What causes secondary infertility?

Secondary Infertility

Most couples assume that once they’ve had one child, they’ll have no problems conceiving another. Unfortunately this is not true and for many couples it can be pretty frustrating to discover you’re not pregnant month after month.

What causes secondary infertility?

Reasons for Secondary Infertility tend to be the same as primary infertility although varying factors may have changed since your last pregnancy. You may have gained weight, had an infection, or are eating fewer healthy foods. These might seem like small factors but can all contribute to your reproductive health. You may also be stressed, (this is probably the case if you have a boisterous two year old to deal with) something which can cause many couples to be unable to reproduce especially since experts believe you are more likely to conceive when relaxed.

The other factor can be sex. Having a toddler run into your room when you least expect can dampen your efforts at baby-making, coupled with tiredness, means you probably have had less sex this time round than when you were baby-making with your first baby.


At least one factor changes by the time you start considering a second pregnancy and that is your age. More women are leaving having their first baby until their early thirties, which means by the time they want a second they may be in their late thirties or early forties, See Your age and fertility. Women are most fertile between the ages of 20-24 years and by age 35; a woman is half as fertile as when she was 25. If you haven't fallen pregnant after six months of trying it is advisable to make an appointment with your GP.

Couple Factor

Another factor in Secondary Infertility is the introduction of a new partner. Where you were previously able to conceive with a different partner, you may have problems with a new one. And remember, a problem can lie with the man’s fertility, the woman’s fertility or both. If you think this is the case, make an appointment with your GP who can refer you to a fertility clinic for more testing.


Just because it took you a week to conceive last time, does nto mean that it will happen again. You are older, more stressed and have a child to look after so lots of things have changed this time. Do not judge when to conceive on the last time you fell pregnant, as it will invariably take longer. Try to set yourself a realistic timescale. It might be worth discussing your concerns with a GP or fertility expert who can look at your individual situation and give you a realistic timescale to work with. See How long will it take to get pregnant for more help.

Consider other options

If enough time has passed and you are still not pregnant and your fertility problems seem to be unexplained it might be worth considering other paths to look at. Going to a fertility clinic can help, but so can taking steps to ensure you are eating the right foods, staying healthy and making sure your lifestyle is ready for another baby. Lots of complementary therapies can help to improve issues such as irregular cycles or hormonal imbalances which can decrease your chances of getting pregnant.

Experiencing secondary infertility is an emotional experience for both men and women, and also for the child or children you already have. Even if they are young they are sure to pick up on some of your emotions. Sometimes couples in this situation will think about assisted conception such as IVF.


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