Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Commonly Asked Questions About Secondary Infertility (SI) with Dr. Ron Eaker

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What is secondary infertility (SI)?
 Secondary infertility (SI) is a condition defined by having at least one biological child but being unable to conceive after trying for 12 to 18 months.

What causes SI?
Georgia-based physician, Dr. J. Ron Eaker, OB-GYN, and the author of A Woman's Guide to Hormonal Health and Fat-Proof Your Family believes a good way of defining the causes of secondary infertility is to break it down into three categories.

Dr. Ron Eaker
The Ovulation Factor. The Ovulation Factor accounts for anything that would cause a woman not to ovulate. These range from physical hormonal imbalances to emotional pressures (stress) that cause a woman to skip her regular ovulation. Age, too, is a primary consideration. “As you age, there is a natural decline in your fertility,” explains Eaker.

The Tubal Factor. The Tubal Factorexplains anything in the pelvis area that would affect the ovarian tubes, such as endometriosis or past infection that has created blockage. “In the past thirty years, we’ve seen an increase in STDs such as Chlamydia, which can cause a lot of tubal damage, one of the major causes of secondary infertility,” notes Eaker.

The Husband Factor. Before deciding on fertility treatment, an important part of any woman’s medical assessment should include making sure her husband has no physical problems that could be preventing conception. Some studies have shown that up to as much as 40 percent of the time, a male factor is involved in a couple's inability to conceive.

How common is SI? “It is more common today than it was a generation ago,” says Dr. Eaker, although he admits that the statistics on SI can be hard to measure. “A lot of times couples who are struggling with secondary infertility don’t bring it to the attention of their physician, so the statistics are most likely underestimated. Many women experience it, but they never pursue a cure.”

Also in this series
The Second Time Around: Dealing with Secondary Infertility

Coming up
Wednesday: Piecing Together the Broken Heart Secondary Infertility Leaves Behind

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