Infertility affects 1/8 couples, so chances are you either are having trouble getting pregnancy, had trouble in the past, or you know someone who currently is having difficulty. On this Infertility Awareness Week, here are some tips to be just a little more sensitive.
You should avoid saying these 12 things to your friend or colleague with infertility:
1. Just relax.
Yes, stress does play a role infertility and stress reduction techniques can help couples conceive, but infertility is a medical diagnosis and seeing a fertility doctor can discover real problems that require treatment.
2. Minimize the problem.
Regardless of how you view it, research shows that the inability to get pregnant is one of the great stressors in life, up there with losing a job and being diagnosed with cancer.
3. Worse things could happen.
Chances are your friend does not see it that way.
4. Maybe you were not meant to be parents.
Don't go there. Many couples with infertility see their condition as a divine punishment rather than what it is, a treatable medical disease. This will only reinforce their self doubt.
5. Why are you not doing IVF?
IVF is the most effective treatment out there for infertility, but it is not for everyone. It can be expensive, invasive, stressful and conflict with some people's religious values.
6. Just adopt.
Adoption is always a reasonable option, but most couples take time to get there, and still others do not want children if they cannot have their own genetic children.
7. You're young. There's still plenty of time.
Younger women usually have an easier time getting pregnant, so if things aren't working, it's time to figure out why. Yes, the chances for success are higher in younger women, but there are no guarantees.
Infertility is private. You wouldn't want someone talking about your medical problems to others.
9. Crude remarks.
Fertility problems deal with the most sensitive and personal parts of our lives. Don't assume your friend will find humor in it.
10. Complain about your own pregnancy.
No matter miserable your pregnancy may be, your friend sees pregnancy as the greatest blessing she ever could hope for. Seeing other pregnant women is one of the most difficult challenges for women facing infertility.
11. Minimize their concerns because they already have a child.
For many couples, a family is not complete with only one child, and it is just as common for couples to seek out help for child number two as for the first. Doctors refer to this as secondary infertility.
12. Ask whose fault it is.
Infertility is a couples thing. While oftentimes, it is one of the partners who has the problem, it takes two to have a baby. Sometimes even when it is a male issue, the female partner must go through most of the treatment. Assigning blame, is counterproductive and can cause considerable strain i a relationship. Don't add to it.
adapted from Resolve.org.