What is secondary infertility and how common is it? This type of infertility refers to the inability to conceive another child after having given birth to one or more offspring without the aid of fertility drugs or ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies).
Secondary infertility among women is more common but less known than primary infertility (inability to give birth to a firstborn). According to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association that works to improve the lives of couples dealing with infertility, secondary infertility accounts for 70% of female infertility.
Unfortunately, many (including general practitioners) believe that once a couple has successfully given birth they will always be able to do so. This myth is the reason why medical professionals, who are unfamiliar with this type of infertility, fail to recommend infertility treatments to couples who have trouble getting pregnant again.
For proper diagnosis, a medical doctor who is knowledgeable about male and female infertility would perform some tests or recommend that you see a fertility expert. These fertility tests include testing the quantity and quality of your partner?s sperm as well as the state of your egg production.
The common causes of secondary infertility are similar to that of primary infertility. For example, among the causes of primary infertility, the following are also causes of secondary infertility: female?s age, pelvic/tubal state, and ovulation problems; male?s sperm count and motility; unhealthy lifestyle, and emotional stress. The main difference is that the said factors surfaced after having successfully produced one or more kids.
Age is one of the huge factors that affect a woman?s ability to reproduce. Unlike men who they produce sperm daily, a woman?s eggs are as old as she is. As an egg grows older its quality decreases. Therefore, couples who choose to delay conceiving another child are increasing their chances of having to deal with secondary infertility.
Pelvic adhesions, such as those that are caused by STDs (sexually Transmitted Diseases) and growth of endometrial cells outside the uterus (A.K.A. endometriosis); intrauterine adhesions caused by wounds after a surgical procedure; and adhesions in the fallopian tube region ?get in the way with an egg?s ability to be travel down the fallopian tubes. This prevents the meeting of the egg and the sperm.
Males who want to get their partners pregnant should be careful with taking medicine. Some prescriptions are harmful to the quality and quantity of sperms. It could take them over a year before their body is able to go back to its normal and healthy sperm production.
Acquiring an unhealthy lifestyle may cause couples to face infertility problems that they did not have before. Ovulation or sperm production may be a struggle for those who are obese, malnourished, or those who drink and/or smoke.
Infertility, whether primary or secondary, can be stressful to couples. It is extra stressful for those who are dealing with the latter type of infertility since they get less sympathy and encouragement from friends and relatives. Most would say that they should be thankful that they are lucky enough to at least have a child or two whilst others are not as lucky as them. This lack of support may even be a contributing factor to a couple?s infertility due to the fact that there is a strong correlation between?stress and infertility. Ovulation is affected when one is stressed. This is because when a female is stressed, her hypothalamus (the portion of her brain that controls the hormones needed for ovulation) is affected. In addition, recent studies on the relationship between stress and infertility show that stress has a negative effect on a couple?s desire to make love and on a male?s sperm count.
Couples who are suffering from secondary infertility should try to identify the cause of their infertility. However, it is unwise for them to try to do it on their own. It is highly recommended that they seek assistance from a trusted medical practitioner – one who could give them the proper guidance. Early detection means more time to check out all possible choices for treatment. More time and more choices mean higher chances of getting pregnant again. It is, therefore, to a couple?s advantage if they consult their doctor right after a year of failing to get pregnant again to find out if they are suffering from secondary infertility.