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Is this secondary infertility?

(20 Posts)
philbee Tue 24-Jul-12 23:21:01

Hi all. We've been TTCing for just over a year now. I'm 35, and have been pg twice before, got pg after 3 months with DD, now nearly 4yo, and after 4 months last year, miscarried at 12 weeks. So something's changed since the mc I think.

Is the stage we are at now considered secondary infertility? I've been reading some stuff online which says that it's considered to be after a year of trying for under 35s and 6 months of trying for over 35s. First round tests are normal and am now waiting for a fertility clinic appointment to investigate further.

I'd like to have a label for this really. I get very down and very angry, and I spend a lot of time thinking about what I will say if someone asks me if we'll have more children, but I can't come up with anything satisfactory.

HenriettaPootle Tue 24-Jul-12 23:38:05

Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your mc and your frustration at not conceiving. I can't really answer your question, but just thought I'd check whether you're charting your cycle? We conceived DS1 very easily, but then tried for DC2 for 9 months with no success (I was 34). But because I was charting obsessively , I realised there was something a bit weird about my cycle. Still don't know for sure if it made a difference, but when I addressed the 'problem' (by taking progesterone cream to delay my period) I conceived first cycle. So just thought I'd ask...

maples Tue 24-Jul-12 23:50:36

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maples Tue 24-Jul-12 23:51:12

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maples Tue 24-Jul-12 23:51:30

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floozietoozie Tue 24-Jul-12 23:54:35

I would have thought those statistics would have been the other way around to be honest - six months for under 35 and a year for over. Fertility is supposed to start declining in a noticeable way once you are 35. It took me three years from 32-35 to conceive DC1 and 2.5 years from 36.5 to 39 to conceive DC2 so a year doesn't seem that long to me, but I knew I had issues (endometriosis, plus massive stress after DC1 as he was prem and then diagnosed disabled). You are doing the right thing getting checked out and you may find you "relax" a bit once in the doctor's hands and it happens - it did for me with dc2. (£150 for the initial chat then discovered I was pg a few weeks later! Most expensive chat I've ever had but possibly worth it!). Seriously, I know it's very, very hard to do when all you can think about is getting pg, but trying not to focus on it too much can actually help. Having been there, I do know how difficult it can be and you have my sympathies. It isn't unusual to take longer second time round. You are still young at 35. Just be sure you are having enough sex around your ovulation time - when I got pg with dc2 it was every other day over a 10-day period. Good luck.

JarethTheGoblinKing Tue 24-Jul-12 23:58:14

It's a year for under 35s and a year over. Why would you think it was the other way round? confused

OP - what might have changed is your cycle, the length, and when you ovulate. I'm in a very similar position to you and it's almost been a year. We've been using ovulation sticks and hopefully sometime in the next couple of months we'll manage it. If not, we'll be off to the GP. Good luck xxxxxxxxxxx

floozietoozie Wed 25-Jul-12 00:02:10

Should clarify what I meant by the stats thing - I imagine they mean you will get help faster after the age of 35 but it's generally likely to take longer to get pg anyway statistically.

JarethTheGoblinKing Wed 25-Jul-12 00:02:49


philbee Wed 25-Jul-12 08:27:11

Thank you everyone. I did use ovulation sticks for about 5 months, and charted for several. But it always comes out the same, ov around day 18 of a 28 day cycle. So I have a short luteal phase, which might be a problem. I take vit B complex but don't want to take higher doses, and a friend gave me agnus castus but I've read it disrupts regular cycles. Plus I'm reluctant to self medicate for it really. I stopped charting and doing the sticks because it became too stressful, and I wanted to try to take my mind off it a bit. We DTD every other day from about day 10-20, and less often the rest of the time. I have a referral to the fertility clinic at the hospital, just waiting for an appointment.

I guess I just want to know whether I can legitimately say I have secondary infertility, as I feel like that would help, psychologically. And also what to do about the anger, as I find that hard. I've started to run again and do a martial art, but it's still there. Thanks all.

caramelgirl Wed 25-Jul-12 08:40:01

Hi philbee.
Am in exactly the same, super frustrating, situation as you.
Nearly 3yo DD, conceived immediately after a chemical pregnancy thR first time trying, miscarried last year after conceiving in 3months.
Since then, nothing. Like you say, I felt like something had changed since miscarriage.
Had normal blood tests and no cysts on ovaries, DH's sperm was good too, but GP wouldn't do any more than that.
Chose to see a Gynae privately. Good to chat, as floozietoozie said. In fact I cried because I was so glad that someone was taking me seriously.
She said mcs can clog up the Fallopian tubes or remote chsnce of infections etc. causing blockages so referred me for an investigative HSG- performed on cycle day 6 or so, should be before ovulation. It is also thought to improve conception rates post the procedure.
That, unfortunately, didn't help me, so she's now suggested progesterone suppositories, theory being that age or hormone imbalance is causing uterine lining quality to be too poor for implantation.
Either way, there are things that you can do, but your PCT may not find many of them, given that you already have a child. I'm also, inspired by success of other posters, trying acupuncture regularly which I find really relaxing and feels like it is doing something good.
The thing that has helped me most recently, is coming across a stat that said that secondary infertility actually accounted for a third to half of infertility cases. I'm not sure just how true it is, but I felt so much better after acknowledging that past performance wasn't a guarantee of future success and that I could justify spending money and time on trying to fix a very real problem.
I know that we are super lucky to have our DD and am v appreciative of this, just going to keep slogging on to try to win #2.
Very Good Luck!

