by Stephanie Beall, M.D., Ph.D

When the first or second child is conceived with ease, it may seem perplexing why you are having trouble conceiving now.  Unfortunately, even if you have been able to have a child previously, the same problems that can affect a couple never able to conceive can also affect you.

One of the most common reasons for secondary infertility is maternal age. It is important to realize that the natural decline in a woman’s fertility occurs, whether or not you have been pregnant before. As a woman ages, the number of eggs decrease as does the quality of those eggs. Therefore, pregnancy rates decrease and chance of miscarriage increases as we get older. Male age is also important. As a man grows older, sperm quality and quantity may begin to decrease.


Infertility is a medical problem. If you have been trying, unsuccessfully, to have another child and are worried that you may have secondary infertility, you should see a fertility specialist . In addition, you should also see a doctor if you have had any changes in your health since the birth of your last child which may impact your ability to conceive. Conditions that can arise after a delivery which may impact fertility include:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Irregular or absent cycles

Unlike those experiencing difficulty having their first child, couples facing secondary infertility are much less likely to seek help. Many are told that they have nothing to worry about so just keep trying. This can not only lead to frustration, but also the loss of valuable time. It is important to not delay simply because you have been able to have children in the past. Infertility can happen to anyone at anytime.

You are not alone

Sadly, infertility does not discriminate and can happen to anyone at anytime throughout their reproductive years. Secondary infertility is very common – according to recent study up to 50% of couple struggling with infertility.  Although there are many couples facing the same situation, the path of infertility testing and treatment can often feel very lonely.

Often times couples experiencing secondary infertility feel distant from friends and family members who simply cannot understand the pain associated with infertility when you already have a child. You may feel criticized, thinking you should be grateful for the child(ren) you have, or you may feel an overwhelming guilt that you cannot give your child a little brother or sister. Couples often need assistance as they struggle with the complex feelings associated with secondary infertility. There are support groups and resources available and your doctor can help you find what you need.


While infertility is a medical problem that usually requires specialized treatments, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help yourself. One of the most prevalent lifestyle factors that can impact your ability to conceive is maintaining a healthy weight. Excessive weight contributes to ovulatory disorders and has been linked to miscarriage. As a woman’s weight increases, her risk for hypertension and diabetes increases too.  Women who are underweight are also at risk of having an ovulatory disorder. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet with moderate exercise to obtain a normal weight is very important and one thing you can do to take control of your health and fertility.

If you are ready to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stephanie Beall or another physician at Shady Grove Fertility, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.