One can be well-informed about a variety of healthcare topics but there happens to be a good chance that one may never be heard of “secondary infertility.” It is, in fact, one’s inability to establish a clinical pregnancy after an earlier pregnancy whether or not there was a live birth. Secondary infertility does affect nearly three million couples, double the number from 1995. It also does account for approximately one-third all of the visits to see a fertility specialist.
Secondary infertility is no doubt similar in many ways to primary infertility when a couple has been rather unable to get pregnant after a year of regular sex when not making use of birth control. However, with one child or more, such diagnosis does create unique challenges including a lack of social support and the issue of complexity of already being a parent.
What Causes Secondary Infertility?
Several causes of secondary infertility are in fact the same as for primary infertility. Age-related issues are indeed a common reason, which also does explain the increase in numbers because women are rather waiting longer to start having children. In case, they have a first child in their thirties and plan a second child a few years later, they may indeed experience problems getting pregnant again. Fertility rates do drop sharply as a woman ages and it is more difficult to get pregnant after the age of 35.
What are the issues faced?
Several women and men do not fully comprehend how much of their fertility levels tend to decline with age. A false sense of security is provided for by the media that older women also do give birth. Women tend to go in for IVF and use donor eggs provided for by younger women.
One needs to be aware that as one grows older there is an increase in reproductive hormonal problems, thyroid issues, irregular ovulation as well as periods. Infections that can indeed scar fallopian tubes, fibroids or polyps of the uterus, endometriosis in one’s pelvis, adenomyosis of one’s uterus and also weight gain.
Age does cause a decline in the quality of eggs as well as their quantity. These factors are associated with secondary infertility among women. There can be scarring of the uterus on account of a D&C or miscarriage or placental complications and other types of surgeries can also affect the uterus.
Male fertility is the primary infertility issue and the major issue that men face is low sperm count problem.
There are several issues for the decline in sperm quality, quantity or delivery. Lifestyle as well environmental factors do play a role. Sexually transmitted diseases can cause epididymitis or other forms of inflammation that can affect the functioning of the sperm.
What other factors fertility?
• Abuse of alcohol
• Exposure to certain chemicals.
Chronic illness can affect sperm production. The genetic disorder does also cause such a health issue.
How is secondary infertility diagnosed?
A thorough evaluation is carried with regard to current health status, medical history. Life changes since pregnancy and so forth. The last pregnancy is investigated and any complication thereof is taken into consideration. The menstrual cycle is observed and its history and hormone levels are also observed. Also, the duration period of not making use of contraception is also taken note of. Blood tests are conducted. TSH regarding thyroid functioning is carried out. An ultrasound of ovarian reserves is done.
When should one see a specialist?
If one is having unprotected sex and is below 35 and not getting pregnant then one must see a specialist. It is advisable to seek treatment after a year is over. Also, in case one is above 35 or is an older woman in 40s, it is important to consult a specialist.
• Heavy bleeding
• Irregular menstrual cycle
• Hormone problems
• Difficulty in having intercourse
• Any other health issues
• Pelvic Adhesions
• Sperm problems
Treatment Options for Secondary Infertility
• Oral fertility pills
• Surgery for blocked Fallopian tubes
Challenges unique to secondary infertility
• Lack f required social support
• Feelings of sadness, anger, and frustration
• Unable to spend time with the first child as more time spent in thinking about another child.
• Seeking treatment.
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