What Is Secondary Infertility? By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on November 29, 2016

Infertility AppointmentIf you have already had one or more successful pregnancies, you may think you will have an easy time getting pregnant again. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some women easily get pregnant the first time around, but then struggle to conceive again. An inability to have another child and create the family balance you desire can be frustrating and sad. To determine if you are struggling with secondary infertility, we can conduct a fertility evaluation at our Houston, TX fertility center. Once we find the cause of your inability to conceive again, we can recommend an appropriate treatment.

What Is Secondary Infertility?

The National Infertility Association defines secondary infertility as “the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. Secondary infertility only applies to couples that were able to get pregnant with their first child(ren) without the assistance of fertility treatments or medications.”

You may have secondary infertility if you have previously had one or more children and:

  • The female partner is under the age of 35 and you have tried for more than a year to conceive
  • The female partner is over the age of 35 and you have tried for six months to conceive
  • The female partner is either under or over the age of 35 and has suffered recurrent (two or more) miscarriages within six to 12 months

What Causes Secondary Infertility?

There is no singular cause of secondary infertility. There are, however, a number of different factors that may affect your ability to have more children. Some potential causes of secondary infertility may include any of the following:

  • The female partner’s age: As a woman ages, the quantity and quality of her eggs decreases. If you had your first child in your late 20s but then waited several years to have another child, you may have a more difficult time getting pregnant. The diminished egg quality is more likely to cause miscarriages.
  • Reproductive complications: Women with endometriosis and other reproductive conditions may struggle to have more than one child. Abdominal surgeries and endometriosis can result in a blockage in the fallopian tube, which will prevent successful pregnancy.
  • Sperm count and quality: Although men continually produce new sperm and are fertile for a much longer period of time than women, they are still vulnerable to changes in fertility. The development of certain health conditions, medications, and lifestyle choices can affect a man’s sperm count and the quality of the sperm.
  • Lifestyle: Things like weight gain or smoking cigarettes can hinder your ability to get pregnant at any age. Excessive weight and tobacco use can impact a man’s and woman’s fertility.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Once we determine the cause of your secondary infertility, there are treatment options available. Depending on your individual circumstances, our doctors may recommend fertility medications, or fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Schedule a Fertility Evaluation

If you have struggled to continue building your family after having your first child, contact Houston Fertility Center today to schedule a fertility evaluation.

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Dr. Sonja Kristiansen

Houston Fertility Center

Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is the founder and Medical Director of Houston Fertility Center. She is a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist Infertility (REI) specialist who is proud to help hopeful parents fulfill their dreams of having children. Our center is affiliated with the:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Texas Medical Association

We provide convenient care for patients from greater Houston and visitors from out of town. For more information about our services, contact our office online or call (713) 225-5375 today.

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