Secondary Infertilty - Advice and Support Needed!

Updated on August 27, 2008
C.W. asks from Evanston, IL
35 answers

Wondering if anyone can share their story or offer advice and support about secondary infertilty issues. We've been trying for another child and recently went through some initial examinations with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (fertiltiy specialist). Apparently everything is NORMAL! (and our first baby was conceived lickety-split!), but since its been a year, we still fall into the "unexplained infertility" category. The doctor's first suggestion is for us to try a combination of chlomid treatments, HCG injections, and Intrauterine Insemination. We have many concerns...while its not too terribly invasive it still seems like a lot of tinkering around, time (4-6 appointments per cycle), cost, etc. The risk of multiples is also there, and my first baby was a preemie, so any subsequent pregnancies will already be considered "high risk" for me. We can't really justify *knowingly* enter into a situation where there is an increased chance of multiples - twins so often are born early and we'd like to AVOID repeating a preterm birth (we're already nervous enough about a second one as it is).

SO - have you been through a similar treatment? Sought a second opinion after meeting with a fertility specialist? Kept trying and conceived again naturally, despite being told that ramping up the treatments/drugs were in order at this time? Sought alternative treatments? Had a successful singleton or multiple birth (with or without fertility treatments) after having a preemie? Or has anyone else decided that even though they wanted to add more children to their families, decided against further fertility treatments and is now happily raising their one and only munchkin?

Thanks for your input! FYI - my husband believes that the potential time and expense of continuing down the road of fertility treatment is not in our family's best interest. We love the family we've created and we're so lucky to have been blessed with one pretty-much perfect kid! I'm not as certain, obviously, but I'm not sure I'm feeling totally comfortable with treating this medically (not sure that there is actually anything wrong with us!).

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So What Happened?

Dear everyone, Thank you so much for your various ideas, stories, and input. I'm amazed that in less than 24 hours, I now have some new things to consider, new questions for my doctor, and in reading all of this, a much better idea of what I'm feeling in my heart/head! I should have mentioned that 6 months into actively trying, I began charting, and about 3 months ago read the fabulous "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler....I now have a much better understanding of my cycles...and in some ways then, even though we've been trying for a year, I feel that we've only been "trying right" for the past few months. Hence the questioning on if fertility treatments are right for us at this time. Thank you all for sharing, and have a happy healthy day with your families. CW

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G.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine,
I had my first child, a son, at age 31, and had trouble getting pregnant the second time around. I had been on the pill since age 22, and it took over a year to get pregnant the first time. After trying for about 18 months, we went on vacation, and approx. 8 days later I conceived at age 34 (a beautiful daughter). Sounds like a similar scenerio. So good luck, relax, go on vacation and hopefully you will get pregnant.

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M.D.

answers from Peoria on

I have had 2 friends recently get pregnant using Chlomid and neither had twins. I do not know the statistics on odds of have twins using this treatment, just thought I would share my experiences.

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B.K.

answers from Chicago on

First, it's amazing to me that Toni can know exactly why you aren't conceiving without ever having seen you. Check this out: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/DSH/cor...

That said, I want to add: Been there done that! I had a beautiful baby girl in my mid 20s, and when she was 5 I miscarried and then never got pregnant again. We also had unexplained infertility -- we both checked out fine initially. We tried chlomid, which didn't work at all for us. And because I had a happy, healthy girl, I didn't want to do much more medically. It just all seemed a bit much to me. However, we weren't finished with our family, and when my older daughter was 10 we were able to adopt a baby and complete our family. We didn't really consider adoption much, but our older daughter prayed and prayed and actually prayed us into the idea. My older daughter is now 20 and my younger is 10. I often tell people I have two daughters and one is adopted - -but I can't remember which one. After my little one was placed in my arms, I knew the reason I had secondary infertility. So I could wait for her. She is the greatest joy in my life right now and strangely enough -- much more like me than my birth daughter!

I'm not saying adoption is your answer. I just want you to know that I struggled just like you are now and decided that intervention wasn't worth it. I turns out that I had very bad endometriosis and no symptoms, which pretty much caused my problems. (I found this out a few years ago after a fibroid problem. The fertility specialist didn't figure it out -- doctors don't know everything.) It probably explains why my mom only had one kid and her mom only had one kid. Just genetic. Not acidic.

At any rate, I feel your pain. I know what it's like. E-mail me if you'd like. I have no great advice other than to say you never know what is going to happen down the road! Take care.

