USC Fertility


What is Secondary Infertility?

Answering the question, “What is secondary infertility?”

Answering the question, “What is secondary infertility?”

So, what is secondary infertility? This is a common question that patients often ask our Los Angeles fertility clinic team. This condition is the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after already having one or more children. This fertility challenge is very common, but it can be incredibly distressing.

Women and men with this type of infertility sometimes have a hard time finding emotional support, because some believe they should be grateful for the child, or children, they already have. At our clinic, we feel everyone has the right to build their ideal family. As a result, we provide comprehensive support to all parents hoping to have more children.

Why women and men might experience this fertility challenge

When a patient asks our team, “What is secondary infertility?” we believe it’s important to explain the reasons why it might happen. One potential reason is that the patient has a new partner who has fertility challenges that were not a factor with their previous partner. Another reason could be that one or both partners have developed fertility challenges since having their last child.

For women, infertility can be the result of ovulation disorders, endometriosis, growths in the uterus or an increase in age that causes a reduced ovarian reserve (egg supply). In men, issues with sperm health can make it more difficult for the couple to conceive.

To determine why a patient is having fertility issues, our Los Angeles fertility clinic team utilizes the same evaluations we use for primary infertility. These evaluations include a review of the patient’s medical history, a physical exam, bloodwork, an ultrasound for women and a semen analysis for men. Sometimes, the patient may also require more extensive testing.

Treatments that can help patients move past secondary infertility

The second part of answering the question, “What is secondary infertility?” involves discovering how we treat it. After a doctor at our Los Angeles fertility clinic reviews the results of the patient’s tests, they can often develop an effective treatment plan. Many of the fertility treatments they commonly use can help patients overcome secondary infertility.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI). For this treatment, a doctor uses a catheter to insert the sperm of the woman’s partner or a donor into her uterus. To prepare, the woman tracks her ovulation and comes to our clinic for the IUI the day after ovulation.

IUI and clomiphene citrate. This treatment involves the woman taking clomiphene citrate, or Clomid, to stimulate ovulation. She then receives an IUI the day after ovulation.

In vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is one of the most successful fertility treatments. It consists of the woman taking ovulation induction medications and receiving monitoring at our clinic. When enough eggs mature, the doctor retrieves them during a short procedure. From there, an embryologist fertilizes the eggs with the sperm of the woman’s partner or a donor, and the doctor transfers a resulting embryo to her uterus.

These fertility treatments often help patients give their children a healthy new sibling. Contact us for more information if you’re wondering what secondary infertility is and how to treat it.

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