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This is a work in progress. I am still researching and adding to this. Until it is complete.....please do not reply to this post any questions can be asked via PM or by posting your question in the main board.
Secondary infertility is defined as being unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after successfully conceiving one or more children.
Many people ignore secondary infertility or don't even know it exists. In many cases, couples who are struggling with secondary infertility do not seek medical assistance because of embarrassment, lack of knowledge, financial responsibilities towards other children and many other reasons. Secondary infertility is called the loneliest type of infertility because there is so little talk about the problem. Many just assume that because you were able to conceive once you will again and don't realize that it might be very difficult to do so. While a childless couple many times receives a lot of support, compassion and sympathy because of their inability to conceive, with secondary infertility many just assume it isn't as painful because the couple already has a child (or children). The reality is many times secondary infertility comes as a complete shock to a couple who had no problems conceiving the first time, which makes it just as painful, and in some was more so. Studies show that up to 60% of infertility cases are couples who suffer from secondary infertility.
Some common causes of secondary infertility are:
ovulation problems (delayed ovulation, weak ovulation, lack of ovulation)
fluctuating hormone levels (too high, too low or to unstable
Uterine fibroids or polyps
fallopian tube disease
scarring after childbirth
In men it can be caused by a decline in the concentration of, morphology of or the motility of his sperm. This can be caused by several things.
Age and stress levels can affect either or both partners as well.
Secondary infertility is diagnosed the same way as primary infertility. Testing usually begins with the least invasive testing possible. A semen analysis is done to check the concentration, morphology and motility of the male partners sperm. This can be done at any time but doctors general recommend that you refrain from intercourse or masturbation for 2 - 3 days before the test (to allow levels to be accurate). If levels are abnormal the doctor may request you complete the semen analysis again to have the levels confirmed. You can read more about the semen analysis and other tests your doctor may want to run depending on those results HERE.
The doctor will likely also do blood work on the female partner to check a variety of things such as estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, prolactin, and androgen hormone levels. Some of these need to be checked on the third day of your cycle, some on cycle day 21 (or 7 days past your ovulation date if you know when you ovulated) and others can be taken at anytime. A pap smear is usually done as well. You can read more about these tests as well as others that I will mention later HERE.
A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is done to check the condition of your uterus and fallopian tubes. This is basically an x-ray of your reproductive system. For more information on this test, read HERE. A hysterosonogram is a similar procedure using ultrasound instead of x-ray. You can read more about this HERE.
If either of those tests indicate a blockage in your fallopian tubes, your doctor may suggest a cannulization, which you can read about HERE. This procedure will confirm and possibly correct any blockages.