Secondary Infertility Pain
What Is Secondary Infertility?
It is a little known fact that over 60% of cases of infertility involve secondary infertility. The classical definition of secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. Despite the fact the couple has a child; the emotional experience of secondary infertility carries the same impact as the loss of a child, a missed pregnancy or stillbirth.
Secondary infertility is that place between the sadness of not being able to conceive a first child and the joy of birthing a baby. It can be a very lonely and confusing place for both men and women as they try to come to terms with their infertility. Because it is unexpected after having conceived and carried a pregnancy to childbirth, many couples are far less likely to seek medical treatment for this problem. Even physicians tend to downplay secondary infertility and encourage couples to "relax and just keep trying". It is difficult to grasp the concept that conception can slip through the fingers of a couple after having had a child without any apparent difficulty.
The Emotional Roller Coaster
It is most common for couples to feel all of the emotions which are tied to primary infertility with a few added complications since they have previously had a baby. The feelings of self-blame are inevitable - especially if they are slow to seek help or treatment and then the treatments are ineffective. Plagued with blame and doubt, they wonder if things would have been different had they sought early treatment. Regret follows for not being more aggressive with their tactics when they were younger, especially since advancing age is a contributor to infertility in couples.
The guilt of not being able to conceive again, on top of guilt for wanting more children, complicates things further. Not wanting to be insensitive to those who may be suffering with primary infertility, women withdraw into silence. Unsolicited input from well-meaning people can further silence couples. The inability to produce a sibling for their child can add sorrow to the complexity of emotions swirling around a couple during these times.