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C.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine! I have had some trouble with secondary infertility too - had a miscarriage, then tried for a year afterwards to conceive again with no luck. I am happy to report that I am now 6 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and would love to share what worked for me.

My doctor recommended that we begin with "fertility monitoring". When my period started, I went in for a series of blood tests - 5 vials were taken and every hormone in my body was analyzed. They can glean some info from this, and at that point all of my hormones registered in a "normal" range. But really the value in these tests are the baseline that they give the doctor. A week later, I returned for more blood tests - this time, my levels were compared to those from the previous week. Certain hormones should increase and other decrease, depending on where you are in your cycle. I also began having ultrasounds at this time to determine if my ovaries were developing follicles.

For the remainder of that week, I returned for more blood tests and ultrasounds every other day. Once the ultrasounds showed ripened follicles, and the hormones in my bloodtests supported that I was about to ovulate, I was prescribed with an injection of Ovidrel - this is a synthetic form of HCG that forces the follicles to rupture, virtually guaranteeing ovulation. My husband and I were instructed to have intercourse the following two days, then I was automatically put on progesterone suppositories just to take out any guess work. 14 days after beginning progesterone, I was instructed to take a pregnancy test - and it was positive!

I love that my doctor recommended this process before discussing any real "treatments". For starters, it identified exactly what my body was doing and how it was functioning. But it also maximized our chances for conceiving without utilizing a lot of drugs. And it is completely non-invasive (unless you consider transvaginal ultrasounds invasive, which I do not).

I would highly recommend that anyone struggling to conceive try this method of monitoring before doing anything else. Not only did it work, but it is about half as time consuming as real fertility treatments - it was only for a 2 period that I needed to make visits to the office. And best of all, it is relatively inexpensive - my insurance covered most of it. Our out-of-pocket costs were only $291. You can't beat that with a stick!

Good luck to you in your quest for baby #2! If I can be of any further help in describing this process, I am more than happy to share! Just let me know : )

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M.V.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine,

We experienced secondary infertility while trying to conceive our second child. It was very bewildering to us, since our first child was conceived, truthfully, the cycle before we actually intended to start "trying"! So, we didn't know much about really trying to conceive and all that is involved. I was 35 at the time, so I did have the underlying pressure to "beat the clock". We used the ovulation kits to help us with timing, to no avail. After a couple of months, I talked to my ob/gyn. She had me begin charting my Basal Body Temp to determine if/when I was ovulating. The thing about the store bought ovulation predictor kits is they tell you when you have the surge of hormones required to ovulate, but they cannot tell you if ovulation actually occurred after that surge. Charting your temperature over time will show you and your doctor if you are indeed ovulating. It turned out, I was not. Sometimes I would ovulate, then I wouldn't for a month or two, then I would again. It was my ob, not a specialist, who suggested a very low dosage of clomid to stimulate ovulation. I was also concerned about multiples, but the risk (at lower dosage) is VERY low. I cannot remember the dosage I was on, it's been too long, but I was scheduled to try clomid for three cycles, and if it did not work, my doctor wanted me to see a fertility specialist.

I was nervous about starting the drug, but we knew of several women who had taken it and then had fertility success. So we tried it and it failed the first two months. If memory serves, my doctor increased the dosage a bit for the third round. The morning of my scheduled appointment with the fertility specialist, I had a positive pregnancy test! I believe it was 13 -14 months from start to finish for us. We had our second child when I was 36.

So, charting and clomid worked for us. I should also say that our third child was conceived about 10 months after the birth of our second, without trying or charting or any of the above (yes, a bit of a surprise!). Conceiving a baby is no easy feat, even without underlying medical issues, just because that fertility window is so small and open for such a short time each cycle. It sounds as if you've already been checked for some of those underlying problems, but not sure if you've charted to be sure ovulation is happening as it should. I would recommend charting very much because maybe you will be able to avoid some of the procedures that are more costly, time-consuming and so invasive. I wish you luck with your decision and a successful outcome!

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N.S.

answers from Chicago on

Have you tried natural alternative treatments such as accupuncture? It works ammazingly to help get you pregnant if you are trying. I speak first hand. You can email me further if you want more details. I really believe in holistic approach working with fertility. I sent a couple friends to my person and they also got pregnant pretty quick.

