Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. As per the CDC, approximately 12% of women have been diagnosed with an infertility issue.
There is a common misconception that if you didn’t have infertility issues when conceiving your first child, you won’t have any infertility issues down the road. However, around 3 million women in the United States who have one child but then have difficulty conceiving the second (or third) time around. This is known as secondary infertility.
Secondary infertility refers to those who were able to achieve a healthy pregnancy at least once (either together or with a previous partner) but have been unable to conceive again. Unlike those having trouble conceiving their first child, people who are affected by secondary infertility tend to be less likely to seek infertility treatments.
Unfortunately, many are told that they have nothing to worry about, just keep on trying, and eventually it will happen. This can be dismissive of a real issue. If you are under 35 years old though and have been trying to conceive for over a year or if you’re over 35 years old and have been trying to conceive for over six months, whether you got pregnant easily the first time or not, you should consider seeing a reproductive endocrinologist like Dr. Wilcox.
In addition to family and friends not always understanding that there may be a medical diagnosis preventing you from expanding your family, couples that are experiencing secondary infertility are reluctant to reach out to others, including support groups. According to Resolve, The National Infertility Association, “They don’t feel like they have a sounding board of people who can empathize with the frustration and feelings of guilt, anger, isolation, depression, jealousy and being out of control.”
As for the physical reasons for what may be causing secondary infertility, they aren’t all that different than the reasons for primary infertility. It can include ovulation issues, endometriosis, PCOS, uterine abnormalities, and/or male factor infertility. Further complicating matters is now you are a few years older since you had your first child, so your egg quality may have begun decreasing.
In addition to your age and how long you’ve been trying to conceive, if you have experienced two or more miscarriages, have irregular periods, or have especially painful periods, you might want to make an appointment sooner rather than later.
Overall, if you’ve been trying to get pregnant again and it’s taking longer than it did with your first child, there’s no harm in seeing a doctor to gain some insight. Dr. Wilcox can work with you to diagnose any potential causes, and develop a treatment plan to help you grow your family!
For more information on the numerous fertility treatments offered at Wilcox Fertility, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our online form or call us at 626.657.9327.