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Diabetes Medical Library                                   main "Disorders" page
Disorders Associated with Diabetes                                                   
main "Infertility & Adoption" page

Secondary Infertility
Associated with Diabetes, Insulin Resistance,
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and Thyroid Disorders

Article disclaimer


For causes, treatment, and issues surrounding infertility, as well as links to infertility resources, please read our section on "Primary Infertility."

Mini Site Index
What is secondary infertility?
How diabetes and other metabolic disorders can affect fertility
Links for secondary infertility support  

What is secondary infertility?

"Secondary infertility" is difficulty conceiving after already having conceived and carried a normal pregnancy. Apart from various medical conditions (e.g. hormonal), this may come as a result of age and stress felt to provide a sibling for their first child. Technically, secondary infertility is not present if there has been a change of partners. 


How diabetes and other metabolic disorders can affect fertility

One of the functions of insulin is to act as a "fat" storing hormone.  Excess insulin can contribute to weight gain which in turn can decrease fertility.  A balance of hormones contributes to the ovulatory cycle of women, and carrying excess weight can cause an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.  This can lead to an interruption of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles.

Many with type 2 diabetes are also insulin resistant, that is, they make insulin but do not respond well to the normal action of  insulin.  Women that are insulin resistance overproduce insulin in order for their blood glucose levels to remain in a normal range.  This overproduction of insulin, especially when there is an accompanying unhealthy lifestyle, can lead to weight problems, as well as a disruption of normal hormone productions, setting the stage for female infertility.

Insulin resistance is commonly seen in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).  Treatment often includes insulin sensitizing medication (such as Glucophage) which may help restore normal ovulatory function.  Losing weight, even as little as 15% of excess body weight may also result in spontaneous resumption of ovulation.

For those considering pregnancy, make sure that your blood glucose levels are well under control prior to becoming pregnant as well as during pregnancy to help reduce the risk of diabetes associated complications with pregnancy.


Links to information and support for secondary infertility

Pregnancy-Info.net
Secondary Infertility Support - iVillage.com
SecondaryInfertility.com
Secondary Infertility - A Healthyme.com

  

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Page Updated 05/16/2006