Secondary Infertility: Understanding Causes and How A Gynaecology Clinic in Singapore Can Help

IUI vs IVF Treatments in Singapore: Which Treatment is Right for You?

Infertility affects millions of couples worldwide, bringing emotional and physical challenges to relationships. While primary infertility refers to the inability to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse, secondary infertility arises when a couple who previously conceived without issues struggles to achieve another pregnancy later on. This guide explores the possible causes and treatment options for secondary infertility and how a Singapore gynaecologist can help your journey towards family expansion.

Prevalence of Secondary Infertility

Secondary infertility is a significant concern affecting couples who have already had a child. Medical practitioners typically diagnose secondary infertility after a couple has tried to conceive naturally for 6 months (older than 35 years of age) to a year (below 35 years of age). Understanding the potential causes and available treatment options empowers couples to navigate secondary infertility effectively.

Possible Causes of Secondary Infertility

Several factors can contribute to secondary infertility in both men and women. The most prevalent causes, as identified by gynaecology service clinics, are as follows:

Female Factors

Age: Fertility naturally declines with age, especially for women over 35.

Egg quality and reserve: Women are born with a finite number of eggs. As they age, especially after 35, this number naturally decreases. Additionally, the remaining eggs may be more prone to chromosomal abnormalities. Certain medical conditions and treatments, like autoimmune diseases or radiation therapy, can also affect egg quality and quantity. By consulting a fertility specialist at a Singapore gynaecology clinic, you will be able to find out whether this is the reason behind your secondary infertility.

Scars and blockages: Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes can prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Similarly, certain conditions and procedures can affect your uterus's ability to support a pregnancy, leading to secondary infertility. Some of these include:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Uterine polyps
  • Endometriosis
  • Surgical scarring from C-section delivery
  • Scarring from dilation and curettage

Hormonal conditions: Certain conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also stand in the way of a successful conception. If you are experiencing delayed conception and suspect PCOS, consulting a Singapore gynaecologist can help you clear out any concerns.

Weight gain and lifestyle changes: Weight gain can affect a female's chances of conception. Maintaining the correct body mass index (BMI) and staying away from smoking and alcohol consumption are equally important for a healthy conception.

Male Factors

Poor-quality sperm: Sperm count, motility, and morphology can significantly impact fertility, and the quality of both semen and sperm tends to decline as males age. It is one of the most identified causes of secondary infertility.

Hormonal issues: Testosterone plays a key role in sperm production, and these levels can decline owing to factors like age, injury, or certain underlying medical conditions. Furthermore, thyroid diseases, genital infections, sepsis, and emotional stress can all contribute to low testosterone levels (hypogonadism). This is more common as a male reaches the age of 40, and statistical data indicates that hormone-related infertility affects 2% of males worldwide.

Testicular varicocele: As per the Urology Care Foundation, "about 4 in 10 men tested for fertility problems have a varicocele and decreased sperm movement." Proper diagnosis and medical guidance by a gynaecology clinic in Singapore can help understand whether this could be a possible reason for your secondary infertility.

Prostate enlargement or removal: An enlarged prostate can lead to abnormal ejaculation and a lower sperm count. Removal of a prostate can cause semen to flow backwards.

Certain drugs: Some antibiotics and certain blood pressure medications are known to adversely affect the quality of sperm.

Lifestyle factors and chemicals: Using lubricants that are toxic to sperm (such as petroleum jelly) and excessive exposure to heat, industrial chemicals, and pesticides can affect male fertility.

Your Singapore Gynaecologist: A Partner in Secondary Infertility Diagnosis and Treatment

Gynaecologists play a crucial role in diagnosing the cause of secondary infertility. They will consider the couple's medical history, perform physical examinations, and order necessary tests, including hormonal analysis, ovulation assessment, semen analysis, and hysterosalpingography (HSG), to name a few.

Gynaecological Treatments for Secondary Infertility

Depending on the cause, various treatment options are available for couples with secondary infertility. Your doctor will create a personalised treatment plan based on the identified cause of infertility. This plan could involve:

  • Medical treatment: Medications can address hormonal imbalances, ovulation issues, or infections affecting fertility. For example, antibiotics will target bacterial infections that hinder conception. Additional medications may also support general health and improve your body's receptivity to pregnancy.
  • Surgical treatment: For certain conditions, like blocked fallopian tubes, fibroids, or severe infections in females, surgery can be recommended to restore optimal reproductive function.
  • Assisted reproductive methods: When other methods are unsuccessful, assisted reproductive technologies, like IUI, IVF, ICSI, can significantly increase the chances of conception.
  • Lifestyle and dietary adjustments: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, balanced nutrition, weight management, and limited alcohol and smoking can significantly improve your overall well-being and enhance your chances of conceiving.
  • Remember: Every couple's fertility journey is unique. Seeking professional guidance and collaborating with your Singapore gynaecologist empowers you to explore the most suitable options for expanding your family.

Seng's OG Practice: Your Singapore Gynaecology Clinic

Secondary infertility can be challenging, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, many couples can achieve their dream of family expansion. Consulting a Singapore gynaecologist at Seng's OG Practice for timely evaluation and personalised treatment plans may increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. We take a supportive and collaborative approach as we journey with you. Call us today for a consultation.