Infertility is a problem that a lot of couples have to deal with at some stage. Finding out whether it is permanent, temporary or secondary infertility is the first step a couple needs to take in order to decide how they will proceed.

Infertility problems are usually diagnosed when a couple have unprotected sex for more than one year without falling pregnant. Though this isn’t to say that all couples that don’t fall pregnant in a year have infertility problems, if you have been actively trying for that long, it is a good idea to see your doctor or an expert to rule out any problems.

Permanent infertility

This is a couple’s inability to conceive at all. This is when you should start looking into ulterior methods, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Many different things, includingendometriosis, ovulation problems, damaged fallopian tubes, poor egg quality and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – amongst others, can cause permanent infertility.

Depending on the severity of each case, these problems can either cause permanent infertility, or can be resolved which means it is temporary infertility.

Secondary infertility

This is when a couple battle to fall pregnant after they have already had a child, or have previously had a miscarriage. If you had an uncomplicated conception and pregnancy before, this condition can come as a big shock.

Generally, the reasons that cause primary infertility are the same ones that cause secondary infertility – they have just developed since you had your last child.


This is when a couple is less fertile than the average couple.So if you are sub-fertile, it doesn’t mean you won’t conceive, it just means you may have to try a little longer and harder than the ‘average’ couple.

A big misconception is that it is the woman’s fault that the couple cannot conceive, when research actually shows that 30 percent of the time it is the male that is having fertility problems – which can result from many things, including a low sperm count.

Another 30 percent lies with the woman’s inability to fall pregnant. With the remaining percentages going to a combination of both the man and woman having combined fertility problems.

There are so many reasons why you may be battling to conceive, and until you can identify those reasons, you cannot decide what actions you are going to take. If you have been trying for a year,
visit your gynaecologist or a fertility specialist, both you and your partner, to see if there is a problem.

If one is found, you either need to take medical steps to fight it, or your specialist will tell you that
ulterior methods of having a child should be considered. Remember, if this is the case, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion – in fact, we recommend that you do.