When it comes to infertility, many of us think of primary infertility – the type of infertility when someone tries to start their family but can’t do so without hormonal or reproductive therapies.
But despite how easy it was to conceive your first born, you’re now facing the unimaginable diagnosis of secondary infertility. After months – perhaps years – of trying, you’re now looking down a completely different path to parenthood.
Now you’re in the process of considering donor eggs, looking into adoption, or learning more about surrogacy.
Secondary infertility comes with many questions, feelings, and concerns. We answer three of the most common questions about secondary infertility below.
What causes Secondary Infertility?
While many consider our twenties and thirties as our “prime” years, the sad reality is that our fertility is declining as soon as we enjoy our twentieth birthday. You have a good chance of getting pregnant throughout your twenties, but by the time you’re 30, these chances fall dramatically. A thirty-year-old woman has a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month.
Just 5 percent.
While your first pregnancy may have been relatively straightforward, there are no guarantees your second, third, fourth, and so on will be smooth sailing. Rather, around 3 million women in the US struggle to get pregnant with another child or carry their second child to full-term.
Secondary infertility is often caused by early menopause, cancer treatments, ovulation disorders, or impaired sperm production. This can leave you feeling desolate, frustrated, and completely let down by your body.
What emotions can be expected with Secondary Infertility?
These questions and frustrations can be overwhelming. It may feel as though all hope is lost, and that your dreams of the perfect family are in tatters.
Perhaps you feel like you should be grateful to have your firstborn and that you didn’t face such problems with their pregnancy and birth. But having already enjoyed one pregnancy doesn’t mean you should accept an infertility diagnosis easier than anyone else. In fact, it may even be harder since it comes as more of a shock.
Unfortunately, you’re going to ride the rollercoaster of emotions this journey presents just like everyone else. You need to work through the feelings of being overwhelmed, sad, and frustrated before considering your potential options.
During this time, you may find it beneficial to talk to a fertility counsellor and as you start to feel better, it’s likely those feelings will ebb away. They’ll be replaced with hope, excitement, and anticipation as you embark on the next stage of your fertility journey.
Which family building option is right for me?
Thankfully, there are various family building options available to those suffering from secondary infertility.
Adoption and surrogacy are two options that may be presented to you. Both give you the opportunity to welcome another child into your life.
But for those who dream to carry and give birth to their baby, there’s egg donation.
You may opt for someone you know like a family member or friend or you may choose a donor through an egg bank or agency.
Alternatively, you may decide that none of these avenues are right for you. You may feel as though the emotional upheaval and anxiety are too much and you’d rather focus on family life as it already is.
Taking your time to consider these options is imperative.
Weigh the pros and cons, talk to others who have been in similar situations, and do what feels right for you. You’ll often find that many will offer their thoughts and opinions, but this is your choice. If you are happy with it, that’s all that matters.
Creating your perfect family after Secondary Infertility
Receiving a secondary infertility diagnosis can feel like hitting a brick wall, but current options help create new pathways to parenthood. Not every path will be right for you, but with some careful thought and consideration, you’ll find the route that’s right for you and your family.