There are many women amongst us who struggle to conceive despite being able to have a child before. Such a condition is termed as secondary infertility. Studies indicate that one in eight couples suffer from infertility, and in fact, according to a recent research, 11 per cent of couples who already have a child go on to experience secondary infertility. That’s approximately 4 million families or about half of all infertility cases.
Just like primary infertility, secondary infertility can be equally heart-breaking and requires the same treatment approach as a primary infertility diagnosis, but crucially, it is rarely met with the same amount of empathy and support. “It’s so important to raise awareness, give clarity and encourage people struggling to get the support they need,” said Dr Laura Melado, a reputable IVF Specialist from IVI Middle East Fertility in Abu Dhabi.
Secondary infertility isn’t a specific disease or condition but is applied to a couple dealing with an inability to conceive, or carry a pregnancy to term, after the birth of one or more children. There are several factors that can lead to secondary infertility, the most important being – advanced age, overweight or underweight problems, lack of sun exposure, consanguinity, hormonal conditions, and damage from previous pregnancies as problems with previous C-section scar or even lifestyle changes.
“Infertility is often considered as a taboo, and for women suffering from secondary infertility it is no better. Most women who suffer secondary infertility undergo depression, which many times, strains a couple’s relationship. While it’s not easy to come to terms with this condition, we recommend patients that if they’ve experienced several miscarriages, irregular menstrual cycles, or have had an unsuccessful conception after trying for six to twelve months, it is important to see a specialist,” added Dr Melado.
“There are so many emotions that go through you when you are struggling to conceive, guilt, heartbreak each month when you realize that yet again you are not pregnant. Furthermore, it’s very difficult to understand for a woman who got pregnant easily before, why she is not getting pregnant again. However, we just want to let all the women who suffer from this condition know that they are not alone, and there are a lot of women that are also going through this” she said.
Infertility can be an isolating experience, and to ensure women don’t struggle in silence, some clinics around the world including the IVI Middle East Fertility Clinic aim to create awareness about secondary infertility through patient meet sessions conducted regularly and through consultations and advice. “Couples who face secondary infertility can also have a difficult time finding the right support from family and friends. While a general lack of sensitivity is sadly all too common, there are a variety of resources that couples can and should opt for to deal with this condition. Consultation with a fertility specialist is the first step towards a new beginning and we encourage couples struggling to conceive to seek some help and support from experts,” concluded Dr Melado.