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

I would remove anything with "partially hydrongenated" or "hydrogenated" oils (i.e. trans fats) from your diets (both of you). This food preservative is linked to infertility. It's in everything - baked goods, coffee creamer, etc. Even if it says zero trans fats, you still need to read the label.

Have you considered accupuncture? Find a good accupuncturist and you'll need to go at least a handful of times (or whatever he/she recommends).

Eat a diet rich of raw fruits and veggies, drink plenty of water, exercise, etc. Dietary excellence and optimal habits.

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

Find a good acupuncturist. Acupuncture has been shown to help fertility. Just make sure that acupuncturist knows the proper points for increasing fertility. Worked for me!

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J.H.

answers from Chicago on

Chistine,

I am an adoption professinal, and work for a small private agency. We place approximatley 15 infants a year. I have been in this profession for 13 years, and I have worked with many couples just like you over the years who have experianced second hand infertility. Every one of them who has adopted has told me how much they love their adopted child with the same intense love that they do for their birth child. They tell me it is no different. If adoption is something you want to consider, I would be happy to talk to you more about it. There are so many negative myths and false information out there about adoption, mainly do to the media. Adoption is a wonderful thing, and it is a lot more of a guaranteed way to build your family than fertility treatments.

Best Wishes,

J.

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R.G.

answers from Chicago on

Christine--I am a Mom of a preemie as well, so I can completely relate as to your hesitancy. I know for us, we are just taking our time with baby #2. I would interview several perinatologists/OBGY's in your area, and hire someone who is like-minded and shares your values. That is key to be on the same page. You only know what's best for you and your body, so trust your gut.
We have a lot in common--I am a former ballet instructor too. It has been quite a few years since I've danced (not counting in my kitchen! Entertains my lil gal! Best of luck, and message me back if you'd like to chat "preemie."

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T.V.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine--

I am a naturalist and a detox coach/nutritional healer. Your body is not responding due to an acid/alkaline imbalance plus possibly your anxiety over trying to have another baby.

If you do some research-fertility drugs are smoke and mirrors. Our society has become so acidic that it is difficult for some to conceive and be successful at it. So conventional medicine's answer is to pump women full of drugs which is terrible for your body and the environment in which you are trying to conceive.

I have had women that have been thru the same gamut with no answers and then they find info on detoxing and getting the body to the proper pH and wham-o they get pregnant.

I have a wonderful friend that helps women conceive naturally and we can get you healthier at the same time. I have scores of info and so does Jasmine. Her specialty is helping women pre-during-post pregnancy.

For more info let me know and I will get you her info and provide you with a simple healing. And to boot it is alot less expensive :)

I hope this helps!!

T.
[email protected]____.com

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D.P.

answers from Chicago on

Christine,

Are you charting your cycles? (forgive me for stating the obvious if you are...) Charting is SO useful to you and to your RE to help explain the unexplained...

Good luck! D.

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M.G.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine. I had trouble conceiving my first. AFter 12 months, my ob/gyn tried a round of clomid..no success. Went to a fertility specialist. DH and I decided to go straight for IVF. Luckily, our insurance will pay 100% for 3 attempts (except for co-pays). Given that, we spent about $400-500 on co-pays for drugs and probably about $400 on co-pays for doctor visits (I'd say a total of 20 from the first consultation to the ultrasound). That's pretty cheap considering the real cost...thank goodness for awesome insureance!!! Yes, it is lots of doctors appts and lots of shots, but so so so worth it. To me, the whole thing wasn't really that bad. I work from Home and have a 9 y.o stepson that I'm raising, but for the most part, I was able to focus all of my attention and energy on conceiving. We were successful on the first round and I am now a little over 17 weeks PG.

I went to the Advanced Fertility Clinic of Chicago. Their main office is in Gurnee, with a satellite office in Crystal Lake. They have very high success rates (so high, that if my DH gets transferred out of state, I will come back to Chicago to conceive my next baby). You can visit their website to compare their rates to the national averages (advancedfertility.com). IVF is an excellent option if you want to control the chance of multiples. My doc actually only wanted to transfer only one of our embryos into me (the docs also don't want multiples). However, I demanded that 2 be transferred (they won't do more than 2). I ended up with a singleton.

I am very small statured (4'11", 110 lbs), so I had concerns about artificial insemination...I didn't want to end up with 5 or 6 babies. That's one of the main reasons we decided to go with IVF.

Good Luck!!!

