrying the baby to term. The second time, however, is a very different experience. It can leave a couple wondering what went wrong.
It is difficult to define what causes secondary infertility because there is not just one cause. Experts hypothesize that whatever is causing the infertility issue developed after the successful pregnancy. From sporadic ovulation to fallopian tube damage, endometriosis, or changes in the quality of the man’s sperm, there are a lot of ways that secondary infertility has become the new normal for these couples.
Secondary infertility is a lonely condition for many couples because unlike infertility, friends and family don’t always understand the amount of loss and grief the couple feels, considering that they have a child or children already. But just like couples that are experiencing infertility the first time around, the couple needs the support of their friends and family to help them accept their situation and hopefully overcome it with the help of a fertility specialist.
Couples experiencing secondary infertility don’t always get help from a fertility specialist immediately. Some need time to accept that things have changed. Some decide not to pursue treatment due to the expense or other reasons. Others don’t know when they should start looking for help.
Couples that are having a hard time conceiving should seek the help of a specialist when:
- They are over 40 and want to conceive a biological child using their own eggs
- They are between 35 and 40 and have been trying for at least six months with no success
- They are under the age of 35 and have been trying for a year without conceiving
Secondary infertility is a common condition. For many couples, the cause of the infertility developed after the last successful pregnancy. For help overcoming the new challenges they are experiencing when they are trying to conceive, they should seek the counsel of a fertility specialist.