When starting or growing a family, the journey isn’t always straightforward. While primary infertility, or the inability to conceive a first child, is a problem many people are familiar with, secondary infertility is a unique and equally important problem. Secondary infertility is when couples have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term after having one or more biological children.

Causes of Secondary Infertility

There are a number of causes of secondary infertility and they can differ in women in men.

Secondary Infertility in Women

One of the main causes of secondary infertility in women is the quality or number of eggs accessible for fertilization. All the eggs a woman will ever have are present at birth. When she releases eggs each month throughout her menstrual cycle, the quantity and quality she has decreases gradually. This decreases her chances of conceiving naturally.

There are also other potential causes in addition to egg-related problems. These include clogged or damaged fallopian tubes, polyps or fibroids in the uterus, and endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue lining the uterus grows outside the uterus and potentially affects the fallopian tubes and ovaries. PCOS, on the other hand, is characterized by hormonal imbalances that can lead to irregular ovulation and the development of cysts on the ovaries.

Secondary Infertility in Men

Secondary infertility in men is often associated with challenges related to their sperm, hormone abnormalities, or disorders affecting their reproductive structure.

One prevalent condition is low sperm count. It can be brought on by hormonal imbalances, genetic disorders, or lifestyle decisions, including excessive heat exposure or drug usage.

Sperm abnormalities, such as problems with sperm function, motility, or shape, may also make it challenging for sperm to reach and fertilize the egg successfully.

Azoospermia and Varicocele are two common conditions that can also contribute to secondary infertility. Azoospermia, or the lack of sperm in the ejaculate, can be brought on by obstructions or abnormalities in the reproductive system. Similarly, varicocele is characterized by enlarged veins within the scrotum that can interfere with normal sperm production.

Treatment for Secondary Infertility

Depending on a woman’s unique reproductive profile, various treatment methods are available that can increase the chances of conception.

A commonly used method is intrauterine insemination (IUI) and involves placing sperm directly into the woman’s uterus during ovulation. This technique boosts the chances of sperm meeting the egg and successfully fertilizing it.

Another popular option is in-vitro fertilization (IVF), where the egg and sperm are fertilized outside the woman’s body. The resulting embryo is then carefully transferred into the woman’s uterus with the hope that it will implant and lead to a successful pregnancy.

Schedule a Consultation

At Alex Tepper MD Obstetrics & Gynecology, we provide comprehensive fertility care tailored to each patient’s needs. Our experienced team, led by Dr. Tepper, is dedicated to helping women overcome infertility challenges.

To schedule a consultation today, call our New York, NY office at 212-828-0900 or use our online contact form.


Whether you are a new or returning patient, Dr. Tepper can assess your concerns and discuss your options to find the most comfortable and convenient care for you. To get started, call our office to set up an appointment.