Secondary Infertility: What You Need to Know

by Esther on July 17, 2023 , 8 min read

While many couples dream of expanding their family, some face the challenge of secondary infertility. The failure to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after experiencing one or more successful pregnancies in the past is referred to as secondary infertility. We will go into the subject of secondary infertility in this article, looking at its definition, causes, symptoms, the distinction between main and secondary infertility, various therapies, and any possible hazards.

What is Secondary Infertility?

The inability to conceive or carry a healthy pregnancy despite having previously given birth to a child without any reproductive problems is known as secondary infertility. Couples who anticipated having children easily based on their past reproductive history may find it to be a confusing and emotional process. Both men and women can experience secondary infertility, which may require medical treatment to treat.


How Common is Secondary Infertility?

Few people are aware of how frequent secondary infertility is. Secondary infertility is thought to affect between 10 and 30 percent of couples who have already had a child. Age, lifestyle preferences, underlying medical issues, and complications from prior pregnancies are some of the variables that affect the prevalence of secondary infertility.


What are the Causes of Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility can be caused by a variety of reasons. These may include concerns with men's sperm quality or quantity, age-related reduction in fertility, changes in reproductive health, hormonal imbalances, structural abnormalities, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and lifestyle choices like smoking or obesity. It frequently takes a thorough assessment by a reproductive professional to pinpoint the precise cause or causes of secondary infertility.



What are the Symptoms of Secondary Infertility?

Couples with secondary infertility frequently don't show any symptoms aside from their inability to get pregnant. However, some people may experience irregular menstrual cycles, changes in the flow of their periods, pain during sexual activity, or other symptoms that point to a fertility problem at the root.

Here are the symptoms of secondary infertility that you need to look out for:

  • Inability to conceive or have a successful pregnancy after previously giving birth without any reproductive issues.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Changes in menstrual flow.
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • Hormonal imbalances.
  • Structural abnormalities.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Sperm quality or quantity issues in men.
  • Underlying health conditions affecting fertility.
  • Lifestyle factors such as obesity or smoking.


Difference Between Primary & Secondary Infertility

Primary infertility is the inability of a couple who has never had a child to conceive or bring a pregnancy to term. On the other hand, couples who have experienced at least one successful pregnancy in the past but are having trouble getting pregnant again are said to be experiencing secondary infertility. Although both types of infertility can have a major emotional toll, the underlying causes and methods of treatment may vary.



Treatment for Secondary Infertility

Depending on the underlying problems discovered through diagnostic tests, different treatments are available for secondary infertility. The treatment options for secondary infertility vary depending on the underlying causes identified through diagnostic testing. Fertility medications, surgical interventions, and assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) may be recommended based on individual needs and specific issues related to men's fertility and women's fertility. It is essential to speak with a fertility specialist who can offer tailored advice based on your unique circumstances.


Risk for Secondary Infertility

The likelihood of secondary infertility can rise due to a variety of reasons. These include maternal and paternal aging, disorders affecting the reproductive system, past pregnancies that ended in miscarriage or difficulties, lifestyle choices, and specific medical procedures. If a person is considering growing their family, knowing these risk factors can help them make an informed choice and get the treatment they need.

Risks for Secondary Infertility:

  • Advanced maternal age: As women age, their fertility declines, making it more challenging to conceive.
  • Paternal age: Advanced paternal age can also contribute to fertility issues and increase the risk of secondary infertility.
  • Reproductive health conditions: Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease can impact fertility.
  • Previous pregnancy complications or loss: Individuals who have experienced complications or loss in previous pregnancies may be at a higher risk of secondary infertility.
  • Lifestyle factors: Certain lifestyle choices, such as obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use, can affect fertility in both men and women.
  • Underlying medical conditions: Chronic health conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, or hormonal imbalances can affect fertility.
  • Previous medical treatments: Some medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, can affect fertility in both men and women.


Can you get pregnant with secondary infertility?

The ability to conceive with secondary infertility depends on the underlying causes and individual circumstances. With the help of fertility treatments and medical interventions, many couples can overcome secondary infertility and successfully achieve pregnancy, enhancing the chances of having a healthy baby for both men's fertility and women's fertility.

 Many couples can effectively overcome secondary infertility with the use of fertility medications and medical procedures. It is crucial to speak with a reproductive specialist who can assess your unique circumstance, make a diagnosis, and suggest suitable treatment alternatives.



Embarking on the path of secondary infertility, after having experienced successful pregnancies, can present unique challenges and evoke a range of emotions. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the reasons, recognizing the subtle symptoms, and exploring the available treatments, couples can actively navigate their way through this experience and increase their chances of achieving conception.

Seeking the guidance of a qualified medical practitioner who specializes in fertility is a crucial step in this process. These experts possess the knowledge, experience, and resources to provide personalized insights and recommend suitable interventions tailored to individual needs. 

Remember, each step taken brings individuals closer to the possibilities and joys of parenthood. With the support of a compassionate healthcare team, couples can find solace, guidance, and innovative solutions that empower them to embrace the path to parenthood once again.

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by Esther on July 17, 2023 , 8 min read

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