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Secondary infertility occurs when you are unable to get pregnant, despite having frequent unprotected sex for at least a year, after previously having another child. Because you have had a baby, it’s probably bewildering that you’re having difficulty conceiving this time. The fact is, secondary infertility is on the rise. Your doctor may say, “Give it time, it worked before.” However, as women reach their mid- to late-30s fertility begins to decline rapidly, and waiting can further complicate the issue.

You may be reluctant to talk about your wish for another child because you don’t want to seem greedy. There’s much less sympathy for women with secondary infertility than there is for those who have never been able to conceive! There are some other unique challenges as well:

  • You are caught between two worlds: the infertility treatment world and the parenting world.
  • Taking your child with you to medical appointments or having to get babysitters on a regular basis is challenging.
  • You and your partner may disagree about having another child.
  • The financial strain of treatment may be a concern when you are currently parenting.
  • The pressure from your child to have a brother or sister can be painful.
  • If you are from a big family, you may be sad at the prospect of having a small family.
  • Infertility treatment can impact your children; they may worry about your frequent trips to the doctor or see you injecting fertility medications. Likewise, your emotional ups and downs can have an impact on your child.

If treatment is unsuccessful, deciding what to do next is challenging. You have to face the following questions:

  • If you adopt, what would it be like to have a blended family?
  • If you use donor egg or sperm will you share that information with all your children?
  • What would it be like to have an only child?

If you have secondary infertility, recognize the unique challenges and take time to think them through. With support and information you can work through this.


Comments (35)

Dear Sir/Madam, I would like to know is their any ivf treatment,as we wants a male child(SON) because my younger brother has three daughters, his age is around 40 years w wife is also same age have all the three babies were born on normal cycle and healthy. both husband and wife are also in good health. can you suggest on this matter, also for yr information all the babies are well grown. Kindly intimate if any hospital or clinic any where in USA/Canada is worthy.At presently my brother is working in UAE. if so kindly intimate on my email id

I gave birth to an healthy little boy back in 2009 and his 5 years now, all I want is to have a another one but its not working out right for me. Please help me. From Papua New Guinea

Hello Rachel - I'm sorry to hear that you've been struggling. You should consult with a fertility specialist to get to the bottom of what is going on. Fertility Authority is an online fertility network that helps individuals in the United States find fertility specialist - unfortunately, I would be unaware of any specialists in Papua New Guinea. You would need to consult with a fertility specialist in your country. Good luck and best wishes.

I am a mother of two. I got the first born in 2007 and 2nd in 2010. I have been trying for the third one for almost an year with no success. I am very frustrated because I wanted to raise the three at the same time and close the chapter. My husband has been pressing me for the 3rd born but he doesn't know but I have also been trying for one. Could the C section I had for the second one be the cause or the depo planning method? My periods are regular which comes between 4th - 7th in every month. Kindly help. I am turning 37

Hello Lucy - I am so sorry to hear that you've been struggling. When did you go on the depo shot? How long have you been off of the depo shot? I am not a doctor nor do I have any medical training but we get quite a few calls from women who are struggling to conceive after being on the depo shot. Birth control pills are considered to be the safest form of birth control. I think it would be in your best interest to consult with a fertility specialist. I am more than happy to help you find one in your area. Feel free to email me directly at I'm happy to help!!

I have a wonderful 5 years old boy, I have two miscarriages before and after my boy, in 2007 and 2011, my son is born in 2009, have been testing for ovulation, and trying 'hard ' during ovulation, but still no news, wanted to have one more child, but no easy.

I have a wonderful 5 years old boy, I have two miscarriages before and after my boy, in 2007 and 2011, my son is born in 2009, have been testing for ovulation, and trying 'hard ' during ovulation, but still no news, wanted to have one more child, but no easy.

Just found out that our first ivf cycle has failed. We have a gorgeous 4 year old boy who we conceived naturally after 6 months of trying. I had hellp syndrome and had him delivered by emergency c section. Who knows if that has impacted my fertility? We started trying for no 2 after a year as we we're told to wait that long after such a traumatic birth. 6 months passed, no luck, another 6 no luck. Eventually persuaded my doc to refer me and initially had a scan. They identified I had a large cyst one of my ovaries so got booked in for a laparoscopy. The months waiting for this op we're horrendous, took 5 months from identifying the cyst to the op. Sod's law we fell pregnant 3 weeks before my op. Then I miscarried..managed to persuade them to still operate and when they did they found the huge cycst, endometriosis and my uterus was attached to my abdomen wall and would require further surgery.. This would mean more waiting! After lots of calls between insurance company and hospital I managed to get this done privately as they told insurance it was a health risk and nothing to do with fertility (as they don't pay for that). Had that op 3 months later and we were hoping it would 'cure' my infertility issues.. How wrong were we. 2 failed iui attempts, another miscarriage and d&c at 9 weeks and a failed ivf in just over a year is taking its toll. I go through those anger moments of not wanting to be around anyone with a second child or pregnant. I feel lonely and hate the 'be blessed you have one', being left out of conversations with friends on second children discussing their youngest like you haven't had a child so obviously don't know about babies! What to do now, how do I get over these feelings?

