What Do We Think On “Secondary Infertility?”

It’s a real thing, for sure — but maybe not “as” real?

Ted Bauer
3 min readMar 21


“Secondary infertility” basically means that you had one (or more than one) kids the “natural way” and then you struggled on Kid 2, Kid 3, etc. So, instead of just being content with your one kid or two kids, you go for №3 with some type of fertility treatment, i.e. IVF or IUI. The idea of “secondary infertility” can also refer to, let’s say you have four kids, and they’re all girls. Your husband, Kevin, really wants a boy because his dad never had time for a catch as he sold doorknobs around North America, and Kevin wants to play catch with a boy. So, rather than adopt or foster or gamble that your fifth kid won’t be a girl finally, you do a fertility treatment to control for gender. That situation is less so referred to as “secondary infertility” but I’ve heard people refer to both examples above as that term.

I used to rock out at WeWork with a guy who had “secondary infertility” and they got through with IVF and got a second kid.

I guess the easiest way to look at this is:

  1. All infertility is infertility, and it’s a silent struggle that many endure. (1 in 8 couples have trouble conceiving naturally for reasons related to male, female, or both.)
  2. It feels “cheap” at one level to call it “infertility” when you got a natural-born child (or multiple), but again, to each their own on that.
  3. The more people that understand this whole thing, the better off we are as empathetic human beings.

Here’s a decent summary of some of this:

If you watch the “stinger” (end) of that video, the reporter (Nikki Batiste) even acknowledges that she felt bad about the story here because she had a natural-born, no-infertility kid when she was 38.

After Nikki speaks, you see some of her colleagues — including Gayle King — talk about how they said dumb stuff to people in the past, like “Have a kid! It’s so easy! Just…



Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.