If you’ve already had a child, you don’t have to worry about infertility, right? Everything worked once, it will work again. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The term for difficulty becoming pregnant after the successful birth of a previous child is called secondary infertility (Resolve). Let’s consider what might cause secondary infertility and how you can deal with the condition both physically and emotionally.

Possible Causes of Secondary Infertility

In truth, we don’t know exactly what causes secondary infertility. Most likely there isn’t a single cause, just as there isn’t a single reason for infertility in general. However, there are a few possible factors that apply to patients with secondary infertility that may not apply to others:


  • Age: Obviously, you’re older when trying for a later child than you were when you had your first. Fertility rates decrease by age for both women and men, so you may be witnessing the inevitable passage of time.
  • Complications: If you had complications during your previous delivery, especially if you developed a uterine infection as a result, there may be structural factors that affect your fertility. Uterine fibroids and damage to the fallopian tubes both contribute to fertility problems.

Dealing With Secondary Infertility

For the approximately 1 million couples experiencing secondary infertility, the condition combines the frustration and worry of other forms of infertility with confusion or guilt over how this could be happening after a previous pregnancy. Understand that secondary infertility is not a reflection on you. There isn’t anything you “did right” the first time that you’re not doing now.


Don’t let your feelings keep you from pursuing help from a doctor. As with any form of infertility, your doctor will be able to recommend tests to determine what is causing your fertility problems. This is the best way to overcome secondary infertility, and dealing with the issue is the best way to handle the difficult feelings the condition evokes.


One problem that occurs with secondary infertility that does not impact others with fertility problems is the added stress of being a parent while trying to get pregnant again. Depending on your child’s age, they may be aware that something is going on but not be able to understand why you are feeling stressed. If necessary, you should be prepared to talk to your child about your fertility journey in simple terms.


Like any other type of fertility problem, secondary infertility can be beaten through various means. Talk to your doctor about your concerns, and ask about what treatment options may be right for you. If you want more tips for conceiving or information about improving fertility, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our newsletter below.