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Bittersweet Joy: Post-Infertility Parenting

Too Much Too Soon?

Infertile couples sometimes feel compelled to jump back on the treatment treadmill soon after their baby's arrival, before it's too late to conceive again. Within seven months of giving birth, Laura Bencivenga, then 41, was back on fertility drugs and preparing for another cycle of in vitro fertilization. She was almost relieved when her doctors told her that her ovaries were no longer responding. "I knew I didn't want to put my body and my family through this anymore," she says with resignation.

There are no easy answers to the question of when new parents should resume infertility treatment, but experts advise that they give themselves a hefty dose of compassion. "Realize that you may be emotionally exhausted from your first go-around with new parenthood," says Clapp. Parents should weigh the importance of rushing back into treatment against the need to savor their baby and recoup their inner strength. What can help: close friends and family, or even a secondary infertility support group through a local chapter of RESOLVE or an infertility clinic.