Secondary infertility: Why it happens to couples who have already had successful pregnancies

Why more parents are struggling with secondary infertility

Most parents may assume that it will be easy to get pregnant again after having their first child, but that may not always be true. Reports estimate that over 3 million couples in the United States face secondary infertility. Fox News’ Dr. Manny Alvarez sits down with a renowned fertility doctor to discuss the heartbreaking condition.

Infertility is not a common condition but couples who are having a hard time conceiving do add up. One of every seven couples in the US is infertile. This makes infertility cure a very important pursuit for many couples all over the country.

Infertility cases, more than the inability to bear children can also have a relational strain to a couple. Marriages are often affected and sometimes enough to ultimately cause a divorce. But infertility is not a hopeless case.

There are many successful conception brought about by assisted reproductive technology (ART). Some examples of this are In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer (GIFT) and Zygote Intra-Fallopian Transfer (ZIFT) to name a few. These methods increase the chances of a sperm to fertilize an egg. These procedures can set fertilization inside a woman’s womb or outside it.

There are also fertility drugs that can assist and regulate ovulation. There are also drugs that can help a man increase the production of sperm. These drugs have an equal share of success in some minor infertility cases. This intervention is considered to be the most simple and direct approach to address problems in fertility.

Surgery can also be offered to couples who are having difficulty having a baby. In cases where a woman’s fallopian tube is blocked, surgery is a good option. This makes sure that the sperm have unobstructed access to a fertile egg. Surgery can also be done to a man whose sperm ducts are blocked thus causing problems with sperm production.

Sometimes the problems are beyond the control of the couples. When the eggs and sperms of a couple fail to fertilize, infertility options goes to another level. At this point of infertility, donor eggs, embryos and sperms are considered. This might use a woman’s egg and a donor sperm, or a man’s sperm with a donor egg. Either way, the goal is to have successful fertilization.

Infertility cure is an important front in medical study and research. It can also be a social issue that goes beyond the “want” of children. Procreation is a blessing and a physiological mandate that ensures the survival of the human species.

Shauna Stewart Douglas was struggling with infertility. It caught her and husband, John, by surprise.

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“I assumed that if you can get pregnant once, then you can get pregnant again,” Douglas told Fox News.

She had become pregnant almost two years earlier with her daughter, but this time around even in vitro fertilization (IVF) wasn’t working. At age 35, Douglas found herself struggling with secondary infertility.

“People always say to imagine what you want your kitchen table to look like in the future when you’re thinking about how many kids to have,” Douglas said. “And in my mind it has been my husband and all of our kids and that was all fading away. It was all going away.”

Reports estimate that over 3 million couples in the United States face secondary infertility, which according to the Mayo Clinic is the inability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to term after previously giving birth.

Dr. Kecia Gaither, an OB-GYN and director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, says several conditions can cause secondary infertility like obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the use of some medications, prior surgery, endometriosis, issues with cervical mucus and the age of both partners.

“Many health conditions can be present without symptoms, until such a time as the couple wishes to become pregnant,” Gaither told Fox News. “If there is an issue within a year of trying in couples less than 35 years of age or after six months in couples older than 35, it’s time to see your physician.”

Douglas, founder of Permission to Profit, said they tried two rounds of IVF–with the second time ending in miscarriage–before they decided that they “couldn’t do it anymore.”

“Maybe it would have happened if we had kept on going and trying again and again, but I couldn’t do it, I just I couldn’t do the rollercoaster anymore.”

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