A Different Type of Infertility

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There’s a term that many of us have never heard of and  it affects women ages 35+ more than younger women.

It’s Secondary Infertility.

According to Iris Waichler, MSW, LCSW, in her book Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster, Secondary Infertility is an important and often overlooked part of the story of infertility. This occurs when people have been successful in having children and then are unable to conceive another child. (Women over 35 who have been trying for 6 months who are unable to conceive again may receive this designation). This can happen for a variety of reasons and can also be an incredibly painful experience. Friends and family may not respond in an empathetic way because they know there are already children, and even medical professionals can even downplay the problem. (Editor Sharon saw this with her first OB, Dr. B.)

Often there is a lack of understanding about how difficult it is to lose the ability to have children. But the feelings of loss, sadness, and grief can be as intense as the feelings of those people who who are unable to conceive any children, according to Iris. Support groups and therapists fill an important need for many couples.

According to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Organization, there are some important considerations: the couple must focus on the desire to parent a second child and the time, energy, and finances involved in pursuing medical treatment or alternatives such as adoption. These conditions must be weighed with the needs of the existing child(ren) in mind.