Expert Views & Comments

“Secondary infertility can be every bit as painful and difficult to deal with as primary fertility problems.

“Just because you have a child doesn’t mean you can switch off the longing to have another baby. In fact, couples who have perhaps conceived naturally first time around can find it incredibly tough to deal with the fact that it’s not happening for them again and there is also the added problem of feeling that you should simply be grateful for the child you have when others are still trying for a first.

“Knowing you already have one (or more) baby while others are still trying to have their first makes secondary infertility really hard to deal with at times, and yet it is perfectly natural to want to have more children.

“The urge to have another baby, to give your child a brother or sister to grow up with can be just as strong and no less problematic to deal with. If you always wanted to have more than one child, the guilt around not being able to have a sibling for your first child can be overwhelming. Having to deal with comments about not waiting too long and not having too big a gap between your children from friends and relatives, when you are finding it difficult to conceive, can also add to the emotional pressure couples are under.”

(Taken from The Telegraph 1/1/17)
usan Seenan, chief executive of Fertility Network UK

“We do see quite a lot of couples suffering with Secondary Infertility and it is increasing,  This affects quite a lot of women. The rate of caesarians is increasing and this could be a contributory factor in Secondary Infertility. There has been a 30 per cent increase in the last decade with more celebrities opting for them to look after their bodies. Not all patients have problems, but some of them can have a mild degree of infection.

“Sometimes age is a factor, so when someone has had a baby at 34 and waits a few years to try for a baby because of the gap and their age sometimes the egg quality is not as good. Sometimes it is due to an infection they have suffered in their fallopian tubes following their first baby and it can make it difficult for a couple to conceive. Also their partner’s sperm count could be different.

“People think that because they have had one baby it should be easy to conceive another baby but they run into other difficulties and they find it more difficult to understand why nothing is happening.

“All people going through fertility get stressed but with secondary infertility people are in denial, they think ‘nothing could be wrong with me’ because they have a baby, they do not believe it and find it more difficult to come to terms with.”

(Taken from The Telegraph 1/1/17)
Dr Geetha Venkat, Director of the Harley Street Fertility Clinic, has been an IVF specialist for the last 20 years and says in her clinic alone one in seven of her patients already have children and are struggling to conceive more children.

“The NHS often restricts funding to those couples who have no children and I can even remember a meeting of regional ‘fertility experts’ at which it was discussed how some clinics did not allow couples to bring their previous children into the waiting room. Even words such as ‘selfish’ and ‘unthoughtful’ were used, showing that even so called  ‘experts’ can have a poor understanding of what secondary infertility can mean to those who suffer from it. I prefer the term ‘subfertility’ rather than either primary infertility or secondary infertility because the word infertile suggests that a pregnancy can never occur, and, with few exceptions, the causes, pain, emotions and treatment are the same whether you have had a previous child or not, so why should we distinguish between the two?”

Professor Stephen Killick (retired) Former IVF consultant and surgeon at Hull IVF Unit 

“I think Secondary Infertility is a subject that is widely applicable (1/3 of all fertility cycles are for SI), and yet largely unexplored. Many of the issues facing couples suffering from SI are unique, and as a community, they are perceived to be unique. Today’s information resources on SI specifically range between non-existent and woefully underwhelming, and Helen Davies is in an important position to help establish the discourse in a thoughtful way. I think the fertility community will embrace an attempt to deal with the subject-matter head-on, and we at FertilityIQ would very much count in that group.

Jake Anderson.  Co-founder, FertilityIQ

FertilityIQ, a site where over one quarter of US fertility patients visit on a monthly basis.

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