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Secondary Infertility: The Silent Second Try

Posted on 13.7.16

The word ‘infertility’ in its very nature is as ominous as it is imposing. Subsequently, to those fortunate enough to not have to deal with infertility (and the turbulent sea of emotions that thrash within it), it can appear like an ordeal that’s only relevant for the misfortunate who are landed with it from the proverbial ‘start’ – a simple sorting method for those who can have children and those who can’t…

The truth is, infertility isn’t as simple as many would think. It can appear at any moment – even after you’ve already had your first child. But there’s a form of infertility that marks itself as a real poltergeist in the fertility world: ‘secondary infertility’ – the incapability of conceiving a child following the birth of your first child.

“SECONDARY INFERTILITY refers to couples who, after having had one or more babies, can’t conceive or who have had one or more miscarriages or stillborn babies. Secondary infertility is more common than primary infertility” – Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA)

It can happen to anyone at any time and put future family plans on hold – hence why for many, imagining infertility as an on/off switch makes it less frightening to consider as someone who is fortunate enough to still be virile.

“Going through secondary infertility for several years was incredibly difficult. I felt like my family wasn’t complete and that there was an unshakeable daily sadness looming over me that I just couldn’t shake.” – Anya Sizer, Patient Coordinator At The Bridge Centre

Secondary infertility is out there and it’s not disappearing anywhere soon...

In 2006, secondary infertility affected 3.3 million women across the planet and appears to be increasing year after year. In fact, 6 out of every 10 infertility cases are now due to secondary infertility.

For many who try and get assisted fertility treatment on the NHS, you can be denied a referral because you already have a child, leaving many feeling adrift and out of options – but that needn’t be the case.

“Friends and family failed to understand why I couldn’t just be grateful to have one child. It’s easy to overlook how important and impactful secondary infertility can be, but the pain was real, and many afternoons you’d find me in floods of tears and just wanting desperately to be able to conceive again” – Anya Sizer, Patient Coordinator

With time not slowing down for anyone either, it can make those who want to add to their family feel rejected that they can’t get access to treatment that could easily make that desire a reality.

At the Bridge Centre, we have a team that’s been dedicated specifically to treating secondary infertility and getting aspiring parents back on track to their hopes of family. For those who have had failed IVF cycles or simply have low AMH levels and cannot seem to get pregnant – we’ve got solutions:

The London Egg Bank and London Sperm Bank – Our close relationship with the London Egg and Sperm banks mean that we’ve always got solutions for couples who need to use donor eggs or sperm for their treatment. From their online catalogues, you can easily select a donor that you feel is right for you and then use them right away in your treatment – so no long wait times!

PGS and PGD – (Preimplantation Genetic Screening and Diagnostics) at the Bridge have allowed our doctors to take an even closer look at eggs and embryos to assess their viability for transfer or identify potentially threatening genetic conditions that may be of notification to the patient. This allows us to further identify the limiting factors of our patient’s fertility and then adapt treatment plans accordingly to achieve the best possible results. It’s new innovative science that can make the impossible possible!

We offer support through the counsellors. Quite a number of patients having egg donation will already have had their own children, some with a previous partner without the need for IVF, so again I am here as additional support for them.

None of us like having our aspirations denied, but for those who have already delved deep into their personal family planning, secondary infertility can be more than a setback – it can be as upsetting as it is disorienting.

“It combines two powerful emotions that exist in deadly conflux: enormous gratitude for being able to have a child in the first place and enormous sadness for the sobering actuality of not being able to have another child. I felt isolated, like I wasn’t in the group of people still trying to conceive for the first time. I didn’t feel like a ‘normal’ mum – and I was still going through treatment!” – Anya Sizer, Patient Coordinator

Suddenly realising that your ideals of family are not coming true can feel a bit like having the rug pulled out from underneath you, and an emotional response is completely justified – but as intimidating as secondary infertility might be, it’s far from undefeatable. In fact, as secondary infertility grows increasingly more common within patients of the fertility industry, we’re improving our ways of circumventing it and get families back on the path towards the family they think about every day.

Regardless of your circumstances, talk to us about starting your journey now and let’s beat infertility in the best possible way: by helping you achieve the family you deserve.

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