How many times have you heard “When are you having another baby?” Secondary infertility affects those who already have one child but, are unable to conceive again. It may come as a complete shock as many times there were no issues getting pregnant the first time around, and then month after month of trying for a second child, it just isn’t happening. You are not alone! About one in seven couples will struggle with fertility issues and secondary infertility may be more prevalent than primary infertility or not being able to conceive at all. As women have delayed having children until their thirties, the likelihood of advanced maternal age makes secondary infertility much more common.
When should I see a fertility specialist?
Depending on your age, if you haven’t been able to conceive within six months of trying it’s best to consult a specialist. If you are over 38 or have a medical condition that could be affecting fertility, the sooner treatment is started the better.
Once you and your partner have met with a fertility specialist some tests will be needed to evaluate both of you. Some of the diagnostic tests are:
- Bloodwork to assess how the ovaries are working and if they are producing eggs
- A semen analysis to confirm that your partner is making sperm and that it’s normal healthy sperm
- An evaluation of the uterus and tubes
After the initial testing has been completed you will be scheduled a follow-up appointment with your doctor to review the results and formulate a treatment plan.
The Emotional Aspect of Secondary Infertility
Dealing with secondary infertility can be incredibly difficult with so many emotions and questions. You may be feeling a sense of frustration that conception isn’t happening this time, failure for not having a sibling for the child you have and guilt for wanting another child. These emotions are perfectly normal and very common. Don’t be embarrassed or isolate yourself from family and friends. Talk with your doctor and nurses and ask for help. There are support groups available and counselors that specialize in patients experiencing fertility issues that can provide a nonjudgmental, professional, safe place to discuss your feelings.
Partners may have different ideas about treating secondary infertility or even wanting more children. There may be concerns about starting over with an infant in diapers and bottles, the age difference in the children or even being older parents.
We encourage all of our patients to have open honest conversations with their significant other about their desire for more children, growing their family and the treatment options available to make their dreams a reality.