Secondary Infertility and Egg Donation

If you have already had a successful birth, you may expect future attempts to go just as smoothly. However, sometimes people are unable to conceive or carry a baby to term even though they’ve already done so in the past. This is known as secondary infertility. As common as primary infertility, secondary infertility can be traced to one or both partners, with many causes, including female and male health issues. 

This condition can take a toll on your emotional health, as friends, family, and even healthcare professionals may dismiss your claims, telling you to “relax” or “keep trying.” If you do suspect that you have secondary infertility, you and your partner should be tested so you and your doctor can come up with a treatment plan. Depending on the situation and what is causing your case of secondary infertility, you may want to consider using donor eggs to become pregnant. 

What Is Secondary Infertility?

With secondary infertility, your previous birth must have occurred without help from fertility medications or treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Generally, it’s diagnosed if a woman and man, both 35 years or younger, have been unsuccessful in conceiving after having unprotected sex for at least 12 months. If older than 35, this time range is less than six months  

About one-third of secondary infertility cases originate in women, one-third originate in men, and one-third may be due to combined factors or have no diagnosis. The common causes for women and men include increased age, prior pregnancy or surgery complications, increased weight, medications, sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol abuse, and smoking. 

How Is Secondary Infertility Diagnosed And Treated?

If you suspect this condition, you and your partner should quickly visit a reproductive endocrinologist, women’s health provider, or urologist. They will review your medical histories to determine what has changed since your previous pregnancy. 

You’ll also have more time to select a treatment, especially if you have certain infertility risk factors, like having ovulatory issues (e.g. missed periods, irregular periods) or reproductive conditions, such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Secondary infertility treatment options are similar to those for primary infertility, including:

  • Medications to induce ovulation in women and improve semen quality
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which sperm is placed inside a woman’s uterus, thus increasing fertilization chances
  • IVF, in which an egg is fertilized outside of the uterus in a lab to make embryos that are transferred into your uterus
  • Surgery to repair uterine-related or testicular problems

Consider Egg Donation For Secondary Infertility

After repeated treatment attempts, you may still have conception difficulties. If due to female infertility, you may want to look to an egg donor to become pregnant. This option is becoming very popular, especially among women over 40. 

With this process, an egg donor’s healthy, mature eggs are collected and fertilized with the intended father’s sperm. An embryo develops and is transferred into the recipient’s uterus. There are many accredited egg donor agencies across the country, including Fertility Source Companies, that can help you find an amazing egg donor that checks off many of the boxes on your “wish list.”
While secondary infertility is common, you have options to help with your pregnancy efforts, including using an egg donor. We encourage you to contact Fertility Source Companies with any questions or concerns.