Infertility Less Likely In Women With Children – Wait, What?

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shutterstock_148734074__1376830509_142.196.156.251There are probably many people struggling with secondary infertility who will find this hard to believe, but recent data suggests once you have a child, it is easier for you to have another one – even if you are older.

Anyone who has struggled with infertility has probably heard from well-meaning friends, Just relax and it will happen! This is usually accompanied by stories of friends of friends who had been trying for years and finally decided to give up and – poof! Pregnant. Or stories of friends who were infertile for forever and went on to have three children in their late thirties and beyond. It turns out these anecdotes now have data to back them up.

The New York Times reported on data obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week:

According to the report’s numbers, impaired fecundity (having difficultly getting pregnant and/or carrying a baby to term) remains closely associated with age only for women without children. Around 11 percent of married women between 25 and 29 had impaired fecundity, versus 47.1 percent of those age 40 to 44. However, the discrepancy was reversed among women with one or more children. Almost 10 percent of the younger group in this population had impaired fecundity while the number dropped to 7.4 percent among the older women.

Similarly, the report showed that 8.7 percent of married or cohabitating women age 25 to 29 with no children were infertile, compared with 29.6 percent of women age 40 to 44. For similar women with children, 3.9 percent of 25- to 29-year olds were infertile and the number dropped, to 3.2 percent in the 40 to 44 population.

Could there be some credence to the whole, Don’t try and it will happen theory everyone likes to espouse? My own personal anecdote seems to align with this data, too.

After our first miscarriage, we tried for four years to become pregnant again. Well, I shouldn’t say four years – there were two more pregnancies that ended in miscarriage during that time – but it took four years for a pregnancy to stick. Charting, ovulation predictors, pregnancy tests – I was consumed with the idea that I would never be able to carry a child.

Then finally, we did get pregnant. I just figured it would never happen again because of all of the problems we had the first time around. Fast forward less than two years and I was staring at another positive pregnancy test. One month of not being careful about birth control and – voila! Pregnant.

Whether your body just “knows how to be pregnant” so it does it with ease the second time around or some of the pressure is off because you’ve already had a child the data does not break down. But maybe this will give women dealing with secondary infertility some comfort. Relax. The odds are with you.

(photo: MJTH/ Shutterstock)