Secondary infertility

What is secondary infertility?

It is when a woman desires a second pregnancy but, after trying for a year, fails. This applies to families who already have a baby growing and developing without problems or to families who have already had a pregnancy but could not carry it to term for some reason.

It also applies to women who desire a second pregnancy, and the pregnancy they had is the product of another relationship. This is particularly important because secondary infertility can also be due to male causes; it is not a diagnosis exclusive to women.

The symptoms are the same as in primary infertility, mainly related to the repetitive frustration of waiting every month for a positive pregnancy test that does not come or in couples who have already tried to get pregnant for a year without any protection and have not succeeded.

Women and couples who have already had a baby and have a relevant medical history after the birth of their child. This includes complications during delivery like obstetric hemorrhage, surgical complications from a cesarean section such as infections, or the need for prolonged hospitalization after the birth of the previous baby. It can also occur in women who had a gestational loss complicated by infections or did not receive adequate care during that process. Delivering a baby by cesarean section increases the risk of secondary infertility in contrast to women who deliver the baby by natural childbirth.

There are also couples in which the man has had traumas or accidents with genital involvement or where one of the two has been exposed to environmental risk factors that could affect fertility. It can also occur in couples who had trouble achieving a first pregnancy or achieved it after a long time of trying. These couples may have an underlying fertility problem that requires careful attention to optimize all the factors involved so that they can fulfill the wish for a second pregnancy.

The first thing to remember is that if a couple already has a healthy baby at home, there is generally a good prognosis for any problems that may have developed after birth.

Suppose they have been trying for a new pregnancy for some time. In that case, the medical specialist must conduct a careful and detailed interview to inquire about all the possible risk factors for developing secondary infertility. Depending on the results, the doctor will request a series of studies to objectively evaluate the causes and propose a strategy to solve the factors hindering a second pregnancy.

This may include hormonal tests to assess ovarian and other endocrine system function, imaging studies to assess the Fallopian tubes and uterine cavity patency, and a sperm analysis to rule out new alterations in sperm function.

Technological advances allow us to offer highly effective treatments for most fertility problems. What is important in this issue is that if a woman or couple already has proven fertility with a baby thriving at home and now has secondary infertility, they are likely to have a better prognosis and can soon fulfill their dream of becoming parents for a second time.

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