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M.K.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine. My experience was not with a secondary pregnancy, but I too had absolutely no medical reason for fertility issues (nor did my husband). However, I wanted to comment about your fear of a multiples pregnancy.

If you decide to move forward with IUI (the Chlomid, the HcG injections, and Intrauterine Insemination), please choose a conservative Reproductive Endocrinologist. The RE decides upon how large a dose of Chlomid you receive. (And Chlomid is the drug that stimulates the follicles.) The larger the dose, the more eggs produced -- and the greater likelihood for multiple births.

Some of the larger Fertility Clinics that brag about their "success rates" are said to pump women up with more than the necessary amount of Chlomid to maintain/increase those advertised success rates (resulting in multiples, etc.) A conservative, reputable RE will never do that -- s/he will decide the dose based upon the hormone levels of the patient.

Because my pregnancies were already considered high risk (due to other medical factors), my RE knew how devastating a multiple pregnancy would be for my body. If you have questions about the IUI process, I am happy to talk about my experience. Just send me a message.

May you be blessed with peace and happiness, no matter which decision you make!!!

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

I have been in a similar situation. It took us 1 1/2 years for our daughter. After 8 months of trying again, I went to the doctor. After testing my hubby, I was put on Clomid. Clomid is a very easy and inexpensive route to begin with. My insurance does not cover it and it was only $25-$50. I would try it first before you got the injections and what not. The directions are easy. Take it for 5 days (5-9 or 3-7) and then do the deed of every day or every other for days 10-18. We got preggo on our first try. I did have what was called a vanishing twin. I had 2 sacs but only one developed. The other disinegrated at about 7 weeks. Now we have been trying for a third, and have already done 7 rounds of clomid at a higher dose and nothing yet. It is working, but no good news yet. We have already decided that if it doesn't happen in the next 2 rounds, we will simply be done. We are not willing to go through the steps to go further. We have 2 beautiful children and we are thrilled with that. If i still only had one, I might feel differently. I would get a second opinion. It stinks when you know you can do it, but it doesn't happen. Good luck to you. Take care!

Jenni

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V.G.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine. Sorry to hear about all you're going through. I have been there too.

We got pregnant on Clomid the first cycle, only to lose the baby 6 weeks later. It took over a year to conceive the next - and that was with a second round of the HCG (single shot once a month). That baby just turned 2 in June.

I also did acupunture after I read in the newspaper that some fertility clinics use that method to increase the chances of successful IVF - based off a German study that found that women who got it 30 minutes before IVF and 30 minutes afterward had higher likelihoods of success.

Hope this helps!
V.

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J.W.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine,

Secondary infertility is often common with women who have had previous c-sections and preemies! If everything is good and all systems are working, why mess with going the drug route? Try alternative routes, there are classes called Infertility Yoga, which includes a lot of hip openers. Acupuncture is also very successful without drugs/IVF. Pulling Down the Moon, www.pullingdownthemoon.com is a great place to go and they have a few locations including in the River North area.

And yes, nutrition is key to making sure all systems are working properly. Getting rid of caffiene, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup to name a few. Are you taking the proper vitamins. We need more than just a prenatal b/c our diet is of poor quality (not saying you don't eat good, but the nutrients, poor soil etc). Are you taking a good, high quality fish oil to help reduce internal inflammation? Probiotics to keep your immune system in check? Here is a good article for you to read: http://www.bodyecology.com/07/01/11/woman_needs_to_know_h...

I have a Naturopathic Medical Doctor that I see. When I saw her in Jan 2006, she said my body was not ready to conceive, I was suffering from migraines, digestive bloating, etc and I wanted to get my body ready. I followed her nutritonal advice, I found out I was gluten and soy intolerant. I saw her again in the beginning of Oct. 2006, she gave me the green light and I got pregnant 3wks later. It is amazing how our foods and poor nutrition can really have an effect on our bodies and our ability to conceive. One out of four women are gluten intolerant yet don't know it and causes many issues, infertility (women with Celiac Disease can attest to this, though you don't have to have Celiac to be infertile, but often goes undiagnosed in treating infertility), it also causes fatigue, lethargy, digestive issues such as IBS, Chron's, heavy periods, etc. There is some truth to the acidic/alkaline foods, nutrition is always changing, that thought process has been around for many years, just becoming more recognized. Just like acupuncture and herbs has been around for over 2000yrs, medicines about 200yrs and yet there are just seeing the benefit of Eastern Medicine...

