If you have previously conceived with ease, it can come as a shock when a subsequent pregnancy and baby don’t come as easily. However, this situation is not uncommon.
Secondary infertility, defined as the inability to conceive despite having conceived in the past, affects approximately 10% of women.1 It is different from primary infertility, which is when a woman who has never conceived before struggles to fall pregnant.
Secondary infertility can produce similar heartache to primary infertility, especially if you feel your family is not yet complete, you want to provide your children with a sibling, or you long for the son or daughter you don’t yet have. It’s important to recognise that your feelings and concerns are valid, and shouldn’t be brushed aside simply because you already have one or more children – you are equally deserving of seeking help to achieve a second or subsequent child, as are a woman or couple yet to have any children.
There are a number of factors that are commonly associated with secondary infertility. These include:
Secondary infertility can also be caused by many of the same factors that cause primary infertility. For women, this includes ‘structural’ disorders that may be affecting the health of your reproductive organs (e.g. endometriosis, fibroids, polyps), as well as hormonal disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disease. Thus, a full check-up with your gynaecologist is a good first step if your next pregnancy isn’t coming as quickly as you would like or expect.
The advice for those experiencing secondary infertility is the same as for those experiencing primary infertility. If you are under 35, seek help after 12 months of trying. If you are over 35, seek help after 6 months of trying. Depending on your circumstances, fertility treatment may be as simple as ovulation tracking and fertility optimisation through lifestyle changes. For advice specific to you, you can make an appointment with one of our fertility specialists by calling Newlife IVF on (03) 8080 8933 or by booking online via our appointments page.
The information on this page is general in nature. All medical and surgical procedures have potential benefits and risks. Consult your healthcare professional for medical advice specific to you.