Secondary Infertility Causes

Sarah Johnson
8 Min Read

Secondary infertility causes when you are not able to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after giving birth earlier. The treatment options generally include medications to induce the ovulation in vitro fertilization or surgery as well.

What are Secondary Infertility Causes?

Secondary infertility is when you are not able to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term after giving birth previously. In terms of classifying as secondary infertility, the previous birth will occur without taking any fertility medications or treatments such as in vitro fertilization. Healthcare providers mainly diagnose secondary infertility after several tries to conceive for six months to a year.

How Common is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility is as common as primary infertility. It mainly affects about 11% of couples in the United States.

What are the Signs of Secondary Infertility?

One of the significant signs of secondary infertility is not being able to get pregnant after having one child. If you are younger than 35 years, then your provider will suspect secondary infertility after a year or while trying to conceive. Trying to conceive is mainly defined as having regular, unprotected sex. If you are older than 35 years, then your provider will classify it as secondary infertility after six months of regular and unprotected sex.

What are Common Causes of Secondary Infertility?

The secondary infertility will affect one or both of the partners. Sometimes, there is no reason for secondary infertility, and it is because of several factors. The reason for secondary infertility is split between the assigned sexes and the unknown causes. Here, we are sharing some of the most common secondary infertility causes in women:

  • Impaired sperm or impaired eggs
  • Age
  • Complications from the previous pregnancy
  • Complications of the prior surgery
  • Increase in body weight or BMI
  • Medications or other medical conditions
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Lifestyle factors like drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes

What Are the Reasons Behind second fertility for Women and People Assigned Female At Birth (AFAB)?

The uterine structure, certain medical diseases, lifestyle variables, and egg quality are the most common reasons of secondary infertility in women and individuals that are assigned the feminine gender at birth.

Problems in the Quantity or Quality of Eggs

The women and people AFAB are mainly born with a limited supply of eggs and can’t be able to create new eggs. When you reach the 40s, the number of eggs that will be left in your ovaries will decrease, and the rest of the eggs have more chance of having chromosomal problems. Also, autoimmune or genetic conditions and prior surgery or radiation are the different reasons for a person to have a low number of good egg quality.

Secondary infertility causes

Structural Issues (Like Scars or Blockages)

Infections and surgery will also be able to cause damage to the parts of your fallopian tubes or the uterus as well. Your fallopian tube will carry an egg into your uterus. The complications from infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and pelvic inflammatory diseases will block your fallopian tubes.

Also, some of the conditions will affect the uterus and also cause secondary infertility as well. Scarring from some procedures will interfere with the pregnancy. These procedures generally include the dilation and curettage or C-section delivery. The uterine fibroids or polyps will block the portion of the uterus and impair a pregnancy as well.

Also Read: Various causes of Unexplained Infertility

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is one of the hormonal conditions which will cause irregular and infrequent menstrual periods. Most people with PCOS don’t ovulate in a regular manner, which affects their ability to conceive as well.


Endometriosis is one of the conditions where the tissues that grow commonly inside your uterus grow into your ovaries or the other parts of the body. The endometriosis is quite common, and not all the endometriosis will cause infertility as well.

Weight Gain or Other Lifestyle Changes

Weight gain may lead to ovarian dysfunction in some people. The medications or the treatments for some conditions will also contribute to infertility. Things like smoking or drinking will also affect ovulation and conception.

What Are the Reasons Behind second fertility for Men and People Assigned Male at Birth (AMAB)?

The causes of secondary infertility in men and people assigned male at birth may include issues with hormone levels and some medical conditions and lifestyle factors as well.

Reduced Testosterone Level

Sperm production is significantly influenced by testosterone. The testosterone level will decline because of aging, injury to the testicles, or some other medical conditions as well. The conditions generally include:

  • Genital infections
  • Thyroid diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Tuberculosis
  • Mumps
  • Smallpox
  • Blood diseases
  • Benign tumors
  • Emotional stress
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Coma
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory failure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Burns
  • Sepsis

The medical term for low testosterone is mainly known as hypogonadism. Some of the studies show that nearly 2% of all men and people have low testosterone. Low testosterone is quite common when you get more than 40 years old.

Final Verdict

Secondary infertility is quite natural and one of the common conditions that will disappoint the partner and family a swell. If you are trying to get pregnant and are not able to conceive, then it will be helpful for you to talk with your healthcare provider. In some of the cases, there are no apparent causes for secondary infertility. Your provider can be able to work with you on a treatment plan that will match your desire to expand your family.


Is it hard to conceive a second child?

Some of the common infertility causes in women are impaired sperm or impaired eggs. The age complications from the previous pregnancy are also one of the primary reasons behind it.

Is IVF successful in secondary infertility?

If the other approaches don’t result in a healthy pregnancy, couples with secondary infertility are suggested to try IVF. IVF will be more successful for couples with SI than those with primary infertility.

What are the 3 common causes of infertility?

The common causes of infertility generally include lack of regular ovulation, semen, or blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.

What is the best age to conceive a second child?

For most women, it is good to wait for at least 18 months between giving birth and getting pregnant again. It means that your baby needs to be 1.5 years old before you get pregnant again.

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Sarah Johnson, loves helping expecting parents on their journey to parenthood, Sarah has lots of knowledge about her work as a maternity and fertility specialist. She provides personalized care and support to individuals and couples in the path of conception and pregnancy. She writes engaging blogs and articles at about maternity and fertility. From tips for boosting fertility to handling the ups and downs of pregnancy, her blogs are full of valuable information for women.
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