Understanding Secondary Infertility and its Causes

Published | Updated October 14, 2020

Understanding Secondary Infertility and its Causes

Secondary infertility means that a woman, man or a couple experiences difficulties having a baby after already having had one or more children.

One of the causes may be aging. The older a woman gets, the less the quantity of eggs, but also the quality of her eggs decreases which can give a greater risk on miscarriages. For men also counts that sperm abnormalities may increase with age. Additionally, other age-related illnesses, like for instance prostate health issues, can start to inhibit fertility.

Another important factor for women can be complications during the prior labor and delivery time and/or insufficient postpartum care. Things like pelvic bowl displacements or pelvic fractures, uterus displacement (such as uterine prolapse), or scare tissue in the uterus or fallopian tubes can make a new pregnancy difficult if not impossible.

The former is the reason why in traditional medicine systems, notably Asian, so much effort is put on adequate postpartum care, trying to re-balance the new mother’s vital energy and physical constitution. In Asia, it’s strongly believed that improper postnatal care will bring all kinds of health issues later on, such as arthritis, asthma, problems with uterus and vaginal health, menopausal problems, and infertility, to name some examples.

Additionally, after having a child it’s certain that one’s lifestyle changes, both for men and women, and this is one of the things one needs to look at too. Have there been changes like more smoking, more alcohol, or more stress, weight gain, and so on?

Apart from the issues mentioned above, “common” pathologies can have developed over time, health problems that could be classified just as those of primary infertility. Here we need to think about the whole range of issues, such as hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, uterine and tubal causes, sperm abnormalities, cysts, diabetes, anxiety, trauma, low libido, fibroids, and what not.

Secondary infertility is basically treated the same as primary infertility, the only difference may be the causes. Women, men or couples may be helped via fertility medication, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), and such, or with complementary and alternative treatments, like herbal medicine, massages and bodywork.

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