If you easily conceived your first child, you may expect the second time to be just as easy. Actually, it is not unusual for it to take longer the second time round.
Couples who had difficulty conceiving their first child may also have trouble the second time, whereas for other couples the problem is completely new. As the months pass, you may feel increasingly frustrated. You long to give your child a little brother or sister, and meanwhile you see your child getting older and older.
Why can't you conceive a little sibling?
There are many possible reasons for secondary infertility. Many are the same as for primary infertility: ovulation problems, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), hormonal imbalance, endometriosis or poor sperm quality.
Something may have happened to the woman since the previous pregnancy, such as an ectopic pregnancy, a pelvic inflammation or an infection causing fallopian tube obstruction. If the woman has a new partner, the infertility might also depend on the man.
Fertility decreases with age
However, the most common problem is that the woman has become older and is simply less fertile, or it could be a combination of several factors. The risk of female infertility increases after age 35 and then rises with each subsequent year.
Most women have very low fertility after age 40. Men's fertility also decreases with age, although more gradually. A fertility assessment tests the woman's hormone levels and the man's sperm quality.
Help for infertile couples
The first step is to increase the chances of fertilisation by determining when you ovulate. For further information, see facts and advice about infertility. But there are many other things you can do to optimise your fertility. Here are some tips to increase your chances of conceiving.
If you have tried to conceive without success for more than 12 months, or if you are a women over 36, you can ask to have a fertility assessment. Start by booking an appointment with a gynaecologist. Various types of infertility treatment are available today, including hormonal stimulation therapy and IVF (in vitro fertilisation).