If you’ve already given birth, you may think getting pregnant a second, or even third time, should be easy, right? Wrong. Many women who’ve previously conceived often find themselves struggling with secondary infertility. But what causes of secondary infertility and can you overcome it?
“Anecdotal information states it [secondary infertility] could be anywhere from 10-30% of infertility cases,” Barbara Collura, President/CEO, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association tells Parentology.
Although as many as 30% of infertility cases may be due to secondary infertility, it’s not a topic often discussed. In 2019, Dylan Dryer from the Today show brought the issue into the spotlight after revealing she dealtwith secondary infertility at age 37, as she tries to give her two-year-old son a sibling.
Causes of Secondary Infertility
Age can play a major role in secondary infertility. When women hit their late 30s and early 40s they aren’t as fertile as they were in their 20s and early 30s. Other factors leading to secondary infertility include: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), complications related to a previous pregnancy, smoking, weight gain and a partner’s low sperm production.
When to Get Help
If you’re over 35 and have been trying to conceive for six months, or if you’re younger and have been trying to conceive for a year or more, schedule an appointment with an infertility specialist to discuss the possibility of secondary infertility.
After running some tests on both partners, an infertility specialist can determine an appropriate treatment path. Some patients may be advised to make lifestyle changes like eating healthier or quitting smoking, while others may want to need to take the drug Clomid to increase egg production, or undergo IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination) and IVF (In vitro fertilization) treatments.
How successful are these infertility treatments for women dealing with secondary infertility? Unfortunately, there’s no data available comparing success rates of getting pregnant for secondary infertility patients versus those who’ve never conceived.
Support for Those Dealing With Secondary Infertility
Those dealing with secondary infertility often comment on their lack of emotional support because they already have a child. Regardless of whether you have a child already or not, having difficulty getting pregnant can be stressful and heartbreaking.
“Find support,” Collura says. “It’s very important to have people around that support you.”
If you’re dealing with secondary infertility and need support, click here for where you can find professionals, support groups and helplines around the country.