Causes & Treatment

Causes and Treatment of Secondary Infertility

Eloise Edington  |   3 Dec 2021


Secondary infertility is common and understanding the causes and treatment available is an important to help you conceive.

Today, Belén de Luque at Clinica Tambre explains secondary infertility and IVF and support for those struggling to conceive the second time around.

Tambre is a Spanish assisted fertility clinic located in the heart of Madrid. The clinic prides itself on their focus: “the patient is priority”.  Tambre’s use of cutting-edge technology and highly effective techniques, personalised fertility treatments and impressive IVF success rates attract patients from all over the world for assistance in creating their family.

Click here to discover Tambre’s website.

What is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility is the difficulty in achieving pregnancy when this has already been possible previously.

What Causes Female Secondary Infertility?

In most cases, the causes of secondary infertility are similar to those of primary infertility. However, as a woman gets older, her ovarian reserve diminishes which can lead to greater difficulty in achieving pregnancy; hence secondary infertility.

Some common causes of primary and secondary infertility include:

  • An unhealthy lifestyle (e.g. one that includes alcohol and tobacco consumption, poor diet, etc.)
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Pathologies such as endometriosis, fibroids or fallopian tube obstruction
  • Diseases such as hyperprolactinaemia or diabetes
  • Genetic diseases
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Sexually transmitted infections

What Causes Male Secondary Infertility?

Some common reasons for male secondary infertility:

  • An unhealthy lifestyle (e.g. one that includes alcohol and tobacco consumption, poor diet, etc.)
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Pathologies of the male reproductive tract (infections, varicocele, etc.)
  • Loss of sperm quality

Is Secondary Infertility Hereditary?

Secondary infertility is very common but it is not hereditary in and of itself. Rather, genetic factors can negatively impact a woman’s fertility and result in secondary infertility. For example, a woman might have a genetic predisposition to suffer from endometriosis and this ends up being the cause of her secondary infertility.

Watch now: IUI, IVF or ICSI – Clinica Tambre explain the difference

What is the Treatment for Secondary Infertility?

The type of secondary infertility treatment depends on the cause of the secondary infertility.

In general, women or couples suffering from secondary infertility respond well to IVF treatment (either with their own or donor eggs). The medical team provides the patient with all the information about the range of possibilities available to them.

There are very few cases in which there is no solution to secondary infertility and so medical professionals investigating a case of secondary infertility should thoroughly examine all possible causes.

Many clinicians recommend women and couples seek help within 6 months of unsuccessful attempts at trying for a second child, especially if the woman is over 35 years old. This is because age plays an important role in these cases (due to ovarian reserve).

Counselling for Secondary Infertility

When there’s a struggle to get pregnant the second time around, talking to a counsellor can help work through the confusion that often accompanies secondary infertility. Tambre’s psychologist, Dr. Raquel Urteaga, says many patients suffering from secondary infertility choose to have therapy sessions alongside their fertility treatment. In particular, thinking that wanting a second child is selfish or feeling guilty that a past pregnancy was successful can also accompany secondary infertility. Dr. Urteaga notes that society tends to view secondary infertility as a lesser form of (in)fertility because the woman is already a mother. Yet Dr. Urteaga emphasises that all people having difficulty trying to conceive deserve equal respect.

There are very few cases in which there is no solution to secondary infertility

Understanding the causes of secondary infertility and the treatment for it helps women and couples make informed decisions on family-building efforts. Difficulty in TTC happens to people whether they’ve already had a child or not and Clinica Tambre’s reminder to be sensitive of people’s struggles is an important one.

When you’re ready to talk to the team at Clinica Tambre, click here to find out what they can do to support you in building the family you desire.

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