Struggling with Secondary Infertility and Your Next Steps
Secondary infertility is something many women don’t realise exists, until they experience it for themselves. If you have had a child before, you know the immense joy of holding your baby for the first time, watching their first steps, seeing their first smile, and so many other exciting adventures.
Parenting is hard and messy and glorious, and you love it. So, you decide to start trying for another baby. The months are passing by and there’s still no positive pregnancy test. You could have secondary infertility.
What is Secondary Infertility?
If you have already had a child, or multiple children, and you are struggling to conceive again, it’s possible you have secondary infertility. Although the diagnosis of secondary infertility can feel like a lonely one, it is surprisingly common among women. In fact, it is estimated that around 11% of couples experience secondary infertility.
Causes of Secondary Infertility
There are numerous causes of secondary infertility and multiple reasons why many couples struggle to conceive again. While difficulty conceiving again could be a sign that there is an underlying problem, some of the most common causes of secondary infertility include:
- Your age. Fertility declines with age.
- Low sperm count, sperm quality, sperm production, and poor sperm motility.
- Scarring of the womb or fallopian tubes from previous surgery.
- Ovulation problems caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
- Certain treatments or medications, such as chemotherapy.
- Blockages or problems with your womb caused by fibroids.
If you think you may be struggling with secondary infertility, or that your partner could be, it is important to book an appointment with your doctor. They should be able to advise you and assess what the problem could be.
How Your Doctor Can Help
If you think you’re struggling with secondary infertility, it’s important to book an appointment with your doctor. During your appointment, your doctor will ask a series of questions to you and your partner to work out whether there is an obvious reason you are struggling to conceive naturally. Your doctor may ask all or some of the following questions:
- The type of contraception you used in the past and when you stopped taking it.
- Information about any previous pregnancies and or births.
- Personal and family medical history.
- How often you have unprotected intercourse and whether there are any complications (such as pain during intercourse).
- Any medication you may be taking for your lifestyle, including exercise habits, stress levels, your weight, and whether you drink, smoke, or take recreational drugs.
During your appointment, your doctor may also carry out a physical health check. This will include checking for any signs of infections or any abnormalities. Depending on the results, your doctor may refer you to a fertility specialist.
It’s natural to be feeling anxious or nervous about having fertility tests or answering potentially awkward questions. But it’s important to remember that your doctor is a professional and is there to help you, not to judge you.
When Should You Ask for Help?
When you’re struggling to conceive again, it can be difficult to know when to ask for help. Often, your doctor will be unlikely to offer any tests or treatment advice to you for secondary infertility unless you have been trying to conceive through regular, unprotected intercourse for at least a year.
However, if you are struggling with any of the following problems, you should book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible:
- Your periods are very painful.
- If you have an existing medical condition that may affect your fertility.
- You’ve had multiple miscarriages.
- You have been diagnosed with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
- You have known fertility problems.
- You have undergone treatment for cancer.
- You are over 35 years old and have been trying to conceive naturally for six months or more.
- You menstruate irregularly or not at all.
- You have pain during intercourse.
Secondary infertility affects men just as often as it affects women, and 40% of infertility cases are due to problems with both the man and the woman.
Treatments for Secondary Infertility
Unfortunately, some people never receive an answer to their secondary infertility and this can be very confusing and upsetting. For many couples struggling with secondary infertility, they don’t know what their next steps are. However, the good news is that many struggling coupes do eventually conceive naturally or with the help of fertility treatments.
Below is a list of the secondary infertility treatments available to those struggling to conceive naturally.
- Artificial insemination
- In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
- Sperm Donation
- Egg Donation
Speak to the Fertility Specialists
If you are struggling with secondary infertility, you are not al
one. At Wessex Fertility, we work closely with you, assessing your needs and creating a treatment plan catered to your specific requirements. As experts in fertility treatments, we know how heart-breaking secondary infertility can be and that’s why we are dedicated to supporting you through it. Contact Wessex Fertility to book your first consultation today and discuss your next steps with us.