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Dealing With Infertility
While many couples manage to have children without an issue, there are couples out there who have issues with fertility. Many people are quick to give advice and help when it comes to a family who is having issues with fertility. For the actual couple dealing with the problem, however, they may not...

What Is Secondary Infertility?

Posted Sunday, December 14, 2008 9:51 PM

Secondary InfertilityInfertility is generally defined as the inability for a couple to conceive after a year of trying. Or, it can also be defined as the inability for a woman to carry a baby to term—if, she has suffered repeated miscarriages, in other words. But for some reason, many people are reluctant to apply this term to a woman if she has already had a child…even if she is having extreme difficult with fertility problems in trying to have another child.

Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant or to carry a pregnancy to term after a couple has had one or more biological children. Yet many people do not believe that this condition is real and do not give it much credence.

This is likely because people think that if a couple had one child (or more), they should logically be able to have another. If they didn’t have fertility problems in conceiving the first child (and any subsequent children), then they shouldn’t have any problems if they try to have another child.

But, secondary infertility is a problem that can happen to any couple, at any time. In fact, according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association, over 3 million Americans suffer from secondary infertility. And, secondary infertility is actually more prevalent than primary infertility!

Causes of secondary infertility are basically the same as primary infertility. Yet many couples are hesitant to seek treatment for their fertility problems if they already have a child. Many couples may not consider their problems to be valid, for one reason—they may think that their past fertility success will, eventually, ensure that they are successful this time. So, they decide that they should just keep on trying. And, unfortunately, many doctors feel the same way. The seriousness of secondary infertility is downplayed by a lot of physicians.

And, unfortunately, couples who experience secondary infertility do not get the same level of emotional or social support as those who are suffering primary infertility. Friends and relatives, for the most part, do not seem to understand the issue. Most tend to talk about how the couple should be grateful for the child (or children) that they already have. Or, they tend to dismiss the idea of secondary infertility altogether, suggesting that the couple just hasn’t been trying enough.

To deal with secondary infertility, it is essential that a couple first find a doctor who is understanding of their situation. The doctor must be willing to work with the couple and try to help the couple.
Also, it may be a good idea to find a secondary infertility support group, if possible. It can be quite helpful emotionally to be able to talk with some other couples who are experiencing the same problem. If no support group is available in the area, visiting a counselor or therapist is a good alternative. The couple needs an impartial listener to whom they can vent about their feelings.

Secondary infertility is, unfortunately, very real, no matter what many people might think.

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