Understanding Secondary Infertility
Secondary infertility, the inability of a woman to get pregnant after having delivered one or more biological children, causes tremendous stress and frustration. The assumption is that after getting pregnant once, the reproductive system will deliver again. Dr. Dan Gehlbach sees patients that struggle
on their own for months, or even years, with secondary infertility before seeking treatment.
Secondary Infertility Facts & Figures
Secondary infertility affects 12 percent of women, and accounts for more than half of all infertility cases. – The National Infertility Association
Midwest Reproductive Center treats the disease of secondary infertility, a medical problem with anatomical or hormonal causes and effective treatment options. Never assume that secondary infertility is not a real medical issue!
To help clarify why secondary infertility occurs, Dr. Gehlbach points to the common causes of female and male infertility:
• Ovulation dysfunction
• Uterine causes
• Maternal age
• Tubal causes
• Sperm disorders
A fully functioning endocrine system and perfectly sound pelvic cavity (or a normal sperm count in men) can change over time. What was possible the first time a woman got pregnant may require medical intervention during subsequent attempts at conception.
If you have actively tried to get pregnant for more than a year, or six months if you’ve turned 35, ask a fertility specialist to evaluate you for secondary infertility.
Dr. Gehlbach performs fertility workups to pinpoint the cause of secondary infertility, and then designs a proactive treatment plan to overcome the issue.
As you know, a series of internal events causes a woman to release an egg every month during ovulation, midway through her reproductive cycle. Fertility drugs alone or ovulation induction with intrauterine insemination (IUI) may be the only fertility treatment you need to overcome secondary infertility.
Uterine or Tubal Causes
Pregnancy and childbirth, or endometriosis, may cause subtle changes to a woman’s uterus or fallopian tubes that make it difficult to conceive again. Minimally invasive diagnostic tests can reveal potential problems, and determine appropriate fertility treatment options.
With the passing of time, egg quantity and quality decline. Even a year can statistically impede the chances for getting pregnant. For example, if a woman gave birth at age 30 with her first child and tries again on her 35th birthday, the chances for conceiving decline by 15 percent*.
While age is not usually a factor until a man’s 50th birthday, Dr. Gehlbach cautions that sperm disorders can develop as the result of lifestyle or health risk factors. Smoking, drugs, alcohol, weight, heat exposure, workplace toxins, and chemotherapy can interfere with sperm health. Read more here on ways to boost male fertility.
Don’t Ignore the Signs of Secondary Infertility
If you have been diagnosed with a reproductive disorder, or have developed troubling symptoms such as irregular periods, painful periods or discomfort during intercourse, consult a fertility specialist. In addition, Dr. Gehlbach urges women with a history of recurrent miscarriage (two or more) to seek treatment.
Contact the fertility clinic that specializes in reproductive disorders and secondary infertility. Dr. Gehlbach will reassure you that there is hope for expanding your family.