caramelgirl Wed 25-Jul-12 08:47:04

And yes, I'm only just changing over from feeling furious to feeling super lucky and grateful for #1-18 months of anger behind me!
I'm also short luteal phase- acupuncture to address and also the progesterone to addrss it.
Or look into qualified medical herbalist. I prefer not to take Traditional Chinese Medivine but lots swear by it. Had a great medical herbalist to balance my hormones about a year before ttc DD.
martial arts sound funny, I bought a big gym machine to work out on in thR garage. Acupuncurist suggested I stop running but that made me feel worse and gave me cellulite so I'm back to doing that.
Good luck with fertility clinic. I'd definitely do some searches on here for what questiona to ask (other than "please can I have a baby NOW").

princessnumber2 Wed 25-Jul-12 08:55:16

Just wanted to say that I got pregnant with dd1 the first month (now 6) but then it took over 18 months to conceive dd2 (now 8 months). In those 18 months I was very angry, bitter, stressed and sad. I had friends who had no children who'd been trying for 10 years but it didn't help me appreciate what I had as I was desperate for dd1 to have a sibling. I had some minor gynae treatment and got pregnant straight away. Not sure what definitions are re secondary infertility but not sure they help as clearly some people get pregnant after a year. I found getting proper medical advice helped. Even seeing a consultant privately for initial advice if you can. (I realise not everyone can do this). And also I basically tried to avoid people talking about pregnancy and how knackered they were with their 2 kids... sadblush

HenriettaPootle Wed 25-Jul-12 22:34:16

My issue was also a short luteal phase (around 8-10 days). I decided to self-medicate with natural progesterone cream (on the basis that it doesn't seem to have many side effects). When I was referred to a gynae he was totally dismissive of progesterone cream and of the potential problems of a short luteal phase - but I'd got my BFP that morning, so it was all rather irrelevant. I don't know whether he would have recommended any further investigation/treatment if I hadn't already conceived.

caramelgirl Thu 26-Jul-12 07:34:00

Haha, HenriettaPootle, bet that felt fantastic! Tho' doesn't sound like he's the type to take it as a learning experience!
Congrats on success, gives me hope for my progesterone suppositories.

Bearhugs43 Fri 27-Jul-12 15:24:53

I had 3 early losses between dc2 and 3. It was realising the issue was a short luteal phase that helped me solve it. I saw a homeopath whilst on the list to see fertility doctors- within one month my luteal phase was corrected and was pg with dc3 second month. Now pg with dc4 without trying blush

As off the wall as it may sound - do try seeing a homeopath - it really worked for me smile

Bearhugs43 Fri 27-Jul-12 15:25:37

Ps i tried progesterone (cyclogest pessaries ) to no avail

Bearhugs43 Fri 27-Jul-12 16:23:12

Btw the particular treatment that worked for me (which obviously a homeopath will tweak to suit an individual) is called the Liz Lalor method if anyone wants to look it up in more detail

philbee Fri 27-Jul-12 16:55:05

Thank you everyone. I've got a date for my clinic appointment in a few weeks, so need to read up a bit on what to ask.

caramel - am prepared for them to stop fairly early on, they've already said we wouldn't get IVF. But I also want to keep a level head about it as far as possible. We do already have DD, and I want to make her life happy and not have me stressing for years with different things, or spending a lot of money (which we don't really have, so pretty academic). I do want them to think about the luteal phase thing, and also check that my tubes aren't blocked. Beyond that I guess I need to research. But DH is wary of getting into procedures beyond this stage at all, so not sure he'd go for anything private or alternative really.

princess - totally recognise this in myself. When we were TTCing at the start of last year, and when I was pg for 12 weeks I was a total nightmare, stressing, angry, resentful. After the mc I realised I needed to get a handle on it and started doing meditation, more exercise etc. But it's still there, and sometimes it's hard to manage it. There are a lot of pg people at work, and reminders elsewhere. I try to limit my exposure to it really, but I don't want to be rude. I am happy for them, but it's still painful.

Henrietta - where did you get the progesterone cream from? And how did you find out how to use it? Am quite interested in that, especially if it has minimal side effects. Agnus castus seems like it can be quite horrible.

brendabell Mon 12-Nov-12 20:09:43


You can find Liz Lalor Homeopathic Treatment in South London via Helix Homeopathy or NestLondon - both on the internet.

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