There’s a misconception with infertility that most people who struggle to conceive only struggle for their first pregnancy. For more than 3 million women in the US, that’s just not a reality. Secondary infertility, when a couple have not been able to become pregnant a second time after a year of trying to conceive, is more common than many people expect. If you’ve been struggling to have another child after a previous successful pregnancy, you’re not alone and there are resources to help.
Causes of Secondary Infertility
The most common cause of secondary infertility is a decline in egg or sperm quantity and quality due to age, particularly if the female patient is over 35 or the male patient is over 45. Other additional factors include lifestyle changes such as smoking, weight gain or alcohol use, diabetes, hormonal issues, endometriosis, or complications from a previous pregnancy that alters the reproductive anatomy.
When Should You See a Specialist for Secondary Infertility?
Similar to primary infertility, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women under 35 visit a reproductive endocrinologist after a year of actively trying to conceive, while women over 35 need not wait longer than 6 months. Of course, fertility and family planning is personal and some patients may decide to seek treatment earlier based on personal history or a desire to move forward.
Secondary Infertility Treatment Options
Treating secondary infertility follows the same treatment plan as primary infertility. Patients meet with reproductive endocrinologist specialist, Dr. Andrew Levi, for a comprehensive work-up to try and pinpoint the cause of the infertility and to create a fertility game plan for a successful pregnancy. Depending on your experience and medical history, we may recommend a combination of treatment options including treating endocrine disorders, in vitro fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS/PGD), or using donor eggs or a surrogate in special circumstances.
Struggling to become pregnant after easily getting pregnant the first time can feel crushing and stressful, but it doesn’t mean that you will not become pregnant a second time! Learning about what is contributing to your infertility can help you make informed decisions during treatment and provide you with peace of mind. We would love to help! To schedule a consultation at our Connecticut fertility center, contact us to schedule an appointment.