Secondary Infertility

"Secondary Infertility" by Meg Herriot (

Via Pixabay (2017), CC0 Public Domain

Secondary Infertility.

It can sometimes be a hard issue to talk about …

One friend of mine asked me and another friend who was dealing with infertility how to talk to friends about it. What are the right things to say? It wasn’t a straightforward answer. I think it depends on what type of person they are and where they are at in the process of dealing with it. I would advise that overall it is rather private. I only share now as a means of bringing something positive out of a struggle.

The hardest thing about secondary infertility is that people don’t have the heads-up not to assume. When someone doesn’t have any children, it can be inferred that they either made that decision or it was made for them.

People who don’t have children are often asked questions about their reproduction. Overall, people are more sensitive, I think, to not inquiring. Once you have a child, it’s assumed that if you don’t have more, it must have been your choice, or you aren’t “ready for the next one yet,” etc. When people bring this up with me, I will open up and say, “well, we keep praying to God for more; please keep that intention in your prayers.” I have found that being open to the conversation has been a gift.  Now that I have prayed more and am in a more peaceful place,  this conversation can actually be a form of evangelization.

My husband and I are devout Catholics. Even if our faith and the Catechism “allowed” in vitro fertilization and other means, I don’t think that would be a path we would take. There’s just something about Life at the earliest moment, conception, and my understanding that IVF puts those embryos in a precarious moral dilemma.

Fortunately, both my husband and I are aware of treatments and more importantly diagnostics that do follow the teachings of the Church and our own moral code. The area of naprotechnology is an intriguing and new science which actually tries to “fix” the underlying reproductive problem rather than a “band-aid” solution of IVF.

There’s a lot more to it, but check out the following websites for more:

You can also find more by simply typing the term “Naprotechnology” into your browser’s search engine.

I don’t think I’m ready to get into the nitty-gritty of my journey, but God has called my husband and me to grow closer together, to have a sense of humor and discuss all sorts of things we wouldn’t have done otherwise. We have even discussed adoption and fostering and may consider that in the future, but for now we will focus on our blessings.

I am blessed that I have a doctor who is a wonderful friend and Catholic who follows her faith.
I am blessed to live in a country with the latest in healthcare and medicines and to have an income that makes it possible to have access to some of these treatments.
I am blessed with a husband who will navigate the fertility tests and treatment in line with Catholic social teaching and even give me shots.
I am blessed with prayers from countless people.
I am blessed with a wonderful child the Lord already gave us.

I made a “deal” with God a while back and I should really know better than to make deals with Him. The last time it did it brought me about 8 years of humbling experiences (I vowed to carefully consider EVER praying for humility again). So this “deal” was to ask God to give me difficulty/trials in the area of fertility if it meant the conversion of someone’s heart. It took me like a year into the struggle to admit to my husband that I had done this and that it could be a cause of our trials. I think we both are mature enough in our faith to know that God doesn’t “punish” or give us bad things, but appreciates the sacrifices and crosses we are willing to carry for others.

The following is a prayer I came up with:

I will keep asking and persevere in asking and knocking on the door like the widow, but I will try to humbly accept each “no” you give me with peace.  I will continue to try and to ask, but with your help I will vow to say no to bitterness and disappointment.  Your ways are not our ways, and if your “no” will bring me closer to you, I will try to embrace it.

Copyright 2017 Meg Herriot


About Author

Meg Herriot is a veterinarian and Third Order Dominican. She enjoys spending time with family, friends, and pets and blogging at All Creatures Great and Crazy about being a veterinarian, mother, wife and most of all a Catholic trying to grow closer to God in a chaotic world.


  1. Fellow OP here and sufferer of secondary and now tertiary infertility. In some ways it’s easier than that initial infertility, because, yes, we have children. In other ways, though, it’s harder; for instance, I didn’t have to go to playgroups with lots of pregnant mommies when I didn’t have a child to begin with. I also didn’t have to deal with people asking me, “Wow, aren’t you glad you don’t have any more? Wouldn’t you hate to be pregnant again?” I’ll keep you in prayer. Remember St. Dominic’s mom. Bl. Joan of Aza: she already had older children and hadn’t been pregnant again for years, but she asked God for one more child, and that child was St. Dominic!

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