25 January 2018

Are You Struggling with Secondary Infertility? You’re Not Alone

Secondary infertility
Medical Director
Cesar Diaz-Garcia
MD PhD Assoc Prof
IVI London


Deciding to try for another child is exciting, and it’s only natural to want a brother or sister for your child. However, if conceiving your first child was easy, your next child might be more difficult.

Secondary infertility could be a result of not being able to conceive the second time, not being able to conceive after a miscarriage, or being unable to carry a baby to full term after previously giving birth.

It can be tough when you desperately want another baby, or your family and friends asking when you’re going to have your next baby. If you are struggling, you’re not alone. Although it is not talked about as often as primary infertility, secondary infertility is more common than you might think.

Who Does Secondary Infertility Affect?

Secondary infertility can affect anyone who wants a second child; whether they found it easy or not. However, secondary infertility affects older women more, due to your fertility success rates decline the older you get. However, most of the causes of secondary infertility are the same as primary infertility, which are:

Complications to health as a result of prior pregnancy or surgery

  • A woman’s age
  • Impaired sperm production or mobility in men
  • Fallopian tube damage, uterine conditions, ovulation disorders, endometriosis.

Although a man’s fertility does not decline at the same rate as a woman’s, he may still struggle with fertility difficulties due to his age, sperm quality and motility, lifestyle factors, disease, medications, or health conditions like diabetes which may harm the quality of his sperm. All these things can also contribute to secondary infertility.

Get Support for Secondary Infertility

Secondary infertility can be a very isolating experience as many people do not understand the feelings of disappointment, sadness, jealousy and isolation. The feelings of powerlessness to conceive a sibling for your child can often leave you feeling completely alone. However, it is important to remember you’re not alone. There are support networks and services available to help you cope with the struggle of dealing with secondary infertility.
Not only are there other couples out there struggling with the same thing you are, but your family and friends may also be available to talk with. However, if this is not an option for you, we would encourage you to seek out professional counselling.

At IVI, we offer expert advice for those struggling with infertility, whether primary or secondary where you can discuss your emotions, frustrations, questions and concerns with a highly trained and qualified counsellor. Know that you are not alone, there are support networks and professionals available to support you through this tough time.

How to Balance Secondary Infertility and Parenting

One of the most challenging aspects of secondary infertility is the guilt of already being a parent and having responsibilities for that child. Not only are you struggling to conceive but you are having to take care of a child and involve yourself in their life, too. The emotions that surround secondary infertility can often preoccupy your thoughts, making it difficult to parent and positively interact with your child.

At IVI, our counselling services can be so helpful to assist you during this time. However, you can also reach out to family and friend when you need a break and someone to look after your child. You may think this is a negative solution but, by giving yourself a break occasionally, your relationship with your child will benefit.

When to Go to the Doctor

If you are struggling to conceive your second child and you have been having regular, unprotected sex with your partner for one year without a successful conception, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence suggests it is time to consult your doctor. Secondary infertility is something that affects both people in the relationship, so we would always recommend you attend the doctor’s appointment together.

How Can Your Doctor Help You?

When you attend your appointment, your doctor will want to carry out some initial tests. They may even refer you to a fertility specialist, such as our team at IVI, to have tests to check:

  • You are producing enough eggs
  • Your partner’s sperm is healthy and strong
  • Your partner is making enough sperm

These tests and the consultation with your doctor will help you determine whether there is an issue causing your infertility that requires specialist treatment at a fertility clinic.

Discover Your Treatment Options

After talking with our fertility specialists, it is possible your chances of a successful conception are highest through assisted fertility treatments. If you are researching the fertility treatment options available to you, it can feel overwhelming because there is so much to consider. At IVI, we offer the following fertility treatments:

  • IVF (in vitro fertilisation)
  • IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection)
  • IUI (intrauterine insemination)
  • Egg Donation
  • Sperm Donation

Our fertility specialists at IVI are here to assist you in finding the most suitable fertility treatments for you.

Contact IVI UK Today

If you would like to discuss your struggles of secondary infertility with a trained specialist or if you would like to know more about the fertility treatments available at our IVI clinics, then please contact us today. You can call our friendly UK Patient Support Services for more information or arrange a consultation with one of our fertility specialists on 0800 52 00 161. 

If you have found this article useful, why not read our article explaining the causes of female infertility.


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