I'm so sorry for your losses. Please know that you are not alone, even though secondary infertility is a lonely place to be. Have you considered looking for support - a therapist, support group, or online. You could start with our forums at - lots of women giving and getting support and in similar situations. Best, Claire

I think that we are done - our girl is 5, conceived naturally with no trouble at all when I was 27 - tried again when she was 2 and got pregnant the first month we tried. That was an ectopic that burst and I lost my tube - one year later no babies on to treaments - blockage in remaining tube - on to IVF first round a total bust, second round not much better... diagnosis of TOTAL CRAP EGGS! I am now 33 - 4 years of trying has worn us down. My husband is so ready to move on and I wish I was too.... It is getting easier as time passes - but at birthdays, holidays, the beginning of the school year I get attacked by a sadness that I did not see coming. And I shove it down and squash it up and try to make it small, but it chokes me out.

It's no wonder you are worn down. Infertility treatment can be exhausting - emotionally, physically and financially. Support can help - either in the form of a counselor, a support group or online forums. You may want to check out - there are a number of forums with women in similar situations who can offer advice and support. All the best, Claire

I too am so glad I stumbled upon this site. I feel like I can discuss this issue of secondary infertility without being judged for already having two children. I am 40 and a mom of two kids 8 and 6. We started trying for a third baby about 3-4 years ago (I've lost track as the years slip on by). After reading blogs for years of IVF, IUI, donor egg, adoption successes and failures I could never seem to find any discussions on secondary infertility and was afraid to put it out there for fear of hearing the standard response of "be thankful you have two"! Yes I am obviously thankful and grateful for my two beautiful children which I had absolutely no troublel conceiving either one! We tried for a third for a year or so before consulting and RE. That led us down the road of 4 unsuccessful IUI's followed by accupunture, 1 unsuccessful IVF, a few minor surgeries in between, Chinese Medicine and now here I am...... back to where I started. There is no explanation other than my age and low ovarian reserve which is the most frustrating part. If my doctor were to tell me, "you have this...... or you have that...... it might be easier to close this chapter of my life but having it be "unexplained" is just so frustrating. I am soon headed down the road of one final IVF. My husband travels for work and cannot take the stress of this any more. The timing of everything over the past 3-4 years has never been on our side. My cycle falls toward the end of the month so it is always over thanksgiving which we are out of town for, Chirstmas, which we are busy for, spring break, and the list just continues. We have not told anyone including our families of our journey which i am not sure has helped or hurt us. We figured if we had news someday to tell them then we could explain all this but looking back at all the disappointments I am glad we chose not to tell anyone. At this point, I have found an amazing therapist who has helped me alot and if this next IVF proves not to be successful, I will definitely need help saying goodbye to this chapter of my life. I love reading all your stories, it helps take away some of the lonliness this long journey can bring. I wish you all the very best and Gracelynn (above comment), I feel your pain girlfriend, I have to go to a wedding this weekend where the bride is prego and three other friends are prego too! Mind you one the the girls is on her fifth! She can sneeze and get pregnant! I will be drinking heavily, trust me :) I'm gonna need it.

Wow your story sounds like mine. I have 2 boys 7&9. No problems w getting pg. we have been trying for over 6 years for our 3rd. Because I had 2 healthy kids I felt selfish wanting another but it was something I always wanted. We even chose to use an egg donor. So after a natural miscarriage, a miscarriage n termination on our twins from ivf, then another termination after finding out the baby had hydrocephalus at 16 weeks, we went forward w egg donor. 6 great embryos turned into a negative, 2 chemical pgs, and a twin blighted ovum. Our journey is over and it's devastating. Nobody really understands my feelings. It's so hard to deal with it. I'm only 41, I feel like I'm young but scared to try to get pg w my own eggs again. And the egg donor was supposed to be a given. I'll get thru it but it will take time.

I will experience the same thing to you,sometimes i feel very worried,sometimes i feel very happy.

I have been plagued by secondary infertility issues for the last 3 years. I had an umplanned blessing nearly eight years ago in the form of a beautiful baby boy. I struggled being a single parent for several years before marrying a wonderful man and fabulous step-father. I am nearing 30 and he is nearing 40. We knew from the moment we met that we wanted to have another child. And as a woman, I wanted to be able to share in the experience with my husband. I was diagnosed with PCOS 3 years ago. I immediately started treatment with Metformin and proceeded to lose 45 pounds. Yet, our fertility struggles continued. As many of you know insurane does not cover fertility issues. We have forgone most treatment options due to the expense, but were able to use Chlomid. We have now reached the limited on using it and are left with no other viable options. I am heartbroken. I love my first-born but want so desperately to share a child with my husband. I want to see his eyes or cheeks and my chin or nose in a healthy baby. My husband struggles daily with how to help me and our friends though they have been wonderful have all recently announced pregnancies. So, I have begun to withdraw. It is just so heartbreakingly painful to sit through dinners or get togethers without wanting to breakdown. I have and still continue to struggle with guilt and anger,resentment and the feeling of failure. I don't know that I will ever be ok with not having another child, but I am trying my best to come to terms with it. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

I feel lIke god os punIshIng me,I have a 10 yr old son and I had 1abortIon because my pregnancy was not planned and I was In nursIng school. I have been tryIn to get pregnant every sInce then,and I have had 2 mIscarrIages,and now I cant get pregnant at all,Its goIng on 10 yrs now. I cry every month,I just dIdnt want to brIng another baby In thIs world wIthout a dad.

Hi Shalayla, I am so sorry you are going through this. Have you consulted a fertility doctor? We can help; you find a reputable doctor near you. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229). Our Patient Care Coordinators are current and former fertility patients who understand how you're feeling and how important it is to find a great doctor! Best, Kim

We have a wonderful 6 year old (conceived with Chinese medicine and western together, but mostly acupuncture, i think, due to my PCOS)who begs me daily for a sibling. We took a long time befor trying to have a second due to the economy, lost jobs at different times. We married late and had our daughter when I was still just barely 35. So I am 41, nearly 42, and we have done 3 IUI's, 2 with clomid, and now we have been doing acupuncture for a couple cycles. We had 2 chemical pregnancies in the past year. As I approach 42, and our financial lives aren't significantly better, we are strongly leaning toward giving up totally on the "project". I am sad but think it makes the most sense. Now how to release my energies from this?! I'm really so used to this process and was pretty calm with it. I don't feel desperate to have another child, but it would have been wonderful.

After many years of soul searching and 5 iui's, 4 losses, and two ivf cycles my husband and I are trying to come to terms with the possibility of having only one child to love....I know how blessed we are...Our little girl is our miracle, but it is not selfish or wrong to want a sibling...I know this, now if others would just get on board. Sorry, needed to vent...we just finished our last fet and it didn't go well...we are financially at the end of our rope and I am very glad to have found this site.

Hi,I have a 18yo. & a 10 yo.Not with my husband,he has 3 children(6,7) him being 28 me 35.We had a baby boy 2008,our baby passed away from SIDS.We knew we wanted a large family,but spent the 1st yr. saying we should wait because of fear of our new baby feeling that we tried to replace our son,we didn't do anything to prevent pregnancy,so in March 09 I did in fact get preg. again but suffered a miscarriage early along.I thought it was from stress for I knew my mind state was not normal and I kept trying to stay focused on feeling alive for my other 2 children at home.But about a year after 2010 I realised every period that came I got deeper and deeper into a depression.Why wasn't I getting pregnant,was I being punished for something,felt my baby was takin from us now I will never have another baby of my own.I longed to carry I longed to be a new mommy again.I love my children I am not trying to replace,I just worry that because I haven't had but 1 miscarriage in the last 3 yrs. that it isn't in the cards.My husband I know wants more children,and he is younger than me,he used to joke saying he married me cause he knew I would give him many children!I feel like I not only cant give him the family he wishes but I also broke his heart by having his JR that didn't survive.I have been pregant many times 11 to be exact,miscarriages,ectopics,n 3 births.I think that is why I am so confused why now I'm infertile.I did go to my OBGYN and did all test to rule out infertilty.I have become obsessed with ovulation kits,timed intercourse,ect. ect...I keep hearing that I'm trying to hard and when I stop then it will happen I'm just worried if I don't plan it then I am just getting to old,I have Clomid and haven't takin it because my body doesn't work well with any type of medication and they said risk of multiples but all my children was born prematurly,I wouldn't be able to carry more than 1.Could it be I just don't have that many eggs,are there test to tell how well my eggs are?Is there anything more I can do(done almost everything naturally I can think of)to help.I know allot of women can't get pregnant and I know I already have 5 and 1 in Heaven,but I promise that I count my blessings and never take my blessings for granted!