Your body has changed, you are 4 years older from when you first got pregnant, more stress, perhaps less sleep has taken a toll, much different lifestyle than your pre-mom years (but yes, so worth it!).

I do women's health work and counseling, focusing on preconception counseling, prenatal counseling. I will not "sell" you anything or my services, but will ultimately let you do your homework. If you would like more info to research, let me know and I'd be happy to forward you more.

Healthy Regards,
J., MPH, ACE-CPT
Lifestyle and Wellness Consultant

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K.Z.

answers from Chicago on

My first child was a "surprise". However, we also had to receive help for our second two. (Tried for 2 years, then tried for six.) We have to go through the same process that you mentioned. It really isn't as time consuming, costly, or invasive as you think. It usually worls pretty quick and the chance, although there is one- is not high at all. Discuss it further with your doctor if you have more questions. If you are not all ready visiting him, I use Dr. Binor at Ruch Copley. He is truly fabulous! good luck to you, and God Bless!

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

Sounds incredibly familiar! We avoided the traditional route and went for alternative treatments as we had similiar fears about multiples, etc... . We went with a chinese herbalist and accupuncture. Before the accupuncture we tried for a year with no success. After herbs AND accupunture we conceived w/in 2 months. I think it's important to do both herbs and accupuncture and it should be with a traditiona chinese medicine doctor. We ive in Napervile so if you need a referral et me know. My 2nd is 18m. and we are unexpectedly expecting our third. GOod luck!

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A.M.

answers from Chicago on

new research was reported within the last month that showed that clomid and intrauterine inseminations for couples with unexplained infertility do not work. Of course fertility doctors love to bill for them. As you are only 34, I would relax (much easier said than done) and if you haven't read that book on learning all you need to know about your fertility (I can't remember its name but email me if you don't find it by just searching). I would map chart your temperature and mucous etc to make sure you know what your cycle looks like. Sometimes even when you have a 28 day cycle you may ovulate early or late. The ovulation predictor kits can also be useful. Otherwise, I would just see what happens naturally. If in another year or two you want to go the treatment route, then I would check out CDC's website on the results of the centers in Chicago - currently Northwestern has the best results but that could change. good luck

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M.O.

answers from Chicago on

I know an earlier post mentioned charting. I can't offer any infertility advice but I do want to mention a book that teaches you a lot about your fertility and involves charting. It's Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. And there's a website: http://www.tcoyf.com. It teaches you about timing intercourse correctly and if you chart you will know if/when you are ovulating and when you are fertile. This way you could try something non-invasive before starting all the meds/procedures, if they are necessary. Good luck.

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T.B.

answers from Chicago on

Has the doctor ruled out possible non-reproductive organ causes such as the thyroid or other hormone imbalance problems that can creap up over time? So many women end up having infertility and it is just simply an underactive thyroid which can be easily and cheaply treated. Seems like if you already were successful in getting pregnant once, that the expense infertility treatments are not necessary. Good luck!

PS I am a lucky mom of 4 adopted children who was never able to get pregnant (even with expensive infertility procedures) but ended up finding out I had lots of other medical conditions all of which had the side effect of infertility - - one being a thyroid problem.

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R.M.

answers from Chicago on

Reproductive Endocrinologists tend to be aggressive. If you are not comfortable with clomid, injections, and IUI combined, you could always ask for a less aggressive approach. For example, you could ask to do clomid alone without injections and IUI, which means that you would take the clomid alone, wait to ovulate on your own and have sex on your own without IUI. You should only do what you're comfortable with. Clomid alone could work, injections and IUI are just a more aggressive approach. I am on clomid right now, without injections and IUI, and I am using acupuncture. Good Luck.

