Having trouble conceiving after you have already had a healthy pregnancy is known as secondary fertility. The causes for secondary infertility are basically the same as primary infertility. The causes may range from:
- Male fertility problems such as sperm production, function or delivery
- Tubal damage and ovulation disorders
- Various complications related to prior pregnancy or surgery
The most common cause of secondary infertility, however, is usually age. Studies have shown that women are waiting longer to start a family, and as they begin to contemplate trying for another baby, they are obviously older than when they first started trying. Fertility in women starts to decline at the age of 35 and will continue to decline as women enter their 40s.
Fertility First recognises the importance of providing compassion and support to patients suffering from secondary infertility and we do not have an age limit on fertility treatment for patients. Providing patients with quality services including access to affordable donor eggs to maximise their success is something we feel is incredibly important.
Secondary infertility is something that isn’t spoken about as much and it’s just as common as primary infertility, possibly more so, data from the CDC in 2018 revealing that 11% of couples will experience secondary infertility.
Why is secondary infertility so emotionally difficult?
It’s hard for couples to come to terms with the fact they can’t conceive, especially after conceiving a healthy child previously. Some couples will feel greater pressure the second time around since they know it’s possible to have a healthy pregnancy.
In addition to this, friends and family may also say or ask questions that they don’t realise are insensitive such as “when are you going to have another baby?” or “you’re lucky you at least have a child”. Not only will this just add to the stress and anxiety the couple are now facing, but it may bring about feelings of guilt for the couple even before they begin treatment.
How can we cope?
Whether you’re a single lady suffering from secondary infertility or a couple trying for your second child, the IVF path can feel overwhelming, especially if you have a young child at home.
Couples without children will opt to avoid situations where pregnancies or babies are involved, however with secondary infertility, it’s a lot harder. There will be birthday parties, family get-togethers, mothers’ groups, friends with children and it makes avoiding situations like this tricky. As with anyone suffering from infertility, the need for empathy, validation and support from friends and family is needed.
Going through the stress of fertility treatments in addition to dealing with the demands of family life can be challenging, and often puts a strain on relationships, so it’s important to keep communication open and create a healthy support system.
Having access to resources and services to help you cope with this new IVF journey you’re now facing is important. Fertility First recognises the importance of providing compassion and support to patients suffering from secondary infertility
For help and support, contact our clinic on (02) 9586 3311 to arrange an appointment with our counsellor.