SECONDARY INFERTILITY – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

People who have had babies can be infertile too…

Many parents struggle with this, partly because they cannot grasp the fact that it is possible to be unable to sire a child after previously having one.

Secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant after a previous birth irrespective of whether the said child is alive or dead. Globally, almost 3 million couples are affected; secondary infertility accounts for one-third of visits to a fertility specialist.

 

 

WHAT CAUSES IT?

Many of the causes of secondary infertility are the same as for primary infertility. Age-related issues are however a common reason as fertility rates drop sharply as a woman ages and it is more difficult to get pregnant after the age of 35.Various diseases such as increasing reproductive hormonal problems, endometriosis, thyroid disease, irregular ovulation and periods, infections that can scar fallopian tubes, fibroids or polyps of the uterus, adenomyosis of the uterus, and also a decline in egg quality are associated with getting older.

Secondary infertility could also be as a result of complications from the first pregnancy and birth e.g. scarring from a Caesarean section or a miscarriage. Ageing is related to increasing reproductive hormonal problems, thyroid sickness, irregular ovulation and intervals, infections which can scar the fallopian tubes, fibroids or polyps of the uterus, endometriosis in the pelvis, adenomyosis of the uterus and weight benefit. Even when those troubles do not occur, growing age is constantly associated with a reduced excellent or quantity of eggs. All of those are viable explanations for secondary infertility in ladies.

Although uncommon, getting pregnant a second time can be be related to the first one. There may be scarring of the uterus after a D&C following a miscarriage or placental-related complications. Other styles of surgeries on the uterus may additionally have an effect.

Secondary infertility can also be caused by problems in men, in fact, male infertility is the number one clinical issue in approximately 25% of infertility cases, and a contributing factor 25% of the time. A large percentage of male infertility instances is due to low sperm count.

There is more than one explanation for a decline in sperm quality, quantity or transport. Age, Azoospermia (absence of sperm cells in semen samples), Asthenospermia (progressive motility of sperm is less than 32%) etc. are some causes of infertility in men. Sexually transmitted infections, stress, obesity, abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs, exposure to certain chemical substances and/or excessive heat are also contributing factors.

HOW IS SECONDARY INFERTILITY DIAGNOSED?

Multiple factors could be responsible for secondary infertility; it could be due to one or each of the above named factors so an intensive assessment is carried out by your doctor  in order to be sure of the causes and take necessary action.

WHY YOU SHOULD SEE A FERTILITY EXPERT

It is advised to be proactive with your health so the earlier you see one, the earlier you get a diagnosis and thus proper treatment. If you are 35 or older, you should seek treatment after six months of unprotected sex and 12 months if younger.

If you however experience abnormal menstrual cycles, heavy bleeding, hormonal troubles, weight problems, fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, etc., see your gynaecologist or a fertility expert right away.

TREATMENT

Treatments for secondary infertility are the same as for primary infertility. Treatments may include:

  • Fertility drugs
  • Injectable fertility drugs, known as gonadotropins
  • IUI – The procedure itself involves transferring specially washed semen directly into the uterus via a thin catheter.
  • In-vitro fertilization, sometimes in combination with other assisted reproductive options
  • Surgery, usually laparoscopic surgery, to repair blocked fallopian tubes, or to remove fibroids or endometriosis deposits

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