How to deal with secondary infertility when trying for another child
Why is it that some couples have no trouble whatsoever when it comes to having their first child, yet encounter problems getting pregnant second time round? Much less discussed than primary fertility (wherein a couple is unable to have a child at all), secondary infertility (or the inability to become pregnant again) is more frequent than you might think. Here’s what you need to know about secondary infertility, as well as how to deal with it if it happens to you.
Why do some couples have trouble having another child?
Secondary infertility is when a couple struggles to conceive another child or to carry a pregnancy to term, despite the fact that they had no problems at all with their first child. These difficulties getting pregnant can be due to age, as the rate of fertility decline increases when a woman reaches her late thirties. As a result, this issue particularly affects women who started their family during their late thirties or forties.
Moreover, just as with primary infertility, there are also a number of other factors which must be considered when it comes to diagnosing the problem. These include excessive weight, ovulation issues, damaged fallopian tubes or low sperm count. The inability to conceive a second time round might also be the consequence of a complication that occurred during the first pregnancy.
What can I do about secondary infertility?
Know when you should pay a visit to your physician
If you have trouble conceiving, your physician or fertility specialist will prescribe screening tests. Depending on the results, they’ll recommend solutions and potential fertility treatments to increase chances of conception, including in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination with sperm either provided by a donor or by your partner.
If you are under 35 and remain unsuccessful in your attempts to become pregnant after over a year of trying, then it’s time to pay a visit to your physician. For those over the age of 35, don’t wait more than six months of TTC before consulting. If you are over 40 or you have a history of infertility, you should head to your specialist immediately.
Track your cycle
Whether you did so during your first pregnancy or not, tracking your cycle to find out when you are ovulating can help you conceive the second time round. You can, for instance, use a simple calendar, an ovulation predictor kit or chart your basal body temperature to calculate the optimum time to try for a baby. Once you have identified your most fertile period (about 6 days per cycle), draw up a schedule of when to have sex in order to improve your odds of getting pregnant.
Identify what has changed since your first pregnancy
Experts often can’t explain what causes secondary infertility. Sometimes, it’s the result of age. You’re a little older and, therefore, less fertile than you were when you had your first child. There is obviously nothing you can do about your age but you can consider making changes to your lifestyle, something which can also have a significant impact on fertility.
Did you gain a few extra pounds since your last pregnancy? Are you taking any medication? There are plenty of things that can affect fertility in both male and female partners, including: Being overweight; receiving certain treatments; consuming alcohol, tobacco or caffeine; lack of exercise; a poor diet; experiencing stress or not getting enough sleep. Trouble conceiving could also be due to your partner’ sperm quality and quantity.
Don’t keep your feelings to yourself
For those who were dreaming of a house full of kids, not being able to conceive again can be devastating, upsetting and stressful. You feel more and more frustrated with every month that goes by and each time that someone (with the best of intentions) tells you that you should enjoy the child you already have.
Additionally, you may feel guilty about not being able to give your child a brother or a sister. Unfortunately it’s a fact of life that people suffering from secondary infertility usually don’t receive as much support and understanding as those dealing with primary infertility.
However, the distress is real. Feelings of anger, sadness and guilt are common, and you should not keep them quiet. You don’t have to tell everyone about your feelings, but at least try to talk to your partner and share your troubles with a friend, a sibling or a support group.
Enjoy living in the present moment
Many parents who experience infertility feel guilty or frustrated by the fact they are focusing more on a child that doesn’t yet exist than on the child they already have. This is a tough thing to overcome, however, it’s important that you try to focus on the here and now. Take the time to spend some quality time with your child and to embrace every little moment with them!
Moreover, instead of thinking “I may never experience this again,” for example, when your little one walks for the first time, try to enjoy the wonderful, milestone moment you’re currently living, rather than focusing on what may or may not happen in the future.