In This Article
In This Article
It’s difficult to imagine having trouble conceiving when you’ve already done it once.
However, it is a possibility—and it’s more common than you think.
Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive after successfully giving birth a previous time. It affects people at nearly the same rate as first-time infertility, with 12% of people being unable to have another child after their first.1
If you’re having trouble conceiving after more than 12 months (six months for those 35 and over), your doctor may diagnose you with secondary infertility.
Secondary infertility can affect both men and women.
While a secondary infertility diagnosis necessitates a successful pregnancy in the past, primary infertility simply means an inability to conceive at all.
If you can’t seem to get pregnant after twelve months and you’ve never gotten pregnant in the past, your healthcare provider may diagnose you with primary infertility.
Both primary infertility and secondary infertility can be caused by similar conditions and co-morbidities.
However, secondary infertility may sometimes occur after problems experienced during the first or previous pregnancy or if the mother or father is affected by a different condition between childbirth and their next attempt at pregnancy.
There are several causes of secondary infertility in both men and women.
Secondary infertility in women can be caused or exacerbated by:
Secondary infertility in men can be caused or exacerbated by:
If you’re still having trouble conceiving after 12 months, your doctor may start testing you.
This all depends on whether or not you have any other known conditions that can affect fertility. If you’ve previously been diagnosed with any hormonal disorders or diseases that directly affect your reproductive system, it may be easier to get to the root of the problem.
If not, your doctor will begin testing you for any hormonal imbalances, look into your family history for PCOS or other genetic causes, and may even do some procedures to eliminate other possibilities.
Diagnosing underlying causes of infertility will better help them treat you and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Your fertility doctor, OB-GYN, or medical counselor may ask you to undergo a fertility test just to be sure. They’ll do various assessments, whether it’s checking your reproductive anatomy or even testing for semen quality through a semen analysis.
Some procedures that may be done are:
Yes. It may take more unconventional means, but there are still ways to get pregnant. While you may have difficulty conceiving through penetration alone, medical therapies can help you carry to term.
While secondary infertility can feel hopeless, it can be treatable—depending on the underlying cause.
In fact, 85-90% of infertility cases are treated successfully through conventional fertility medical procedures and therapies.2
Your healthcare provider may start putting you on fertility medications, ask you to go specifically to a fertility clinic, and even recommend uterine surgery if necessary.
Some treatment options are: