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Secondary Infertility and the Emotional Issues Surrounding It


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Secondary infertility is a condition where a mom, who has already given birth to one or more children is unable to conceive again. Surprisingly, the incidences of secondary infertility are greater than that of primary infertility. However, since the couple may already have one or more children they are not as likely to seek fertility help as a couple who has not had success in conceiving even one child.

But even though the emotional pressures on them are generally much less than a couple who have primary infertility, they still exist. They may suffer though the inability to provide a playmate or sibling for their existing child. Or they may be successful in getting pregnant, but then have to suffer through one or more miscarriages which can truly devastate the psyche. Or the couple may simply have married each other with a vision in their head of “dozens" of children and grandchildren, and now find that the vision they had of their future life together is being altered. Whatever the reasons, couples who are trying to conceive, but can't, are going to go through periods of emotional suffering.

Secondary infertility can also cause or exacerbate existing marital problems and put a strain on the relationship. This is especially true if one or more of the partners suffer from depression. One partner may blame the other for not being affected the same way he/she is. Or the father may point the finger at the mother as the cause of the infertility, or vice versa.

Even though vocally blaming your partner as somehow culpable is, for sure, destructive to the relationship, a much greater threat is where the blame and anger exist but is unspoken. Sadly, in many of these cases the couple silently drift further apart until they may become strangers simply living under the same roof. But it doesn't have to be this way.

The primary solution to this problem, and to many relationship problems is keeping the lines of communication with each other open. And not just communication with your partner, but communication with the children also.

Communication can not only help both partners to eliminate any guilt resulting from the problems in conceiving, it can very well help to re-connect them and even strengthen their relationship. Two people going through the same crisis together, sharing their frustrations, their feelings, their worries, and helping to emotionally support each other can make their union bonds stronger than ever.

It's also important that as the couple work through the problems and difficulties of trying to have another child, that they don't forget the child or children that they already have. Don't let the focus of trying to conceive overshadow their emotional needs. Children are very perceptive and they pick up on our anxieties, even though they may not be able to identify or understand the cause. But the very act of communicating with them, even if they don't completely understand what is happening, can usually help to put them at ease.

But no one or no couple needs to go through these problems alone. Seeking help from counselors and support groups can greatly benefit anyone suffering through secondary infertility.

Richard Corcoran is webmaster and senior writer for - He writes articles on fertility causes, treatments, drugs and causes of infertility in women


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