About 84% of couples who regularly have intercourse conceive a child within one year of trying; 8% of couples will conceive within 2 years By regular intercourse we mean intercourse every 2 or 3 days. For the remaining 8%, it can take longer.
So before you panic about being infertile, you should know conceiving a baby takes time – even for healthy happy couples.
Risk Factors for Secondary InfertilityIf you have a pre-existing medical condition you suspect could affect your fertility (such as amenorrhoea (no periods) or oligomenorrhoea (infrequent periods) or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), you should see a doctor if you are still unable to conceive after a year of trying.
If you are older than 40 years, have yourself checked sooner, say after 6 months of trying, because your fertility decreases rapidly as you age.
Infertility is a widespread problem today. Around 1 in 7 couples have fertility problems. The causes of secondary infertility are similar to those of primary infertility. It may be that you already had the underlying medical problems but they did not affect your previous pregnancies.
Major CausesThe Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority have pinpointed the following as major causes of secondary infertility:
- Male-related (e.g. low sperm count, low sperm quality, blockages in the reproductive tract): About 32 %
- Ovulation problems: About 4.9 %
- Fallopian tube damage: About 16.7 %
- Other health conditions (e.g. endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome): About 3.3 %
- Fertility problems in both the man and woman: About 17 %
- Unexplained: About 19 %
Treatment For Secondary InfertilityFemale reproductive problems that contribute to secondary infertility include ovulation disorders, tubal damage, sexually transmitted disease (e.g. chlamydia), obstructions in the uterus caused by fibroids, damage to the reproductive tract from a previous ectopic pregnancy and uterine adhesions which may be remnants from a previous C-section.
Reduce StressOther causes of secondary infertility may be psychological distress or even emotional trauma. A woman's unhealthy erratic emotions may cause the inability of the fertilized egg to embed into the uterine lining.
When a woman is emotionally unstable, her mucus production may be affected. She may produce too little or too much cervical mucus - both of which create a hostile environment for the sperm. Have a good amount of rest and indulge in healthy activities such as exercise, yoga, and walking.
Age can be another major contributor to secondary fertility. After the age of 35, your fertility starts to decrease. Also, you may have early menopause. Certain diseases that usually appear in the later years of life (such as diabetes and high blood pressure) may also affect your fertility.
Make Healthy Lifestyle ChangesMale-related secondary infertility is due to the low quantity and quality of your partner's sperm. His sperm may swim too slowly or be unable to swim straight. This greatly affects the ability of his sperm to fertilize an egg. Blockages in his reproductive tract may also keep his sperm from coming out.
Ask him to stop smoking and limit his alcohol intake as these activities can lower his sperm quality.
Changing your diet and lifestyle can have a huge impact on treatment for secondary infertility.
Preparing Your Body for PregnancyThe older you are the better you need to be prepared for pregnancy. This is not strictly to do with your chronological age but with the longer time you've been exposed to nutrient deficiencies, toxicities, and others.
Are you suffering from secondary infertility? What advice would you give to other women in your shoes seeking treatment for secondary infertility? Would love to hear from you.
National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health (UK. (2004). Fertility: assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems. RCOG press. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK327786/
NHS. (n.d.). Infertility. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Infertility/