Formerly Fertile: How to Copy with Secondary Infertility

You’ve been blissfully feeding, changing, and burping baby number one when it occurs to you that it’s time to get moving on making baby number two. You’re perplexed when month after frustrating month nothing happens. You think back to how easy it was the first time and wonder what the heck could have changed in such a relatively short period of time. Welcome to secondary infertility.

When a woman can’t get pregnant or carry another pregnancy to term, after already having had a child, it’s called secondary infertility – and it lurks in the shadows of primary infertility. Primary infertility gets the spotlight, but the fact is that more than three million women in the U.S. face secondary fertility. Cary L. Dicken, MD of Sher Fertility Institute New York in New York, New York discusses what it is, what causes it, and what you can do about it.

“But I just had a baby!”
Secondary infertility is such a shock because you’ve already successfully done what you’re setting out to do again. And it can be just as devastating as primary infertility. However, because parents with secondary infertility already have a child they’re often treated differently. Common responses are along the lines of, “You’re fortunate you have a child.” While that is very true, it’s still extremely painful to realize that the family you’ve dreamed of may not come in the way you hoped.

Parents with secondary infertility also have to deal with the added layer of a child who may be begging for a baby sister or brother. The stress of infertility plus the anguish of being unable to provide a longed-for sibling can be emotionally draining. Accept that all of your feelings – from anger to frustration to sadness – are perfectly normal. Discussing your feelings and concerns with a therapist, or finding a supportive secondary infertility group online, can help.

When to Seek Help
If you’ve been trying to have baby number two for over a year (over six months if you’re 35 years of age or older), it may be time to find out what’s going on. Secondary infertility actually shares many of the same potential causes as primary infertility, including:

  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Ovulation issues
  • Pelvic or uterine scarring
  • Sperm abnormalities

If a few years have passed since you had your child, the issue may be age-related. Regardless of the cause, the first step is to determine the cause of your infertility.

Contact Sher Fertility Institute New York at 646-792-7476 or click here to schedule an appointment with one of our fertility doctors. Our Patient Care Specialists will contact you within the next 24 hours.