October 21, 2019

Difference Between Primary & Secondary Infertility

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The number of infertile couples in India is rising rapidly and is estimated to increase from 220 million in 2015 to 244 million in 2020 million. It thus becomes important to understand how the two types of infertility are differently caused and treated.

Primary Infertility:
What does it mean?

When a woman is unable to ever bear a child i.e unable to conceive or carry pregnancy of spontaneous miscarriage or stillbirth.

Secondary Infertility:
After successful natural(unassisted) pregnancy(ies), when a woman is unable to bear a child the next time, i.e unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to full-term on account of spontaneous miscarriage or stillbirth.

How is it indicated for Primary infertility?

No Success with pregnancy after at least one year of unprotected intercourse.

How is it indicated for Secondary infertility?

Successful pregnancy and childbirth at least once followed by failure in subsequent attempts.

Male Infertility Primary Infertility Causes:

  • low Sperm count
  • Abnormally shaped sperm
  • DNA fragmentation of sperm
  • Issues with sperm mobility and motility
  • Male Infertility Secondary Infertility Causes:

  • Age-related deterioration in sperm quality>/li>
  • Varicocele
  • TuberculosisMumps>/li>
  • STIs
  • Smallpox
  • Blood Disorders
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Female Infertility Primary Infertility Causes:

  • Problem with the Fallopian tubes.
  • Irregular ovulation or other ovulation disorders.
  • Problem with the uterus.
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • STIs
  • Female Infertility Secondary Infertility Causes:

    • Age-related decline in the health of the womb and the number of eggs.
    • Pelvic Infections
    • Endometriosis
    • Complications from the previous delivery
    • Adhesions or tumors in the fallopian tube.
    • Unhealthy lifestyle -smoking, alcohol and no exercise.


    What are the chances of successful treatment:

    • Primary infertility:
      The possibility of irreparable damage in fundamental reproductive components could lend treatment ineffective.

    Secondary Infertility:

    • May often be medicated with direct and fairly reliable treatments



    Psychological struggles in Primary Infertility

    • This leads to a sense of hopelessness of bearing a child at all.
    • A  fear of missing out on the experience of being a parent in one’s lifetime.

    Psychological struggles in secondary infertility

    • Societal, parental, and peer pressure of repeated success in pregnancy and childbirth.
    • Feeling of guilt of not being able to have more children.
    • Being unhappy about not having the desired family size.

    Dr. Rimmy Singla, an OB-GYN and IVF Specialist and director of Singla Mediclinic at Mohali, says several conditions can cause secondary infertility like obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the use of some medications, prior surgery, endometriosis, issues with cervical mucus and the age of both partners.
    “Many health conditions can be present without symptoms, until such a time as the couple wishes to become pregnant. If there is an issue within a year of trying in couples less than 35 years of age or after six months in couples older than 35, it’s time to see your Doctor.”

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