Patient Resources

What is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility is defined by the World Health Organization as, “when a woman is unable to bear a child, either due to the inability to become pregnant or the inability to carry a pregnancy to a live birth following either a previous pregnancy or previous ability to carry a pregnancy to a live birth.” Potential causes of secondary infertility include hormonal issues, endometriosis, weight, age, etc. 

Hormonal Issues

Hormonal imbalances can disrupt the connection between the brain and the ovaries. Without proper signal sent from the brain, the ovary does not know to release an egg each month. Hormonal irregularities may include problems with the pituitary gland, thyroid, or polycystic ovary syndrome. These issues may present themselves later in life. 

Scar Tissue

Scar tissue can block the Fallopian tubes so the egg and sperm can not reach each other, and can also cause scarring in the uterus, preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall. Surgeries can leave scar tissue behind, but laparoscopic surgery can help treat it. 

History of STI

Exposure to a sexually transmitted infection can increase the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease. It is more common in women under 25, but it can affect women at any age. If it is left untreated, it can lead to scar tissue forming in the Fallopian tubes, which can then lead to infertility. 

Male Infertility

If you are having trouble getting pregnant, it may be an issue with the male partner. Men can get a semen analysis done to evaluate for male factor infertility, which can include issues such as low sperm count. 

Age

Fertility declines with age, but the biggest decline begins at age 37. By the age of 40, a woman’s chance of getting pregnant has lowered to less than about 35%. Since fertility changes with age, and you are older when you try having another child, it can be a factor in challenges to conceiving. 

Weight

Your body must produce the right amount of certain reproductive-related hormones to ovulate properly. Being overweight or underweight can cause the hormones to fall outside of their ideal range, stopping your body from ovulating. 

NCCRM

The North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine/Talbert Fertility Institute is the premiere center for reproductive health in North Carolina and the East Coast. Our team specializes in fertility testing, diagnosis, and treatment of infertility conditions. We’re experts in IVF, Tubal Ligation Reversal, Male Infertility, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Gestation Surrogacy, Family Balancing, and more. Contact us today.


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