5 Things You Need to Know About: Secondary Infertility

Can't get pregnant again?

One successful pregnancy doesn?t guarantee another one. No matter how effortlessly you got pregnant the first time, things can change. It?s called secondary infertility.

1. You?re not the only one. It?s not uncommon for couples to go from fertile to not-so-fertile over the course of a few years, says Dr. Mark Perloe, medical director of Georgia Reproductive Specialists in Atlanta. In fact, 12 percent of U.S. women are experiencing secondary infertility, which is about the same rate of women facing primary infertility, according to the most recent National Survey of Family Growth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. There?s no one cause or treatment. ?Almost every one of the things that could cause difficulties the first time can cause secondary infertility,? says Dr. Perloe. A number of things could have changed since your last pregnancy, too. For instance, genetic conditions can set in; the fallopian tubes or sperm passageways could be damaged from infection; or the ovaries may have become polycystic, which means little cysts invade the ovaries making periods irregular and could interfere with your ability to conceive.

Much like primary infertility, there isn?t a cure-all for every woman facing secondary infertility. ?Treatment is diagnosis-specific,? says Dr. Perloe. For instance, if the problem is damaged fallopian tubes or abnormal sperm, your doctor will probably treat those issues first. If the issue is age, your doctor may take steps like combining ovulation induction with insemination. In some cases, there may not be a treatment.

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