Secondary infertility is not a specific disease or condition. It is applied to a couple dealing with an inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term, after the birth of one or more children. Studies show that one in eight couples have infertility. In fact, 11 per cent of couples who already have a child go on to experience secondary infertility, says new research.

Several factors can lead to secondary infertility, the most important being advanced age, overweight or underweight problems, lack of sun exposure, consanguinity, uterine issues, hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and damage from previous pregnancies or even lifestyle changes.

‘Just like primary infertility, secondary infertility requires the same treatment approach as a primary infertility diagnosis, but it is rarely met with the same amount of empathy and support,’ says Dr Francisco Ruiz, Medical Director, IVI Middle East Fertility in Muscat.

‘Most women who suffer secondary infertility undergo depression, which can strain a couple’s relationship. Patients who have experienced several miscarriages, have irregular menstrual cycles, or have had an unsuccessful conception after trying for six to twelve months would need to see a specialist, he says.