Losing a baby after fertility problems, or having trouble getting pregnant again after a loss, can feel impossible to deal with.
Pregnancy loss and infertility can each be devastating on their own. But when you are going through both, that double blow can be desperately hard to bear.
Pregnancy loss after fertility problems
You may have conceived after many years of trying and/or fertility treatment, and then miscarried or had an ectopic or molar pregnancy. You may feel that this is even worse than not conceiving, as the joy of becoming pregnant was followed by the distress of loss.
People around you may encourage you to be positive that you were able to become pregnant, but that may be little comfort if you think you might not have that chance again.
I just kept thinking ‘why me?’. Miscarriage is awful for anyone but it was so much worse for us because we’d waited so long to get pregnant in the first place and I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to conceive again.
Fertility problems after pregnancy loss
You might be facing fertility problems after ectopic pregnancy. You may have had one or both tubes removed, or been told that the chances of conceiving naturally are low. You may have been trying to conceive after a previous loss or losses, but a year or more has gone by with no luck.
It had been so easy the first time round that I never expected to find I couldn’t get pregnant again.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a clear impact on fertility services with tests and treatments being cancelled or put on hold across the UK in the first few months. This situation eased as fertility clincs were advised that they could re-open as long as they had a clear strategy for opening safely, approved by the HFEA.
The latest lockdown in England, and restrictions in the other UK nations should not change the situation significantly. Even so, there might still be delays in treatment – or it might be that you choose to, or have to wait until restrictions ease again. However you can find clear and up to date guidance from the HFEA and support and information from two additional sources:
- this very helpful video, produced by Fertility Network UK and
- this video with the Chair of the British Fertility Counselling Association.
Together, these resources might help a little at this tough time.
Sharing your experience and getting support
If you are facing this double burden of pregnancy loss and fertility problems, it’s important to know that you are not alone and that you can find support from others who understand.
You may find it helpful to read our leaflet about pregnancy loss and infertility. It contains information about the causes of pregnancy loss and the experience of infertility, as well as comments from women who have been through this experience.
You can read Jessica’s story, as well as those of other women and partners who have been affected by loss after assisted conception. Helen wrote a poem after losing her baby, conceived naturally after four failed IVF attempts. The blog Faith, Fertility and Me contains a powerful and moving spoken word poem, ‘Little Lentil’, which you can also find on YouTube. And Nilufa shares her pain of infertility and recurrent miscarriage.
Chris shares his experience of IVF and miscarriage in Episode 9 of his podcast, noting
There’s not much written on this subject from a male perspective and it can be a difficult burden for the partner when you don’t have the physical pain. I talk about how to let yourself grieve and giving yourself time to accept.
You might also want to visit our forum, which has a dedicated board on pregnancy loss and infertility. It offers a a safe space where you can share your thoughts and feelings with others who have been through the double burden of pregnancy loss and fertility problems.
You’ll find more details here of where you can find support from our helpline team and from others who will understand.
You don’t have to go through this alone.