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G.D.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine,

I did not have a preemie or secondary infertility, but I have definitely been down the infertility route with both of my girls. With my first daughter I had gone through two rounds of clomid and a lot of testing before I ended up having IVF. It was pretty rough with the daily injections and blood tests, not to mention that I had a severe reaction (although extremely rare) to the medications. I conceived after the first round and had a healthy, full-term baby girl (now four). Three years later we used some of our embryos to conceieve our second daughter who turned one today. I know that fertility treatments can seem scary, but they are completely worth it. I will say that they can get awfully expensive and most clinics will not refund your money if the cycle is unsuccessful. Our insurance doesn't cover any fertility treament excpet the blood tests and anything that happens after the pregnancy is confirmed (follow-up ultrasounds, blood tests). I would do it all over again to get my little angels. We are actually planning on doing it again next year. It is something that you really need your husband's support for as it can be emotionally trying. My husband had a hard time with it the first time, but was fine the second time and is actually looking forward to the third. I can't imagine how scary it was for you to watch your little preemie in the hospital. Have faith, though, that you will have a full-term infant the second time. My advice would be to talk to your husband and make sure that you are both on the same page and that you have his complete support (he may be the one that has to administer some of your injections at home). It also helps to know someone who has already been through fertility treatments, it makes it less scary. I read at least 7 books about fertility treaments while I was going through it and that helped to ease my worries as well. Best of luck to you in your decision. Write me back if you need any further advice or have any other questions as I would be happy to help.

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

Christine - Not sure if I have any advice, but I'll share my story. We tried almost a year to concieve our second child before it happened, and that was with trying at the exact right time each month. The thing I found most helpful was knowing my cycle, by using Toni Weschler's book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. There's an online forum related to the book I think. I used that book for 6 years for birth control before using it for conception. So, I knew when to try conceiving and I also knew I might have a problem because of short luteal phase. I used vitamin B6 and accupuncture to lengthen my luteal phase (but accupuncture just a few months...too expensive) and it worked. Ultimately, I think I needed a combination of a longer luteal phase and a good egg, which coincided eventually. I had already decided against conventional medical treatments for infertility, so I was preparing myself emotionally to have only one child. I know it's difficult to remain hopeful, but since you concieved naturally in the past and it sounds like fertility-wise everything is normal, I think your chances are pretty good. Best wishes!

N.C.

answers from Rockford on

Hi Christine. I'm sorry that you have to go through this...it is a truly heartbreaking thing, but be grateful that you are so blessed w/ your one little guy! So, here is my story. My husband and I started trying very early to start our family (we were 22) and after a year of no luck, we went to the dr. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and a little bit of endometriosis (sp), so we did the multiple appointments, the chlomid, shots of Hcg, ultrasounds and we went through 5 IUI's (all unsuccessful). The thing was, the doctor would tell me everytime we went in to the dr that there was no reason I shouldn't be pregnant yet. After about 4 yrs of this, my emotions could not take it anymore. It hurt to go to the store and see other mommies w/ babies and I couldn't even watch a movie about having a baby. Dr. said if we wanted to continue, then we should consider IVF. We decided that it was time for a break. Emotionally, I just couldn't take the heartbreak anymore. So, we focused our energies on adoption. We wrote and sent out over 30 letters to agencies and lawyers, getting information. We attended a meeting about foster to adopt. We wanted to be parents. We were NOT thinking of having our own babies anymore. And I got pregnant!!! ON MY OWN!!! Needless to say, we were euphoric!!! While I was high risk, my pregnancy was uneventful and my daughter was born 3 days after Christmas and was perfect!!! (she's almost 10 now!) And while she was 6 months old, we got pregnant again (not really trying, but not NOT trying either!) So, we now have 2 wonderful kids, a boy and a girl who are 8 and 9 and keep us SO busy!!! It can happen...keep your spirits up and do what you can handle. People want to offer advice like don't think about it so much or don't try so hard...but to me that was like saying to stop breathing...you can't. Maybe get a second opinion and give yourself a timeline. Best of luck to you!!! I hope everything works out.

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H.E.

answers from Chicago on

Hi
I also have secondary infertility. Never thought it would happen to me, but here I am!! I have had two healthy pregnancies, no complitcations and resulting in two children. One is with my ex husband, and one with my remarried husband who really wants a second child of his own. His first is my second. All my blood work came back "perfect" and the only explanation I was given was low progesterone. If that was not suggested to you I would recommend looking into it. It could be a simple regimen without all that other b/s. I am terrified of doing any IVF or having to see a specialist. Were your progesterone levels checked? I only found out I had this problem after 2 miscarrys. So we have been sorting out how and when I ovulate, which is a whole new thing for me since I always got pregnant easily. Check it out before going through that whole process. I have a recent post you might want to look at responses, I just posted it about a week ago. There were alot of great recs on some doctors that might be a little more conservative in that area!! Someone recommended Dr Dmowski in Oakbrook as not being aggressive with fertility treatments, but read that post! Good Luck, keep me posted :)

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S.O.

answers from Champaign on

Christine,

Secondary infertility is so frustrating! Especially when getting #1 was easy. Our secondary infertility came in the form of multiple miscarriages. We could not understand why we had been able to keep a pregnancy before and later could not.

