After you’ve had one child it is only natural that you would like to give your child a sibling. However, more and more couples are suffering with a problem called secondary infertility. Secondary infertility refers to when couples struggle to conceive a second child, despite already having a baby. This can occur for many reasons such as the fact that many couples delay childbearing between their first and second child, causing a higher percentage of eggs with chromosomal abnormalities that cannot lead to a successful pregnancy. Secondary infertility can also be a result of disease in the man or woman; decreased sperm count; blocked fallopian tubes; or a large weight gain or loss, which can throw off a woman’s ovulatory cycles.
Couples suffering from secondary infertility need not despair, as Nick Brook, Consultant Fertility Gynaecologist at Southampton University Hospital, explains they should ‘never feel that they are alone, infertility specialists are always there to help them find the right treatment pathway that will give them what they want i.e. another baby or achieve a closure point so that they can start to move on with their lives.’
One of the first things that an infertility specialist will look at is a couple’s daily life and how this may be affecting their fertility. Nick says ‘when trying for a baby both partners should look at their lifestyle and try and optimize it.’ This could involve a couple looking at their alcohol intake, their diet and quitting nasty habits like smoking. Couples can also look at taking supplements such as folic acid, simple adjustments like these have been found to make significant differences when trying for a baby.
When looking at their lifestyle couples should also consider the frequency they are having sex. Nick advises ‘couples should have sex every 2-3 days as this maximizes the quality of the sperm.’ However, couples should also remember to enjoy sex. This may sound odd but when couples become consumed with the idea of making a baby using LH predictor kits, Nick warns sex can become ‘just another task.’
After visiting an infertility specialist, couples may also organize for you to have a variety of tests. To some this may seem unnecessary when they have already successfully conceived a child, but these are essential in helping you have a second child. Nick explains ‘Never think we do these tests just as a tick box exercise. Going back to basics and clarifying all the normal parameters of hormone profile, ultrasound of womb, ovaries and sperm means we can exclude these and move onto more invasive tests if required.’
So, whether you are trying for your first, second or even third child, if you are having problems you should never feel that you are alone and seek help immediately. The sooner you can work out what the problem is, the sooner you can get on with enjoying your life. For more information on infertility visit http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Infertility/Pages/Introduction.aspx
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