What is secondary infertility?
For many women who have successfully had a child, struggling to get pregnant again is unexpected. Secondary infertility has many of the same causes as primary infertility, such as poor lifestyle choices, impaired sperm function, or ovulation disorders. Sometimes, secondary infertility may be related to complications from prior pregnancy or surgery.
What is IUI?
IUI is a fertility treatment that involves placing the sperm inside the female partner’s uterus to boost the chances of fertilization. For many, this is the first line of treatment in the cases of unexplained infertility or when there are problems with the female partner’s cervical mucus.
Can the two work together?
Whether or not IUI can be used as a treatment for secondary infertility depends on the underlying cause of infertility. Women who have moderate to severe endometriosis, for example, are not good candidates for IUI treatment. In the right patients, IUI success rates can be as high as 20%.
What happens during IUI?
IUI is often a couple’s preferred treatment because the process is less invasive and less costly than other methods like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Before the procedure, the female partner may use medications that stimulate ovulation to boost the chances of pregnancy success. Then, a semen sample is washed in a lab setting to separate semen from the seminal fluid. During the time of ovulation, a fertility specialist places the sperm directly into the uterus, with the hope that the sperm will fertilize the egg.
When should I see a specialist?
Couples dealing with secondary infertility are often more reluctant to see a fertility specialist. After all, pregnancy has been successful in the past. However, any time a couple has been trying to get pregnant for 6-12 months without success, medical intervention may be needed. If the female partner is over 30 and has a history of miscarriages, painful periods, irregular cycles, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), experts recommend seeing a fertility specialist sooner.
Seek treatment today
While secondary infertility can be emotionally taxing, there are treatment options. Don’t give up on growing a family. To learn more about IUI and other fertility options, see a fertility specialist.