Coping with a Secondary Infertility Diagnosis

Published August 18, 2019

When you first began your parenthood journey, you didn’t put a figure on the number of children you wanted. Indeed, you may have said, “As many as possible!”

Unfortunately, sometimes nature puts a stop to this optimistic endeavor.

Despite your ease in conceiving your first child, your fertility doctor has told you naturally conceiving a second child is virtually impossible.

What cruel twist of fate is this?

Coping with secondary infertility is immensely difficult. However, by taking time to understand the benefits of egg donation, you can find the glimmer of hope you’ve been searching for.

Why Do So Many Women Face Secondary Infertility?

First, it’s important to understand you’re not alone in your secondary infertility diagnosis. In fact, 3 million women in the U.S. are struggling to conceive or carry their second baby to full-term.

Why is the number so high?

As a woman ages, the quality and number of her eggs rapidly decline. By the age of 35, the chances of getting pregnant naturally each month are increasingly low, and by 40, there’s only a 5% chance.

That’s why donor egg IVF is often recommended. Since the eggs are often the cause of infertility (not your ability to carry and give birth to a baby), using a donor immediately eradicates those complications. Additionally, it reduces the risk of complications to the baby, e.g. Down syndrome. And, unlike surrogacy or adoption, it gives you the chance to bring your second child into the world.

How Do I Find an Egg Donor?

Thankfully, there are respectable donor egg banks with diverse pools of egg donors waiting to give you this gift of life. These donors have been through a rigorous screening process, which includes numerous tests to ensure they’re the best possible candidates for donation. Plus, you’re able to learn about their personal traits, achievements, and characteristics before making your decision.

Alternatively, you may choose to look closer to home. Finding a donor you know may give you more comfort, while using a family member will give you a genetic link to your child.

Whichever route you choose, it’s important to think carefully about this decision. For example, using a donor you know may seem like a great idea, but is there a chance it could cause friction further down the line?

What Will the Donor Egg Process Involve?

After choosing your donor, it’s time to prepare your uterus for implantation. This involves taking a course of hormones to help develop your endometrial lining.

How long this process takes depends on whether you’re using fresh or frozen donor eggs. If it’s the former, it’ll take longer because both your cycle and your donor’s cycle need synchronizing before implantation can take place. It’s worth noting this can increase the time and money involved in your donor egg cycle.

Once your uterus is ready, the donor eggs are fertilized with your partner’s (or a donor’s) sperm. For three to seven days, these embryos are incubated before one or two are implanted into your uterus.

After implantation, you’ll wait two weeks before undergoing a blood pregnancy test to confirm the happy news!

How Will I Cope with Using Donor Eggs?

Any fertility treatment, traditional or not, takes its toll on you physically and mentally. No one envisions facing such a tough path toward something that should be (and has been) so natural prior to their diagnosis.

You’re likely to feel a whole host of different emotions, from turmoil and despair to elation and excitement. None of these thoughts or fears are wrong. Rather, it’s important to acknowledge and deal with each emotion as it arises. That’s why you may benefit from infertility specialist counselling sessions where you can be honest about how you’re feeling.

Then, after your joyous pregnancy test at two weeks, you can start to move forward again in your parenthood journey. You can enjoy a natural pregnancy, just like the one before. You can begin to nurture your second child, build bonds between your first and second born, and create the family you’ve always been dreaming of.

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