What Not To Say To Women Struggling With Infertility

Let’s start by stating the obvious that infertility is one of the most sensitive topics. There are a number of reasons as to why women struggle to fall pregnant or conceive. Many of us know that infertility can be a very stressful process. Most of us have our own personal opinions and comments surrounding infertility. We know that people mean well when giving their opinions but simple comments that may be unintentional can be hurtful to those struggling to conceive.

Things not to say to someone that is struggling with infertility:

“Why are you not pregnant yet ?” – This is the ultimate “no-no” question. It is insensitive and one does not personally know the reasons, and it can often trigger a number of emotions.

“Just relax, it will happen when it is meant to be” – This can be the most frustrating thing anyone wants to hear. We do not know what is preventing the couple from having a successful pregnancy.

“Maybe your partner is shooting blanks” – This can be very offensive as you do not know what measures they have taken to work at getting pregnant.

“But you young, you have your whole life ahead of you” – Women can struggle at a young age as they develop various ovarian disorders such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

“It’s all in God’s hands / time” – This is another sensitive and personal topic as everyone has their own beliefs and values.
Announcing a close relative/ friend’s pregnancy – We all want to share the joys and happiness of bringing a new life into the world. However, when sharing the news try and be mindful and sensitive when doing so.

“Why don’t you adopt” – Most women want to bear children of their own and fear telling their adopted child that they are not their biological parents. Adoption can be a lengthy process and it does not take away the griefing pain of not being able to have your own child/ren.

“Try IVF treatment” – IVF is a very expensive process and is seen as the “cure” for infertility. This is often the last resort that most women want to do as it can have an emotional, financial and physical impact on you.
Do not make inappropriate jokes – Avoid making crude jokes regarding infertility as one is often in a very vulnerable space.

“Whose fault is it” – Failure to have a successful pregnancy can be very painful for couples. Not many people want to express their journey of not being able to conceive. Try and be respectful towards the couples journey and avoid asking for any in-depth details that would make them feel uneasy.

We all know by now that infertility is a difficult and emotional process. You can extend your support to the couple and let them know you are always there for them. There is no perfect response to making someone feel better or opening up about their experience/ journey regarding infertility.

Try the following:

  • Ask what they would find most helpful (therapeutic measures)
  • Be a good listener and a friend
  • Avoid any pregnancy related topics
  • Be supportive, encouraging and compassionate
  • Respect the couples journey of trying to conceive
  • Keep your responses simple and honest

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