• Home
  • Secondary infertility: when expanding your family isn’t easy

Secondary infertility: when expanding your family isn’t easy

Many people think infertility is the inability to become pregnant with a first child. For some couples however, the struggle comes later with difficulty having a child following a previous pregnancy – known as secondary infertility.1 Secondary infertility is the most common form of female infertility worldwide, although causes vary globally.2 Canadians experience secondary infertility for similar reasons as primary infertility, but with the added challenge of advancing age.2   

A diagnosis of secondary infertility can be stressful, isolating, and is often a surprise for parents who might have had little difficulty falling pregnant the first time. Regardless, the need for an accurate diagnosis and timely treatment is as important as in primary infertility. 

If you think you might be experiencing secondary infertility, talk to your medical provider. Guidelines recommend a comprehensive fertility workup for women under 35 who have had unprotected vaginal intercourse for 12 months and not become pregnant, or after six months for women 35 and older.3 If you have concerns about risk factors for infertility or don’t ovulate regularly, have a discussion with your provider sooner. Meanwhile, consider engaging a team of practitioners – including allied health professionals – for support and guidance as part of your preconception plan. For example, a fertility-focused naturopathic doctor or registered dietician can provide valuable adjunctive fertility care through evidence-based diet and lifestyle recommendations (for both partners involved). Similarly, a therapist experienced in fertility care can play a key role; recent studies underscore the importance of psychological support for fertility patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.4

Telemedicine has made appointments with healthcare professionals accessible for parents with young children at home. Now, more than ever, it is important to reach out for connection, support and guidance on your journey. 



  1. Zegers-Hochschild F. et al. The international glossary on infertility and fertility care. Fertil Steril 2017;108(3):393-406.
  2. Vander Borght M, Wyns, C. Fertility and infertility: definition and epidemiology. Clin Biochem 2018;62(2):2-10. 
  3. Lindsay TJ, Vitrikas KR. Evaluation and treatment of infertility. Am Fam Physician 2015;91(5):308-314.
  4. Haham LM. et al. Suspension of fertility treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic: views, emotional reactions and psychological distress among women undergoing fertility treatment. Reprod Biomed Online 2021;00(0):1-10.

Dr. Sarah Tremain-Douglas is a Naturopathic Doctor at Compass Rose Wellness. Dr. Sarah's practice is inspired by her own health challenges and experiences with healthcare. She focuses on women’s health, fertility, and pediatric care and is honored to support patients during preconception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods.


Questions? Comments? Contact us today!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

News Letter