By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 08/29/2014

Infertility is diagnosed if a couple has failed to conceive after a year of unprotected sex. A couple has primary infertility if they have never had a child before (and is experiencing problems). In the secondary infertility the couple is unable to get pregnant again.
Sometimes, secondary infertility can be experienced with a new partner.

Unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant again

Secondary fertility is quite prevalent. However, there is a big difference between women with secondary infertility and those who have primary infertility. Even so, couples that have secondary infertility feel the same guilt, refusal, anger, depression and frustration as those of the primary type. On top of that, passing on this stressful feeling of anxiety to the children may be very worrisome for the couples that cope with secondary infertility.


Generally, secondary sterility shares the same causes as primary sterility: hormone imbalances, ovarian and ovulation disorders, endometrial or tract-related problems, vaginal or uterine issues and genetic disorders.

Nonetheless, maternal age, a sexually-transmitted disease contracted after the previous pregnancy, a disease that was dormant during said gestation, alterations in the cervical mucus, fybromas, diabetes or even any ovarian or ovulation disorder are common causes of secondary sterility.

Maternal age is a key infertility factor

How can we treat infertility?

Like the causes, the treatments and ways to deal with both types of infertility are very similar. However, time is a critical factor in the treatment of secondary sterility. Treating secondary infertility in a 30 year-old woman is not the same as treating this condition in a 40 year-old woman.

Timing has to be optimised by accelerating the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. It is also important the the couples sets realistic expectations about the chances of success of the treatment.

Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information

One comment

    1. katiespencer

      Thanks for the useful info. I also had to face infertility after my first miscarriage. Later on, I moved towards adoption but child abounded us. The only option left to have our own baby was secondary surrogacy. It’s a long story to be called but I had successful IUI treatment from a prominent clinic. Now everything is going smooth and may be within two months we will have us surrogated baby in hands.