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Couples who had previously been able to conceive naturally and have given birth without experiencing reproductive concerns or infertility may be unwelcomely surprised by secondary infertility. But not many know that it is totally treatable. So, let’s understand more about it like the causes of secondary infertility in females, the causes of secondary infertility in males, and of course, the treatment for secondary infertility.

What is Secondary Infertility?

When a woman has already conceived naturally or given birth to a child, secondary infertility refers to her inability to conceive or become pregnant again. Either partner or both of them may be accountable for secondary infertility. But don’t worry, treatment for secondary infertility is possible owing to the advancements in the medical field.

Difference Between Primary and Secondary Infertility:

The term “infertility” is more frequently used to describe primary infertility. Signs of secondary infertility are when a couple is unable to conceive after previously becoming pregnant, this is known as secondary infertility. Secondary infertility symptoms typically include a condition when a couple is unable to conceive after trying for 6 to 12 months.

What are Secondary Infertility Causes?

Infertility problems in either the male, female, or both partners might be a contributing factor in secondary infertility. Signs of secondary infertility could be in either of the partners. Let’s address each one in detail.

What are the causes of secondary infertility in females?

One-third of all cases of secondary infertility are caused by problems in the female partner. What are the root causes? Our medical professionals provide insight:

causes of secondary infertility in females

1. Advanced Age (Above 35 Years)

Why is it among the top secondary infertility causes? After the age of 35, a woman’s fertility begins to drop due to ovarian aging leading to diminished egg quality and reduced implantation rate. And she may face issues in conceiving the second child, if planned after this age.

2. Endometriosis

This syndrome is characterized by the growth of tissue that resembles the uterine lining in the body outside the womb. It may make it difficult to get pregnant. Also, secondary infertility symptoms here include excessively painful periods/menstruation.

3. Blocked Fallopian Tubes

Pelvic infectious diseases like tuberculosis, Chlamydia, or gonorrhea can damage the fallopian tube that transfers eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

A hormonal condition that results in irregular or protracted menstrual cycles in women. Multiple small follicles that produce excess testosterone levels may also be present in PCOS patients (male hormones). The release of eggs is inhibited in
patients with PCOS which leads to infertility.

5. Excess Weight Gain

Your fertility may also be impacted by an increase in BMI and/or certain medicines, which can cause ovarian malfunction resulting in secondary infertility causes.

What are the causes of secondary infertility in males?

Another third of all cases of infertility are caused by problems with the male spouse. Our medical experts share what these could be:

causes of secondary infertility in males

1. Advanced Age (Above 40 Years)

After age 40, semen quality often deteriorates. Therefore, there can be diminished sperm motility, quality and inability of the sperm to fertilize the egg. This is among the top secondary infertility causes.

2. Low Testosterone Level

A crucial factor in the generation of sperm is testosterone. Age, damage to the genitalia or the urinary tract, and certain medical diseases can all cause a reduction in testosterone levels.

3. Enlarged Prostate

Low Sperm count and ejaculation can be restricted due to prostate enlargement, also called hypertrophy.

4. Late-onset Hypogonadism

An age-related drop in testosterone results in the clinical and biochemical illness known as late-onset Hypogonadism (LOH) in aging men. The link between LOH and unsuccessful sexual and reproductive efforts is widely known.

5. Excessive Weight Gain

According to medical professionals, every 20 more pounds a guy puts on increases his risk of infertility by 10%.

6. Lifestyle

Smoking, alcohol, and occupational hazards- exposure to chemicals, heat, etc.

7. Systemic diseases

Diabetes, hypertension, and anti-hypertensive medicines affect fertility

What are Secondary Infertility Symptoms?

The major symptom of secondary infertility is the inability to conceive naturally or bring a child to term after a prior successful pregnancy and delivery after trying for 12 months. Since secondary infertility can result from a number of underlying disorders, some of which we have previously discussed, it may manifest as a variety of additional symptoms depending on your individual diagnosis.

Treatment for Secondary Infertility for Women:

Treatment for Secondary Infertility

 1. Oral Medications

There are a number of oral drugs that help women with ovulation disorders by releasing the hormones that stimulate egg development.

2. Uterine Surgery

It helps in removing abnormal growths in the uterus that aren’t desirable and reduces fertility, such as fibroids, polyps,
endometriosis, etc.

3. In-Vitro Fertilization

In IVF Treatment, more than one egg is developed by giving hormonal injections and these eggs are retrieved. One sperm is injected inside a healthy sperm and embryos are formed which are transferred inside the uterus.

Treatment for Secondary Infertility for Men

1. Lifestyle modification

Alcohol, tobacco, and smoking affect sperm quality and damage the DNA in the sperm leading to infertility, hence lifestyle modification is necessary and is the first step to treating male infertility.

 2. IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)

IUI Treatment, which is frequently used when men’s sperm counts and motility are low, involves directly inserting sperm after washing into a woman’s uterus. Additionally, this also raises hopes for women who have cervical mucus that is not receptive.

3. Supplements

While medication therapy can enhance semen quality, antioxidants and anti-aging vitamins can increase male fertility.


In conclusion, secondary infertility can give unique challenges for individuals or couples hoping to expand their families. Understanding its causes and symptoms is crucial in seeking appropriate treatment options. Whether the cause lies in physiological factors, lifestyle choices, or a combination of both, consulting with medical professionals is essential. Fortunately, advancements in reproductive medicine offer a range of treatments, from medication to assisted reproductive technologies. For those in Indore seeking assistance, finding the best infertility clinic can provide expert guidance and support tailored to their needs, ultimately offering hope for achieving the dream of parenthood.


How common is secondary infertility?

As per medical experts, secondary infertility is as common as primary infertility.

Is secondary fertility curable?

Many couples who are diagnosed with secondary infertility go on to have successful future pregnancies because it is treatable as per individual secondary infertility causes. A thorough work up by an Infertility expert is the first step to be taken.

What are the signs of secondary infertility?

Usually, secondary infertility is identified after six to twelve months of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant. Recurrent pregnancy loss is a disorder in which individuals and couples can have a conception but are unable to take the pregnancy to term.

Dr. Shefali Jain

Dr. Shefali Jain is Gynecologist, Obstetrician & Infertility Specialist in Indore with more than 27 years of experience in the field of ART with highest success rate. She has received many awards for her exceptional work in the field of infertility. She has been an invited speaker to many national and international conferences.

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