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Secondary Infertility: The Invisible Disease


a blog by Deborah Moore, March 4, 2010

I'm lucky. I have a gorgeous, perfect daughter who will turn 4 later this year. She is a shining light in my life, bringing my husband and me more joy than I knew possible. And yet, during this time of TTC for a second child, I find myself melancholy, unfulfilled and despairing.

I know that many of you are struggling to conceive your first child and my state doesn't make you feel sympathetic. I wholeheartedly acknowledge that we are luckier than many. However, the topic of secondary infertility rarely gets discussed and its emotional impact can be strong.

According to RESOLVE, secondary infertility affects more than three million American women. And it has a higher prevalence rate than primary infertility.

My experience sees me grappling with aging, fertility treatments, agonizing over how much exercise I should or shouldn’t do, or wondering if I should try acupuncture or those questionable fertility diets. Everything I worry about now didn’t even register during my first efforts to conceive. Maybe it’s because I was only 34 then, or that I never imagined I would have trouble conceiving, but now that I am having trouble, I obsess over all the same things those trying for their first do.

The hardest part for me is when acquaintances from my “mum” network (those who don’t know we are infertile) continue to ask me when we are going to have a second. Or when well-meaning acquaintances state that it’s “time” to have another. If only it were so easy!

In our society, only children are seen as a bit of an oddity. People cannot accept that families will sometimes have only one child, through choice or circumstance. I suppose this is human nature and the curiosity (some say nosiness) that comes with it.

Secondary infertility is just as real as the infertility experienced with trying to conceive the first time around. I wish it would be less invisible.

Comments (4)

It's about darn time that Washington State updated the surrogacy laws on the books and allowed people to be compensated for it. You shouldn't get paid for surrogacy? According to whom? I figure a nice fat check is the least that might be done. Considering the risk that pregnancy carries (hemorrhage during delivery, ectopic pregnancy, not to mention the back aches, swollen ankles, and hormonal swings, etc) denying compensation to surrogates is outrageous – and Washington State can certainly afford to spare a few payday cash advances worth out of the WSU and UW sports budgets to help these people out.

You should be greatful for the healthy child you have and move along with your life. I have never been able to have children. I would charish my one. They must not be enough for you!! i was looking for support within the world of people with out the female choice to have children not selfish, self indugent parents who cant seem to be greatful or happy even when granted the the gift of a healthy child. Hold your child closer, bond tighter, quit whining and get your child a friend. adopt anything but do not put yourself in the sme catagory as those who can not conceive just as i do not claim myself a biological mother do you?? If you can answer yes, you can not have it both ways. You are either a mother or not!! no sympathy from me. hug your kid.

EXACTLY!!! you feel guilty for 'complaining' when you already have one but at the same time you feel that you do not get the 'sympathy' for the same reason!
I am very vocal about our situation. I was tired of the questions and the 'he needs a sibling' thing. Sometimes it makes people feel bad, but I think people need to realize what is acceptable to say and not. Other times I find that people open up about their own problems. It's crazy how many people out there are having fertility problems, primary OR secondary!

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