Hi Sonya - I'm sorry you are having a hard time getting pregnant. You should definitely see a fertility doctor who can perform a fertility workup, to help determine whether you are ovulating, the quantity and quality of your eggs, and reason you are not getting pregnant.

You can find a fertility doctor here. If I can be of any help, email me at

I have a 2 year old son who is the pride of my life, he was conceived after our first IVF treatment.. we've since had 2 more treatments to try for a brother/sister for him and both attempts have failed miserably.. I really selfishly thought having the second one would be easy.. but now it has hit me on the head that perhaps we can't have a second one. .. I see him play by himself all the time and it kills me to see the loneliness of not having a sibling...

It makes me cry and it makes me even love him more because he is all I have got, even just writing this makes my eyes water as I think of him.

I feel for all those who are trying everything they can to have the first baby, keep on trying its worth every effort, from the bottom of my heart I hope everyone succeeds in their treatment... sincere wishes to you all.

Thank you for acknowledging secondary infertility. I have 10, almost 11 year old triplets. When they were 3, I was divorced, and I remarried 3 years ago. My husband has a son who is 12. We want another child....however, I have been unable to conceive. Thank you so much for bringing attention to this.... I do not know how many times I have heard, "well, at least you have 3, you should feel very blessed". I do feel blessed, 3 times over, however, I still mourn for the 2nd pregnancy I never have had, and for the child I haven't been able to conceive. I became pregnant with the triplets using Clomid and insemination. At the time, it was unknown infertility issues. However, 4 years ago I found out I have stage 4 endometriosis. I have had 2 laperoscopies, Clomid for 2 months and Lupron shots for 6 months. Plus hormone pills, etc. Our last doctor (fertility specialist) we saw said the only way I may have a chance is through IVF. We don't want to go that, I still mourn quietly, and I just wanted to say thank you for acknowledging this and understanding that although women have a child or more, once they are not able to conceive, or have trouble conceiving, it is still traumatic.

Yes, thank you all. Secondary infertility sometimes seems like a dirty secret. I have a beautiful 16 yr old son that was my miracle baby. I’ve been trying for 15 yrs with several miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy that almost killed me…and no live births. I hear it all too often “at least you had one miracle”, and I feel selfish that it somehow doesn’t comfort me and just upsets me more.
My 40th birthday is this year and this economy has sealed our fate in allowing us to financially afford IVF. The heart wrenching truth of knowing I will not have another baby is probably the as devastating to me as losing a loved one.
You are all in my thoughts and prayers that you will all get your “secondary miracle”.

My husband and I have a 7 year old have have been trying to have another baby for 4 years now. We had our daughter with no problems, but now we are on clomid and medforim for the last 2 months now. I feel if i can have one i can have another. so far nothing!!!!

Four years is a long time to be trying to have a baby - and I hope that you are now seeing a fertility doctor - also known as a reproductive endocrinologist. I know that many ob/gyns will prescribe Clomid - but given your situation you should really see a fertility doctor who can adequately diagnose and treat your condition.


