What is secondary infertility? Here’s everything you need to know

December 22, 2022

While you will be more prepared for the second pregnancy, it might not be without problems.


Many couples who have previously been able to conceive naturally and give birth without fertility issues may experience secondary infertility while attempting to have another child.


This article will help you understand why this occurs and how to have a healthy pregnancy if you are having trouble getting pregnant again.


What is secondary infertility?

Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive or carry a child to term after previously being pregnant naturally.

You or your partner may have secondary infertility if you have been unsuccessful for six to twelve months, despite having already given birth naturally.


What are the causes of secondary infertility?

Fertility issues in a male or female partner can cause secondary infertility.

  • About one-third of cases of infertility are due to male infertility.
  • Some amounts are caused by female infertility.
  • Rest, are caused by issues with both the man and the woman or are unknown.

Reasons for secondary infertility differ in both men and women.


Causes in women include:

  • Mature age: Egg quality and quantity declines in women aged 35 or above.
  • Endometriosis: This condition is the most common cause of female infertility and occurs when a tissue that usually grows in the uterus grows in places such as the ovaries.
  • Damaged or blocked fallopian tube: Infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea can damage or block the tube that carries eggs to the uterus, resulting in infertility.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This hormonal disorder causes excessive levels of male sex hormones (androgens) and interferes with regular ovulation and menstruation.
  • Excessive weight gain: Weight can lead to PCOS and other health conditions that can cause ovarian dysfunction in some women.


Causes in men include:

  • Mature age: Sperm production and semen quality usually decrease in men aged 40 or above.
  • Low testosterone levels: Testosterone, a male hormone, is essential for sperm production, but it can decrease due to aging or genital injuries.
  • Sperm abnormalities: Sperm may lose their usual form or ability to swim to the egg effectively enough for fertilization. It can occur due to infections, trauma to testicles, toxins, and other reasons.
  • Azoospermia: Azoospermia means there’s no viable sperm in a man’s ejaculate.
  • Enlarged prostate: Prostrate enlargement can reduce sperm count and restrict ejaculation.
  • Prostate removal: The prostate gland removal during cancer or other treatments can cause sperm to flow reverse.
  • Late-onset hypogonadism (LOH): This age-related syndrome causes a reduction in male hormone secretion, testosterone.
  • Varicocele: Varicocele may cause due to defective valves found in veins within the scrotum. It can alter sperm production and its quality.
  • Excessive weight gain: Men who are overweight are 39 percent more likely to have no sperm in their ejaculate and 11% more likely to have a low sperm count.

Aside from these factors, medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression, as well as the medications used to treat them, can cause hormonal imbalances in men and women, leading to infertility.


What are the treatments for secondary infertility?

You should consult a doctor if you are under 35 and have been trying to conceive for 12 months or if you are 35 years or older. They will assist you and your partner in determining the root cause of the problem and will recommend the appropriate treatment.


Treatment options for women include:

  • Clomid prescription: In women with ovulation issues, Clomid, an oral drug, boosts hormones that produce eggs.
  • Uterine surgery: It removes unwanted uterine growths that affect fertility, such as scar tissue, polyps, and fibroids.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: This treatment repairs damaged or blocked fallopian tubes or remove fibroids and endometriosis.
  • In-vitro fertilization (IVF): This procedure entails surgically removing eggs from the uterus, fertilizing the egg in a lab, and then transferring the resulting embryo to the uterus.


Treatment options for men include:

  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI): IUI involves inserting sperm directly into a woman’s uterus. Men with low sperm counts or poor sperm quality should consider this treatment.
  • Testicular surgery: This treatment repairs testicular varicocele that can impact sperm quality and quantity.
  • Supplements: Antioxidant and anti-aging supplements can boost male fertility, while drug therapy can improve sperm quality.

Infertility caused by excess weight gain can be treated with weight management strategies such as diet control, daily exercise, and staying hydrated. This could even help with other conditions causing lifestyle-related infertility, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and stress.


Take Away

Secondary infertility is common in couples who have previously conceived naturally. Many lifestyle and health factors contribute to its cause.

If you believe that you or your partner may be experiencing secondary infertility, book an appointment with Apollo Fertility. Our team of experts will assist you in every step as you make your journey back to parenthood.

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