Secondary Infertility – All you need to know

secondary infertility

After having a baby, most couples feel that they need or want another. The joy, after all, is abundant and the experience of pregnancy and parenthood is, indeed, fulfilling. But, if you and your partner have been trying and failing to conceive for a while now for your second pregnancy, you might be going through secondary infertility. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Let’s look into all that there is to know about secondary infertility.

Secondary Infertility – What is it? 

Secondary infertility is a when a couple has already had a baby, but fails to conceive for the second time. It is more common than you’d think. Knowing that you have conceived in the past can make secondary infertility even more difficult to grasp. Thus, making it more frustrating, physically and emotionally for the couple that’s trying to conceive.

If you or someone you know is facing secondary infertility, then it will be helpful to know the following facts about the phenomenon. 

Secondary Infertility – Why do couples face it? 

In secondary infertility it is common for both partners’ fertility to reduce since their first pregnancy, even if they were cleared as healthy and very fertile during the first time. Some of the reasons why this happens are – endometriosis i.e. an abnormal growth of tissue in the endometrium (in women), Fallopian Tube Disease wherein the tubes get blocked or damaged, restricting egg movement or preventing the embryo from making it to the ovary, causing infertility. In men, the common causes are a reduction in the mobility of the sperm or a reduced sperm count. Another common cause in both men and women is age; a five-year gap can make a huge difference to the fertility in both. Stress is also one of the common modern-day factor in affecting ovulation and sperm production. Scarring after childbirth is another reason that can cause infertility in women.

Many couples believe that since they have conceived once before, they are fertile and will remain so. But this belief can lead to more complications later. It is important to get a proper fertility checkup  as soon as you realize that you are having some trouble conceiving.

Secondary Infertility – How to handle it emotionally? 

Yes, it generally is more difficult to handle.
There are a multitude of reasons as to why it is so. The initial shock and disbelief about the inability to conceive is made difficult with the knowledge that the couple has conceived before. Especially if the first time was easy or an accident, the shock can be mildly higher than in other scenarios. On the other hand, if the first time was with some level of difficulty, the anxiety of trying a second time can be huge. It can also magnify the reaction to the inability to conceive again. The conflict between knowing it is possible to have a baby, the anxiety of an earlier experience, and the present inability can together take a toll mentally and physically.

It is also made difficult by a sense of guilt about not being able to give your child a sibling, or disappointing your partner, or just simply being unable to conceive another baby. Seeing parents with multiple children, pregnant friends, or nursing couples can be difficult to handle emotionally, and can magnify the impact of secondary infertility, thus making it more difficult to handle. Friends and well-wishers might unknowingly say something insensitive. Apart from this, the rigorous tests and treatments can be more toiling with a small child to take care of.

Secondary Infertility – Ways to cope with it 

What a couple dealing with secondary infertility needs most is empathy from friends, family, and even the doctors and the medical staff treating them. Many couple go on to successfully conceive and have another child with the help of treatment. Many others either adopt another child or accept the family the way it is. All these outcomes take time and it is important that the couple is surround by people who will not add to their misery, knowingly or unknowingly.

One of the other ways to cope with secondary infertility is to gain as much knowledge as you can from credible sources, doctors, and fertility clinics. Apart from reducing the impact of the situation, it also equips the couple better to make the best out of it.

Secondary infertility can upset the physical and mental well-being of a couple. But with support, knowledge, and patience, it can be overcome to find the best possible solution. Have any queries? Ask us in the comments!


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