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Secondary Infertility - where to look.



Infertility is confusing and frightening at the best of times, but secondary infertility can be particularly bewildering, especially if your first pregnancy was easy and straightforward.

 

It's quite normal to assume that your next pregnancy would follow the same easy pattern - but between 5-10% of couples find themselves facing secondary infertility.

 

Coping with secondary infertility can be a difficult and sometimes lonely experience.

- It can be more difficult to get support, some fertility support groups are only open to people dealing with primary infertility.

- Your infertility may not be taken seriously by your doctor because you have already proven yourself to be 'fertile'.

- You may be ineligible for IVF on account of already having a child (depending on area).

- You may feel pressure from your existing child to produce a sibling for them.

 

When it comes to secondary infertility, the landscape is slightly different to that of primary infertility - you know you can conceive and carry, you know there isn't some fundamental mismatch of genes. So what else do we look at when it comes to investigating secondary infertility.

 

How was the previous pregnancy?

Were there any issues before, during or after your previous pregnancy that might shed some light on why conception is now proving difficult.

 

Have you fully recovered?

Pregnancy can be very draining, and breastfeeding afterwards can slow down our ability to rebuild reserves and resources. Is there any sign of anaemia, low ferritin? Is thyroid function looking ok?

 

What impact did the previous pregnancy and delivery have on internal structures?

I lean heavily on @gill_hind_osteopath for her expertise in this area, she checks for issues with circulation and tensions in and around the ovaries and uterus?

 

Thyroid antibodies?

A previous pregnancy can be a trigger point for autoimmune thyroiditis.

 

Microbiome issues?

Delivery and the postnatal recovery window can be an opportunity for infection or dysbiosis to set in which in turn can cause infertility. Testing the vaginal microbiome is the easiest, cheapest way to investigate this - the tests are broader and more detailed than uterine biopsy tests, and there is good evidence to show that the vaginal microbiome issues impact fertility.

 

Deteriorating sperm health?

Around 30-40% of secondary infertility is caused by a deterioration in sperm health.

 

If you are struggling with this, and would like to work with me, get in touch!

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