Infertility is usually associated with childless women and men, often in their 30s or 40s or with specific health conditions like PCOS or endometriosis in women or low sperm motility in men. However, it is not solely a problem for first-time parents. The inability to get pregnant after having one or more children touches many families. It is called secondary infertility.
Many couples find it mind-boggling and overwhelming – for them it may be extremely hard to accept that after becoming parents once getting pregnant again naturally can be virtually impossible.
There are many reasons for secondary infertility. They might be connected with complications you had during your last pregnancy and child birth, or they may be the same factors that cause primary infertility, for example:
- your age and your egg quality (as doctors call it “advanced maternal age” – we all hate that term, don’t we?),
- ovulation problems, hormonal imbalance
- early menopause
- chronic disorder
- low sperm count
- immune disease or other.
If you are already parents, but wish to expand your family and you have been trying to conceive for some time without success, try not panic. Have you considered these 5 steps to deal with the process?
- Assess your lifestyle. Being parents already you probably have little time for yourselves. Do you spend enough time trying to conceive? Are your cycles regular? Also take a look at your diet and habits – have any of them changed since you became a parent? Smoking, fast food diet, too much alcohol or caffeine, lack of exercise – all this can inhibit sperm and egg quality and your ability to get pregnant. Think about your health and any medication you take. Do you suffer from any chronic disease, are your hormonal levels balanced?
- Have yourself and your partner/husband tested. It is a myth that men can become fathers at any age. After the age of 45 the quality of sperm, its motility and quantity, greatly decreases. There is also a higher risk of miscarriage and children born with autism and learning difficulties. According to the National Infertility Association, approximately 30% of fertility issues are connected to a male factor. Also, in women over 35 the quality of eggs deteriorates rapidly. Low quality eggs mean problems with embryo implantation, chromosome abnormalities and possible miscarriages. The solution here could be an egg donation program. What is egg donation? Women with low oocyte quality can use donor’s high quality healthy eggs together with their partner’s sperm (or donor sperm) for successful implantation and healthy pregnancy.
- Don’t hesitate to seek medical help. The sooner you do it, the better. There may be different reasons you suffer from secondary infertility. Age is just one of them. A specialist like a reproductive endocrinologist can help identify the cause and pinpoint pregnancy risk factors like hormone levels, fallopian tube damages, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian conditions and other ovulation disorders.
- Learn more about infertility solutions like IVF with donor eggs or sperm and surrogacy. Do an online research and find reliable source of information on fertility treatments which will help you understand both the root causes and possible solutions.
- Free your emotions and find support. The news about your secondary infertility may be upsetting and cause men and women anxiety which is often equivalent to stress when dealing with cancer. It may happen that couples that battle secondary infertility receive less support and understanding. Organizations like EggDonationFriends understand that their pain is not lesser than that of the first time parents. Secondary infertility sufferers have the same right to experience sadness and keep fighting to expand their family. If you need to vent, speak to a person you can trust or find an online forum for women who are trying to conceive.
You may be amazed how much support you can get from women who all unite in one goal – becoming mothers. Seeking out a therapist’s assistance can also help you deal with these difficult emotions.
The challenge of getting pregnant again and having a healthy baby may be heart-breaking. However, remember that it is a battle that can be won as many happy families prove it. Researching the topic of infertility treatments like IUI, IVF with donor eggs or own eggs, preimplantation embryo testing and finding emotional support can make all the difference on your fertility journey. Good luck!
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