You’ve had one child, maybe even two—why is it so hard to get pregnant this time? This condition, called secondary infertility, can be hard to understand and heartbreaking. What is it, and what can moms do?
What is secondary infertility?
Doctors diagnose secondary infertility when a woman has had one successful pregnancy, but is having difficulty getting pregnant again despite regular unprotected intercourse.
Some common causes of secondary infertility
Age is one factor. Fertility potential reaches its peak at 35 years old, and declines sharply after that. It then becomes harder to get pregnant with every year that passes. (Read our article on having a baby after 35.)
Other common explanations for secondary infertility include ovulation problems, endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, and uterine fibroids or polyps. Plus, any factors that affect egg production or sperm quality can also aggravate secondary infertility.
What moms can do
If you are having a hard time conceiving again,
the first step is to test the couple to determine if the woman is ovulating, her tubes are open and the man’s sperm is plentiful. Depending on the identified cause of infertility, you can ask about assisted reproductive techniques.
Dealing with emotions
Because couples were able to conceive fairly easily the first time, they are often shocked by the difficulty of having a second pregnancy. Emotions can range from denial, to anger, to blame, to guilt. It’s important to address these emotions, which are a natural part of the process.