When Three Becomes Four: Expanding Your Family After Secondary Infertility

Man crouched down kissing his partner's pregnant belly.

Are you trying to have another baby, but can’t seem to get pregnant? You may be experiencing secondary infertility. Couples who’ve never had children and haven’t been able to conceive experience what is called primary infertility. However, secondary infertility is when you’ve previously had one or more children, but are unable to get pregnant again.

It’s an understatement to say you weren’t prepared for what it’s like to experience and deal with secondary infertility. But, there’s hope. Keep reading for a glimpse of what to expect along your journey to expand your family.

Why Infertility Now?

I already had a baby, why can’t I now?

Chances are this question is weighing heavily on your mind, but you should know that secondary infertility is as common as primary infertility. About half of all fertility cases are primary and the remaining half are secondary.

Many couples experience secondary infertility for the same reasons as primary infertility. There are many causes or circumstances which can affect your fertility, but age is the predominant cause of secondary infertility. This is because women experience a natural decline in their egg quality and quantity as they get older. A couple of years between your previous child and the next can make a significant difference in your fertility.

What Can I Do About It?

Don’t put off getting help! Don’t downplay your inability to get pregnant again and believe it’ll ”happen eventually.” Time isn’t friendly to ongoing fertility struggles.

If you’ve been trying to conceive for at least one year and are younger than 35, you should receive medical counsel. If you’ve been trying for six months and are 35 years or older, you should seek help from reputable egg and sperm banks like Cryos International. If you’ve had two consecutive miscarriages, you should get help no matter your age.

Your doctor can evaluate and test you and your partner to determine the most likely cause(s) affecting your chances of having another baby. With medical help, you can determine the right treatment option for you.

What might medical help entail?

Assuming female infertility, your treatment options may include fertility drugs (oral or injectable), IUI, IVF (sometimes with assisted reproductive technologies (ART), or surgery.

An IVF with ART option you may not know about is frozen donor egg IVF. Donor egg IVF is a great choice, particularly for women approaching or who are already in their 40s. This demographic is typically healthy enough to carry and a deliver a baby, but has an increased probability of experiencing issues with the health and viability of their eggs.

With donor egg IVF, you can choose the type of donor eggs that are best for you: fresh or frozen. Factors that’ll most likely affect your decision are egg cost, availability, and donor pool diversity. You’ll find frozen eggs are more affordable, available, and offer a more diverse selection of donors than fresh. Also, frozen eggs don’t require cycle synchronization with the donor.

The more diverse the egg pool you choose from is, the more likely you are to find the best egg donor for you. You can choose between having an Open ID donor- meaning your child may contact their donor after reaching 18- and having the donor remain completely anonymous. Additionally, you can select a donor that has physical and personal attributes which are most important to you.

As mentioned earlier, time isn’t friendly to infertility. The good news is you can start your frozen donor egg IVF cycle soon after you select your egg donor. Without the dependency of synchronizing cycles with a fresh egg donor, you may be able to shorten your IVF timeline by several months.

Once your uterus is prepared, your donor’s eggs (if frozen) will be thawed and implanted. A blood pregnancy test two weeks later will determine if your IVF cycle is successful.

Expanding Your Family

Experiencing secondary infertility can not only be surprising, it can be confusing and stressful. Remember you are not alone and your partner, family, friends, and medical team are available to support you.

Treatment is available to help you achieve the family you envision, whether it’s your second, third, fourth, or more. It doesn’t matter what the number, the emotions are real – yet surmountable. Take the steps you need today to have the family you’ve always wanted.

*collaborative post

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