Once we figured out a small mutation and medication for that (it took almost 2 years) we had another healthy girl. We figured getting #3 would be easy (we had gotten pregnant five times quickly), but it wasn't. I called it "tertiary infertility".

First: Let me echo "Taking Charge of Your Fertility". It helps you chart your cycles, know when you are ovulating and gives other infertility stories to explain it all. (you didn't mention if you have a regular cycle). This will take a few months.

Second: Before you try Chlomid, ask your doctor about Letrozole (also used with sono and HCG). My RE explained that Letrozole is a "step down" from Chlomid. Lower chance of multiples (5%) and a more logical first step for previously fertile people like us.

That being said, the second month on Letrozole (no shot-sono & bloodwork said I had already ovulated) I got pregnant, with twins (we are thrilled).

Both of my children were full term, so I do not have premie experiences.

Best of luck in what you decide.

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L.V.

answers from Chicago on

I know you have already gotten a ton of great advice but I thought I'd put my two cents in. I went through the infertility thing for about a year (not secondary though) and towards the end I decided to give it every chance I could to work. I starting seeing an accupuncturist who put me on a gluten-free, dairy free, citrus free diet, only organic low fat meats and she also suggested that I stop any workouts that were too strenous (recommending walking, swimming, yoga). After about 1 month of dedication I got pregnant with my twins. Now I was also doing the Clomid and shots and we got pregnant through insemination, but it wasn't until I shook things up that it happened. There are a lot of books at your local library about diet and other changes that can help. Good Luck!!!

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K.M.

answers from Chicago on

Have you looked into nutritional therapy? Check out www.westonaprice.org for info on preconception nutrition and the importance of traditional foods and wisdom for health and fertility. The whole website is great but here's an especially pertinent article- it's called "Ancient Dietary Wisdom for Tomorrow's Children"

http://www.westonaprice.org/traditional_diets/ancient_die...

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N.R.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with the post about going to a conservative practice, there are ones out there that do try to pump up their numbers. I would recommend the practice at Northwestern for a second opinion. Dr. Barnes is great.
All of that being said, I have unexplained infertility as well and got pregnant with their help. I am currently trying for number two with no success and often wonder when is enough enough? We have a three year old daughter and are a great little family, but I still yearn for another, as does my husband. I think today there are more and more families with three and four kids and maybe that puts preassure on us? If you go through any infertility treatments you need to have your husband fully on board as it can be pretty stressful.
Good Luck in whatever you choose.

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L.B.

answers from Chicago on

maybe you could also try the old school way and take geritol. after i got married in sept. 2006 at age 38, i got pregnant on our honeymoon the next month. i started taking the liquid geritol a month before the wedding. my daughter is 1 yr. and we have just decided to have another baby. i'm going to buy my geritol today. give it a shot cause buying geritol liquid, or vitamins are inexpensive ways, and if it doesn't work for you, you aren't out of lots of money. geritol makes you very fertile. i have a had lots of friends who have had some success with gertol. hey, if you don't have anything, than you don't have anything to lose.

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M.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Christine,
I struggled with secondary (unexplained) infertility also. Please know that you are not alone in your frustration. I kept thinking if only they could find the problem, we could fix it and get pregnant. I went through the shots twice a day and three rounds of artificial insemination. I was undergoing infertility treatments on and off for 6 years. While it didn't work for me...it may work in your case. Everyone is different. My husband felt similar to your husband. While he wouldn't have planned to have only one child, he is happy with our family...and I have just recently accepted that we are a family and having only one child does not mean we are any less of a family than anyone else. I know it sounds weird, but I did (and sometimes still do!) carry around alot of guilt for not being able to provide a sibling for my daughter who is now 11 years old. When I reached my 40th birthday I psychologically accepted that it just wasn't going to happen. I do feel content that we did everything we could to have another successful pregnancy. Obviously, only you can decide whether to continue or not...I wish you the best ~ and thank you for sharing your story!

