Trouble getting pregnant again
Primary infertility occurs when a couple cannot get pregnant, despite trying for 12 months or longer. Secondary infertility occurs when a couple cannot conceive again after having at least 1 child. In some cases, the underlying cause of secondary infertility can be linked to issues that were present during the first pregnancy but went undiagnosed and untreated. Other times, new problems may have developed over time, leading to difficulty conceiving again. Older age can also play a role.
What’s behind your infertility issues?
Common causes of secondary infertility include irregular ovulation, fibroids, and pelvic adhesions resulting from previous surgery or infection. Age is another common cause of secondary infertility. As women age, the quality and quantity of eggs decline, making conceiving more difficult. This is especially true for women over 40. Other causes of secondary infertility include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and endometriosis. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity can also negatively impact fertility.
Treating secondary infertility
The best treatment for secondary infertility will depend on the underlying cause. For women over 40, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) may be recommended to increase the chances of conceiving. Medications and lifestyle changes may also be encouraged to address underlying medical conditions. The chances of pregnancy will decline with age, but women over 40 can still get pregnant with the proper treatment.
When to see a reproductive specialist
Anyone over 40 trying to conceive for at least 1 year without success should see a reproductive specialist as soon as possible. This type of doctor can help identify underlying fertility issues and develop a treatment plan. A reproductive specialist may order fertility tests, including ovulation testing, pelvic ultrasound, and hysterosalpingography (HSG), to determine the cause of infertility. Women over 40 need to understand all options regarding fertility treatment. A reproductive specialist can discuss the odds of conceiving using the patient’s own eggs and the possibilities for using donor eggs or surrogacy.
Build your future family
Secondary infertility can be a difficult and emotional experience for those over 40. Understanding the causes of secondary infertility and when to seek the help of a reproductive specialist is crucial. Fertility tests can help determine the cause of infertility, and a specialist can explain the treatments available. Seek support and advice and consider all options to increase the chances of another pregnancy.