I was diagnosed w/multiple factor secondary infertility in Oct. 2009, 8 mos. after trying unsuccessfully to conceive a 2nd baby starting in Jan. 09. My 1st child...a son...was born in June of 07. He was conceived naturally w/barely a thought. I was 31 when I got pregnant w/him & 32 when he was born, after a fairly easy pregnancy. However, 2 mos. before he was born we found out my husband, a military officer, had orders to S.E. Asia & we were to be transferred there in Sept. 07. I was shocked & not happy about it, as it came out of nowhere, & added a lot of stress to my pregnancy & postpartum period. We moved overseas in Sept. 07 & since we were only going to be there 14 mos., I decided I'd wait until after we returned to the States to attempt another pregnancy as we didn't have access to a US military hospital where we were & it would've been a huge hassle logistic's wise. We returned to the US for good in Nov. 08 & moved to the state of NM in Jan. 09. Immediately, we started trying for baby no. 2. It was the classic case of "oh the 1st one happened so effortlessly...2nd one should be a breeze!" Little did I know, how wrong I would turn out to be...& I had just turned 34. Finally, in Sept. 09 I realized something wasn't right. I also noticed my cycle's were coming every 21-23 days & they were out of control heavy! By Oct. I met w/an RE who ordered a battery of labwork, two scans, & labwork on my husband. My husband's SA came back w/a sperm morphology issue, I had a right blocked f. tube (dom.ovary), & the icing on the cake...I had autoimmune thyroiditis. Between all of this, the best overall chance for getting pregnant he gave us was if we did IVF. We successfully completed our 1st round of IVF in Jan. 10 w/one of two embryo transfer's implanting.
6 wks. later I miscarried due to the embryo failing to develop. We plan on our 2nd attempt in July...we'll see what happens! Now I find myself inundated w/friends & family getting pregnant & giving birth to 2nd & 3rd children, innocent but invasive questions of "so when is baby no. 2,"
& the proverbial insensitive "well at least you have one." Which btw, makes it worse b/c you really know what you're missing. Not to mention having to live w/the lingering threat of my ovaries failing on me at any given moment as a woman w/thyroid disease. It's been a real emotional roller coaster. I hope that the field of women's health starts making fertility screening standard during yearly exams. Never was I counseled or warned in my 20's that as someone who suffered from dysmennorhea & irregular periods that I could be at risk for fertility problems. Wish the best for everyone out there faced w/this struggle!

I have a thyroid disease and had 3 successful pregnancies. I'm having trouble now that I'm older (36) but I don't believe my thyroid has anything to do with it. I didn't even start treatment for my hoshimotos thyroidus until after I was pregnant with my second child.

3 months after my husband and I got married we easily got pregnant with our beatuiful son. He will be 9 in three days. When he was one year old we started trying again. it of course was suppose to be easy right!? Well apparently not. We can't afford to do any treatments and we have only done a few tests. With no apparent reason as to why we can't get pregnant. I am now almost 38 with no hope. My heart aches everyday and Breaks on the days my son tells me he wishes he had a sibling. I am so thankful for the one child I was able to have but I SO yearn for more. Being a mom is what I was suppose to do. why can't I do it to the fullest?

I am going to the exact same thing. We have been trying for baby #2 for 5 years. We cannot afford IVF or any other treatments. I am a teacher and EVERYONE around me is getting pregnant. I'm always asked why I don't have another one yet. Anyway, I would love someone to talk to.

I am a victim of secondary infertility. I would like to strongly suggest one thing primarily to anyone out there interested in having there first or even second or third child.... if you cannot get pregnant then please do not hesitate to got to the doctor.

I have a beautiful 11 year old daughter she is my little egg that could!!! No drugs over,11 years ago, unexpectedly I ended up pregnanat with her for the grace of god! Now I am not a big religious fanatic but I do thank goodness or what ever is there, because I do believe there is some thing there for bringing her into my life.

In the interim I had many losses 6 to be exact blighted ovums, D&C's miscarriages, yadda yadda. I finally took myself to an infertility specialist because my OB GYN could NOT help me at all. Even though she/he tried.

Finally 7 years ago I get the diagnosis which is horrible because I have the double whammy.....PCOS and the cherry on the sundae.....a balanced translocationof my chromosomes. It has been a long journey to get to where I am at now.

The first clinic that I went to was un helpful adn not informative at all I felt like a number and to think they were callign themselves the best in Boston....UGH. The secodn clinic I went to was beautiful but after 3 failed IVF cycles one with PGD (which why they allowed me to go through with it knowing what I know now... makes no sense what so ever and I am very mad about that). The third clinic has been terrific and te doctor is GREAT I now need to go for my second IVF with them my fifth treatment all together 3rd with PGD.

I live in a world surrounded by fertile woman havign babies at will. And all I have ever wanted was children and it is the thign I cannot give my husband. We love our dughter dearly and she loves us , she wants a sibling too.

I have a five year old. It is very frustrating because for the past year and half I had stop taking birth control and hoping that I will get pregnant but to no avail. I do not know if I am suffering from secondary infertility since I never did any test to that effect.

i have a two year old little boy and i had him through ivf, the clinic i used told me i had what was considered secondry infertility. I would love to have a second child but it hasnt happened naturally and now i am faced with the prospect of having to go through ivf again or to just be satisfied to have my precious little boy. i have always dreamed of a large family i was an only child so i really dont want to have my son grow up an only child as well. the cost of ivf has increased dramatically in ireland. could anyone send me any advice on this matter as i would be eternally grateful.

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