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S.

answers from Chicago on

We had the same problem, we didn't take quite a year, but just short of. My doctor suggested clomid, but I decided against it. Before you try anything read "taking charge of your fertility" by Toni Weschler. It really helps explain many issues or problems and offers great solutions. Our problem was timing. Most people think their cycle is 28 days long and they ovulate in the middle. Mine was 32-34 days long and I ovulated around day 20 or 21. It's pretty in depth on that stuff. Also, the ovulation kits that doctors suggest aren't really accurate. Once the kit says you're ovulating, it's probably too late, you need to have sex before then.
Read the book and try for a while before being to invasive. At least then, you'll know you tried everything you could, then maybe look into some of your doctor's suggestions.
I know it's frustrating, try not to stress too much because that impedes getting pregnant too!
Good luck!

L.C.

answers from Chicago on

Christine - How long have you been trying the second time around? Fertility starts to decline pretty drastically as you head to 35. However, if your tests are normal, that's a good sign, but no guarantee. REs have a limited ability to determine fertility - tests are only indicators. All of my tests were fine, too, and it wasn't until I actually tried IUI and then went to IVF that we discovered that I had very few eggs and the ones that were left were likely very low quality. That's why the majority of infertility is described as unknown. Although we've come a long way, sometimes people just can't get pg and the docs can't explain it. I have been undergoing infertility treatments for 1.5 years, am now 44, and have seen many women your age find out that their fertility is just done. It was very surprising to me.

That's the bad news. The good news is that at 34, you can try IUIs, which are very simple, painless(no worse than a pap smear - I found them even less uncomfortable than a pap) and you will increase your chances of getting pg pretty dramatically. Don't worry about the meds - I know almost no one who used the meds and had problems - and I know hundreds of women who've gone through this from the last two years of being on multiple support groups. Any of the TOP QUALITY REs in the Chicago area would know the pros and cons of all the meds and would adjust your meds accordingly. I would at least try IUIs, they're no big deal and probably would work for you. Also, if you try IUIs and the doc gives you follicle stimulating meds - he can see how your body reacts - if you produce a few eggs great - if you don't he'll know you likely are starting to have decreased fertility. But at least it will be a way to find information out about what's going on with you.

If those don't work, the next step would be IVF and that is a big step - a lot more meds, shots and then egg retrieval. The good thing about IVF, if you're determined to have another child, is that the doctor can see how many eggs you produce and get to the eggs to see how they look. If they look healthy - great - if they look abnormal, again, that's a sign of waning fertility.

I would at least go for the IUI - really, they're no big deal. Also, what RE are you going to? I know all the best in the Chicago region. Before you select a doc to do fertility treatment with, you should check out www.sart.org, click on select a clinic and look at the stats for all the clinics in the Chicago area. These are for IVF and the stats are from 2006 (the latest year they're available), but they're a good indicator of how experienced clinics are and how successful. Some clinics have a much higher success rate than others and do many more procedures than other. You want to select a clinic that a) does a high number and b) has a high success rate. I'm with Fertility Centers of Illinois which does probably the highest number of fertility treatments in Illinois and has a very high success rate. This is how to look at it: if a clinic is doing a lot of IUIs/IVFs, they're more experienced and have a better chance of honing the process to get it right. If someone has a high success rate, but is only doing 20 a year, that doesn't say much.

Anyway, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. And do NOT listen to any responses that tell you just to keep trying on your own or just to try homeopathic remedies. There's a reason why the major fertility associations in the country recommend that anyone who has tried for a year and not gotten pg see a fertility specialist. Might it work on your own - it might - but as someone who has seen many, many women's fertility decline rapidly between early 30s and late 30s, you are at a critical juncture if you really want another child. The delay of one or two years could mean the difference between you having another child or not. I have seen many women on my support groups go from having normal fertility test numbers one year, to having pretty bad test results the next year. That being said, Toni Weschler's book is excellent and you should have a solid understanding of exactly how the body works and fertility works as you try to concieve. I also agree that you should be eating super healthy - cut out the drinking, too. I think acupuncture and all those nutritional things can only help - they can't hurt, but they should only be something at your age you do IN ADDITION to getting help from an RE. If you have declined fertility those things alone are not likely to work - you do need the help of a good RE and should follow his advice. I mean, if you have a low number of good eggs or low quality eggs, all the wheatgrass and acupuncture in the world won't change that - but a fertility treatment can help you get pg with the few remaining good eggs you have. You ARE very lucky to have a child.

L.
44.4, now doing donor egg after finding out my own eggs are bad - had two miscarriages even with donor egg. Sigh.

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