Trouble Getting Pregnant Again?

Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive or carry a baby to term after having a previous successful pregnancy. This condition is thought to be less common than primary infertility, but still affects a significant portion of the population. Among women with a previous pregnancy,14% were found to have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term again. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) can be a helpful option for people who are experiencing secondary infertility.

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Possible causes of secondary infertility

Secondary infertility can be caused by many different factors that affect either the male or female partner, or can be considered unexplained. For women, some of these problems include issues with egg quantity or quality, damaged or blocked fallopian tubes, and issues with the uterus. Conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also contribute to secondary infertility. Lifestyle factors such as weight gain, diet, and medication use may also affect a woman’s ability to conceive again. Causes of secondary infertility in men include reduced testosterone, varicocele, poor semen quality, prostate problems, chemical exposure, and weight gain.

Can technology help?

ART is a term that encompasses all fertility treatments where eggs or embryos are handled outside of the body. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are two of the most well-known types of ART. Advances in technology allow these types of procedures to help more individuals than ever before. For people experiencing secondary infertility, ART can be a helpful tool to get pregnant again. Although many patients can achieve pregnancy this way, the overall success rate of ART depends on various factors including age, body mass index (BMI), and underlying health issue(s).

Time to put all the eggs in one ART basket?

The older a woman gets, the lower the chance of pregnancy. This is because the quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs slowly decreases over time. This means that even if a successful previous pregnancy has occurred, older age could now affect the ability to conceive again. Cost is another factor to consider, since many ART procedures are expensive and not typically covered by insurance. Healthcare providers can help determine whether to continue trying without intervention or proceed with ART.

Secondary infertility is treatable

Just like primary infertility, secondary infertility can be caused by many different problems, and the solution will look different for each individual. The good news is that for many, ART is an option when secondary infertility occurs. Thanks to advances in technology, people having trouble getting pregnant again have more options than ever before. Although personal success rates depend on a variety of factors, many people with secondary infertility can go on to have another healthy pregnancy.

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