The fertility specialists at Generations Fertility Care in Madison, Wisconsin provide compassionate care and leading edge treatment for secondary infertility.
Approximately 3 million women in the United States are affected by secondary infertility, which is defined as the inability to become pregnant or to carry a pregnancy successfully after previous success in delivering a child.
Individuals experiencing secondary infertility are less likely to seek treatment than those who experience primary infertility. This is due in part to the perception that because they were able to conceive before, they should be able to again. However, several changes can occur that may alter a woman's ability to conceive.
Causes of Secondary Infertility
The causes for secondary infertility are often the same as for primary infertility, including:
- Ovulation problems, including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic adhesions
- Uterine fibroids or polyps
- Diminished ovarian reserve
- Low sperm count
- Ejaculatory problems
These underlying medical conditions may develop for a number of reasons. A previous C-section, infection, weight gain, and even age may adversely affect a woman's reproductive health. Men too may experience difficulties as a result of stress, age or other similar issues.
Treatment for Secondary Infertility
Generally, it is recommended that individuals see fertility specialists after trying unsuccessfully to conceive for 8-12 months. For people over age 35 or who have known medical conditions, it is generally recommended they see a specialist much sooner.
Treating secondary infertility, like primary infertility, will depend largely on any underlying medical conditions. Through the Couples Clinic at UW Health's Generations Fertility Care, both members of the couple undergo a routine evaluation. Since infertility is not simply a woman's problem, evaluating both members ensures the most effective treatments can be recommended.
The Emotional Aspect of Secondary Infertility
The stress of secondary infertility on an individual's life and relationships can be significant. It can be hard to find support from family and friends, especially when a woman or couple already has/have children. Sentiments such as, "you should be grateful for what you have," or, "just keep trying," almost never serve as useful advice or support. Couples and single parents can even experience resentment from other couples with infertility who are unable to even have their first child.
- Learn more about the emotional aspects of infertility
It is important for couples to maintain open and honest communication with each other, and to recognize that feelings can change over time. For single parents wishing to have additional children, it's also important that they try to develop a strong support system through friends and family. And, because children can pick up on their parents' stress, it is also important to pay attention to how their kids may be feeling. Children might not understand why their parents are feeling a certain way and attribute it to something they've done.
The most important thing to know for patients with secondary infertility is that they aren't going through this alone. The entire Generations team sees people struggle with this situation and, with support, frequently overcome it.
We also care about not only your physical well being, but also your emotional health. In fact, these issues as important enough to us that one of our core team members is a psychologist. Julianne Zweifel is an expert in addressing the mental aspects of secondary (and primary) infertility and she can promote emotional well being in a way that few others have the training or experience to do. If you should feel you do not wish to talk a specialist, but are struggling emotionally, please at least let other team members know-the more we hear from you, the easier it is for us to help.