Secondary Infertility: Why am I having difficulty conceiving this time when I conceived naturally before?
By: Mira Aubuchon, MD
It was so easy to conceive the first time, why is it so hard now? This question is foremost in sufferers of secondary infertility, who have been able to conceive successfully and uneventfully in the past. It can be helpful perspective to remember that the chances of getting pregnant in any given month are ~ 20%, at the maximum. This means that even when everything goes seemingly perfectly, 4 in 5 people will not conceive. Many people have some underlying fertility issues which would reduce the chances of pregnancy down further, but not to zero and as such they may have conceived successfully despite those issues. But that means that even more people with similar issues would not have conceived that month, again even when things go seemingly perfectly.
However, there’s a difference between “seemingly” and “actually” when it comes to perfection. “Seemingly” means, regular periods, sex at the optimal time, in prime physical health, same conditions as with the successful pregnancy but without success. “Actually” means something different though:
- A genetically healthy egg is able to leave the ovary, get picked up by a healthy tube, while genetically healthy sperm are able to travel from the vagina to the uterus into the tubes and reach the egg within the end of the tube
- The genetically healthy sperm are able to successfully get inside the shell of the egg to fertilize it.
- The fertilized egg then divides into exact copies of itself hundreds of times to form a genetically healthy embryo that travels while it’s dividing to leave the tube and enter the uterus with the uterus having a normal shape and size and a lining that allows the embryo to implant properly for a successful pregnancy to occur.
People may not perceive any symptoms of things like increased male or female age, a new partner, surgeries such as c-sections, worsening of conditions like endometriosis, or a decline in the quality of eggs or sperm. However, these factors can have major implications for conceiving again. We understand this is a frustrating situation; please know that at MCRM Fertility, our doctors will uncover as many of these causes as possible and offer treatments to either solve or bypass the cause so that you can have the family you want. The first step is coming in to talk about it.