You’ve already had a child, so getting pregnant again should be a cinch, right? Then after months of trying, nothing happens. You think back to how easy it was the first time and wonder what could have changed in such a relatively short period of time. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone – in roughly 30% of infertility cases in the U.S., the woman already has at least one child.

When a woman can’t get pregnant or carry another pregnancy to term, after already having had a child, it’s called secondary infertility. While most conversations around infertility focus on primary infertility, more than three million women in the U.S. face secondary fertility. The fertility experts of UNC Fertility in Raleigh, North Carolina discusses what it is, what causes it, and what you can do about it.

Dealing with Secondary Infertility

Women are often shocked to learn that they have secondary infertility. Many women who have already successfully had a child assume that when they’re ready to have another child, it will happen quickly. But when months pass without success, the effect can be just as devastating as primary infertility. Unfortunately, for parents facing secondary infertility are often treated differently by friends, family, and sometimes even healthcare providers because they already have a child. Common responses are along the lines of, “You’re fortunate you have a child.” While that is very true, it’s still extremely painful to realize that the family you’ve dreamed of may not come in the way you had hoped.

Adding to the stress of struggling to conceive, parents with secondary infertility also have to deal with the added layer of a child who may be begging for a sibling. For these parents, the anguish of being unable to provide a longed-for sibling paired with the stress of infertility can be emotionally draining. Feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness are all perfectly normal feelings when dealing with any type of infertility. If dealing with these emotions begins to seem overwhelming, consider discussing your feelings and concerns with a therapist, or finding a supportive secondary infertility group online.

When to Seek Help

If you’ve been trying to have baby number two for over a year (over six months if you’re 35 years of age or older), it may be time to speak to a qualified fertility specialist. Like primary infertility, secondary infertility can be caused by:

  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Ovulation issues
  • Pelvic or uterine scarring
  • Sperm abnormalities
  • Low ovarian reserve

Regardless of the cause, the first step is to determine the cause of your infertility. The fertility specialists at UNC Fertility in Raleigh, North Carolina are dedicated to providing personalized treatment plans to each and every one of their patients. Call 919-908-0000 to schedule an appointment and get on the road to adding another bundle of joy to your family.