Face-to-Face with Secondary Infertility
Couples can struggle with infertility, even after having a biological child without any medical intervention. We call this ‘Secondary Infertility.’ In fact, estimates by the National Center for Health Statistics suggest that more than 3 million women in the U.S. have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying another child to term. While infertility has slowly gained public recognition, secondary infertility has remained in the shadows, leaving many of the women who face it feeling isolated and confused.
Why does this happen?
We cannot point our finger at one specific cause of secondary infertility. We do know that age is a significant factor and a common concern for couples struggling to have another child. Many of the Center for Reproductive Health patients seen for secondary infertility are in their mid-to-late 30’s. Studies show that women tend to experience a decline in the quality and quantity of their eggs after age 35, followed by another steep decline after age 37. Fewer and/or lower quality eggs makes conceiving more difficult and can increase the likelihood of a miscarriage.
A specialist will also look into other common fertility factors, such as sperm quality, underlying medical conditions, medications, and complications related to blocked fallopian tubes or PCOS.
When should you see a fertility specialist?
Women age 35 or older should try for 6 months before calling a specialist. A fertility specialist can help determine what is preventing you from conceiving again and work with you and/or your partner to find the solution.
For couples that got pregnant very easily or unexpectedly the first time around, anxiety surrounding secondary infertility can creep in rather quickly. Don’t panic if the process of getting pregnant is not the exact same as before.
How is secondary fertility treated?
It’s important to consult a trusted reproductive endocrinologist and discuss all the options. Upon your initial visit, the doctor will likely want to conduct tests of both partners of a male-female couple before recommending a course of treatment. Treatment options range from Clomid to increase egg production and intrauterine insemination (IUI), to IVF with your own eggs or donor eggs.
The struggle to have a second or third child can be shocking, frustrating and heartbreaking. Secondary infertility is often misunderstood because the couple already has a child. At Center for Reproductive Health, we recognize that families come in all sizes and we dedicated to supporting you and your goals every step of the way.
Center for Reproductive Health, based in Spokane, Washington has been helping Inland Northwest families for nearly 20 years and can provide access to the most advanced reproductive health technology in the region. You can call (509) 462-7070 to make an appointment today.