For couples who are trying to expand their family with a second child, TTC can bring its own unique set of emotions. Secondary Infertility is a condition in which a couple cannot get pregnant after one or more biological children. Secondary infertility has become more prevalent in recent years. In 1995, the condition affected 1.8 million couples in the U.S., but in 2006 that number rose to 3.3 million. Secondary infertility comprises about 60% of all infertility cases.
Doctors say that age, thyroid conditions, and the responsibilities of raising your first child can present obstacles for conceiving a second child. So, while knowing these statistics may not necessarily make the odds seem any better, it can help to know that you are not alone in having difficulties with TTC a second child, and that there are many doctors and fertility experts who are trained in providing options for you to handle secondary infertility.1 If you are having difficulties while TTC for the second child, you can consult the previous sections in this chapter to alleviate any stress that you may experience and seek positivity. The fact that you already have or one more children does not undermine the emotions that you have. It is very difficult to talk about secondary infertility because many people are not aware that it exists, but assume that you can have a second child if you’ve already had one. There is not as much understanding for it as for primary infertility and that makes it especially hard to deal with.
You can also keep in mind that although secondary infertility does occur, it’s certainly not the case for all couples. In fact, one interesting trend about a secondary pregnancy is that for some women, it is actually easier than TTC for the first. For instance, in one study, 20.7% of women who used IVF to conceive their first baby did not require any fertility treatments to conceive their second child. Some couples find that there is less stress involved with TTC the second time versus the first time. The first pregnancy may also alleviate issues related to endometriosis, which can sometimes be a cause of infertility issues. Another theory is that adhesions in the fallopian tubes, which can sometimes present problems during ovulation, can be reduced in some cases when a woman carries her first child.2
- O’Farrell, M. (2010 May 7). “Why Many Women are Unable to Have a Second Child.” The Guardian. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/may/07/secondary-infertility-increasing ↩
- Miller-Wilson, K. (2014). “Is it Easier to Conceive the Second Baby than the First?” Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://pregnancy.lovetoknow.com/conception-birth-control/is-it-easier-conceive-second-baby-than-first ↩