Struggling To Get Pregnant Again? You’re Not Alone
Infertility is a common problem that 10% of American women struggle with, both physically and emotionally. While most people think about someone who’s never had a child, women with children can be infertile too. Secondary infertility happens when a woman is unable to get pregnant again after having at least one child. Secondary infertility can be confusing and stressful.
I’m still young at 35. What’s the big deal?
Women age 35 and over can still have a healthy baby. However, the odds decline at this juncture in life. Women 35 and under have a 25% chance of a natural pregnancy. Women over 35 have a 12% chance, while those 40 and over an even lower 5% chance. Even a perfectly healthy woman will face a natural decline in her fertility. The fact is, a lot of changes can happen that can impact fertility at this stage in life. These include changes in partners, lifestyles, and underlying health issues. Here are some common causes of secondary infertility.
A diminished ovarian reserve
Women are born with a full supply of eggs that will not increase. By adulthood, these eggs will deplete from about 2,000,000 to 400,000. During her lifetime, only a few hundred eggs will mature and be available for fertilization. For some women, this decline happens faster than others. So one woman over age 35 may have significantly fewer eggs than another. Diminished ovarian reserve lowers the odds of a natural pregnancy. If trying to get pregnant fails after 6 months, see a doctor or fertility specialist to assess ovarian reserves.
Unwanted tissue growth with endometriosis
Endometriosis is a common cause of secondary fertility. The uterus has an outer lining called the endometrium. This lining sloughs off during menstruation. In some women, this lining grows on the outside of the uterus. The tissue behaves similar to the endometrium tissue on the inside of the uterus. This can cause pain and eventually damage the surrounding reproductive organs.
A blocked fallopian tube
The fallopian tubes are responsible for transporting a mature, fertilized egg from the ovaries to the uterus. Blocked tubes are unable to carry the egg, and are a common cause of infertility. There are a few causes of blocked fallopian tubes, including STIs, PCOS, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). A previous injury, surgery, or last ectopic pregnancy can cause blockages. Endometriosis can also block the fallopian tubes. A doctor can check fallopian tubes using an x-ray or HSG test.
Can weight be an issue?
Weight gain does more than add unwanted pounds. For a successful pregnancy, there needs to be a proper balance of hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Weight gain impacts essential operations like insulin production, which in turn disrupts ovulation, menstruation, and overall fertility. While losing weight won’t guarantee pregnancy, the chances will improve. Weight loss will also prompt the doctor to look deeper into the cause of secondary infertility.
Secondary infertility needs complete support
Millions of women struggle to get and stay pregnant. And there is a growing group of women with children who have the same issue. Secondary infertility could be a stressful and confusing diagnosis, especially for women over 35. Don’t give up hope. The first steps are to find the underlying cause. With help from a doctor, women with secondary infertility will be able to reveal the underlying cause. From there, a fertility specialist can provide treatment options.