When facing the possibility of infertility, there are things said that may seem innocent to a friend or family member that can actually be devastating to the individual undergoing IVF or other reproductive assisting technologies. Sometimes even things said out of support can hold a sting when the stress of trying to have a baby has set in.
Studies have shown that stress and depression can negatively impact fertility, making it more important during this time to provide positive support for those undertaking fertility treatments. Below is a list of questions you should avoid asking if you know somebody in your life is struggling to get pregnant.
When Will You Have Kids?
When a couple gets married or begins planning a family, a common question to ask is, “Are you going to have children and if so, when are they planning to do so?” This simple question may be asked out of curiosity but can cause more worry and negativity than good. If you know that a friend or family member has concerns about infertility, asking when they will have children is in poor taste, even if you mean it out of love, and are trying to put a positive spin on the situation.
Instead, help your friends focus on other areas of their new married life, such as whether they will begin a tradition of vacationing in certain areas together, whether they are planning to remodel their house, etc.
Aren’t You Worried You’ll End Up with Multiples?
The thought of having multiple babies at once might be daunting for some, but the truth is, most men and women undergoing IVF are excited at the prospect of any healthy children that come their way. Asking if your friend is nervous about multiples not only instills a sense of concern and stress into the situation, but also suggests that if they did have more than one baby it would be negative. It’s important not to put a negative spin on the questions asked during this process. Leave the difficult decisions to the couple and their doctor.
Instead, say, “I’m so excited you’re undertaking this treatment, I hope only the best for you and your partner.”
Have You Tried the Natural Way Long Enough?
For some, it’s impossible to see why a couple would ever turn to IVF. True, it can take months or even years for healthy fertile couples to become pregnant, but chances are if you’ve tried to conceive for more than a year unsuccessfully, there could be an infertility issue at play. When you ask your friend if they’ve tried to reproduce naturally, it’s insulting to them. Most couples try for many years before turning to IVF, others may use IVF due to age or because of health issues that could restrict them from getting pregnant naturally.
Instead you can say, “I’ve heard great things about this treatment, and I’m here for you if you need anything.”
Have You Considered Adoption?
Creating and carrying your own baby is something many women dream of their whole lives. When a man and woman are unable to produce a child of their own, it can often feel like a failure and is taken as a real blow. Knowing your children may not look like you or your partner, knowing you won’t feel them kick during utero; these things may not matter to some, but chances are if your friend is undergoing IVF, they are very interested in achieving a natural pregnancy. Adoption is a beautiful thing, and a parent who adopts is no less of a parent than one who has their child biologically, but it isn’t for everyone.
Instead, let your friend focus on the method of reproduction he or she has chosen, and keep them positive about what the future might hold.
The most important thing to remember when friends or family members are undergoing IVF is that they are in a sensitive state and should be supported. Stay positive and help take their minds off the process, unless they bring it up and want to discuss it; then stick to safe subjects and listen more than you speak.