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Myths and Facts About Secondary Infertility

The decision to get pregnant is an exciting one, no matter if it’s your first baby or you’re already a parent. But what does it mean when you have a baby (or babies) and you suddenly can’t conceive after a year of trying?

Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term following the birth of one or more biological children. It’s lesser known than primary infertility, and that means there are a lot of misconceptions about what it is. 

If you’re struggling to get pregnant again, it could be secondary infertility, and A. Michael Coppa, MD, has the answers you’re seeking. Don’t let confusion and frustration delay your treatment. Read on as we debunk a few of the most common myths about secondary infertility.

Myth: If you already have a child, you won’t experience infertility

This myth stems from the belief that once you've successfully conceived and given birth to at least one child, fertility concerns are a thing of the past. But your fertility is complex, and it’s not unusual for it to change over time.

Fact: Secondary infertility is a real issue. Just because someone has had a child before doesn't guarantee their ability to conceive easily or quickly in the future. Secondary infertility can be the result of such factors as:

Myth: Secondary infertility is rare

Since primary infertility gets a lot of attention, it’s easy to assume that secondary infertility is rare. This perception of rarity may stem from the lack of awareness and discussion about secondary infertility, because the truth is that it’s just as common.

Fact: About 11% of American couples have secondary infertility. It’s a lot more common than people realize, but many couples hesitate to seek treatment due to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and isolation. If you’re struggling to conceive at any point, help is available.

Myth: Secondary infertility is always due to female health changes

There's a pervasive belief that infertility is a female reproductive health problem, particularly if you’ve successfully conceived and given birth in the past. While it’s true that female factors can contribute to secondary infertility, male factors play a role as well.

Fact: Just like primary infertility, both male and female factors can contribute to secondary infertility. If you and your partner are facing infertility after having a child, undergoing a comprehensive fertility evaluation can help pinpoint issues that could be affecting your ability to get pregnant again.

For men, issues like low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or erectile dysfunction can interfere with conception, regardless of whether you’ve previously had children.

How preconception planning can help you grow your family

The emotional toll of infertility doesn’t lessen simply because you’re already a parent. If you think you might be dealing with secondary infertility, Dr. Coppa and our team are here to help.

We offer preconception planning and infertility evaluations to help you understand your reproductive health and take steps to optimize your fertility. 

Depending on your specific situation, we may recommend lifestyle changes, additional fertility testing, or fertility treatments to increase your chances of growing your family.

When getting pregnant isn’t as easy as you thought it would be, remember that you’re not alone. Professional care and support is available to help you understand and navigate secondary infertility. 

Book a fertility consultation with Dr. Coppa online or call one of our offices in Cranston, Providence, or Smithfield, Rhode Island, to get started today.

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