Infertility is extremely common, affecting 12.1% of women aged 15 to 44.1 It can be caused by several factors including genetics, age, and life choices such as smoking cigarettes or imbibing alcohol. One way couples deal with infertility is through IVF, or in vitro fertilization. This process takes healthy eggs from a woman and sperm from a man and joins them outside of the body; when the egg becomes fertilized, a doctor implants the viable embryo into a womb.
While in vitro fertilization has become a widely accepted form of reproductive assistance, legalized in every country around the world as a human right, there are still those who frown on it or think less of those who use it.
Fighting the Stigma
It’s impossible to change the minds of everybody who disagrees with your choice of fertility treatment, but it is possible to change the way that you feel about it. The first step in dealing with rude comments or judgement from peers is by accepting yourself and your choice to get help.
Reaching out during struggles to become pregnant is a normal reaction, and one that should be supported by those around you. Stand up for yourself and your choice as something that should be treated with respect.
Ignore the Rudeness
One method of handling rude comments regarding your IVF or infertility is to ignore them. Not acknowledging a bully can be just as effective as battling them head on. Sometimes ignoring these comments works better than arguing their validity. You know that what you are doing is the right path for you, don’t let somebody belittle it or make you question your judgements.
Changing the subject if infertility or IVF comes up is a good way to avoid rudeness. If this tactic doesn’t work, retain your right to walk away.
Speak Your Mind
Sometimes individuals and couples undergoing IVF will encounter negative feedback from those closest to them. Those who have never dealt with infertility may not understand what you’re feeling or the reason you chose IVF as a reproductive assistant. You don’t have to try and make them understand your reasoning, but you should help them understand that their words and actions are upsetting to you. Don’t be afraid to be honest with friends and family and let them know that what they say affects you in a negative way.
Separate Yourself from Negativity
If, after explaining your feelings to those around you, negative words are still being directed your way, it might be time to consider separating yourself from the root of the problem. Undergoing IVF and other fertility treatments is stressful and highly emotional. It helps to reduce outside stressors, such as negative comments from people in your life. Even if only for the time being, staying away from those who might make you feel bad or sad about yourself could be beneficial to your mental state.
It’s important to know that you’re never alone in your IVF journey. Even if you’re a single parent hoping to conceive without a partner, there are medical professionals on your side. Speak to your doctor about a referral to a psychologist or therapist. If you’re uncomfortable with sharing your feelings with a medical professional, there are also a variety of outside resources to help you.
Online and in-person help groups are great ways to meet like-minded men and women and find individuals who are onboard with your method of reproductive assistance. It feels good to see others taking on the same struggle and making the same choices as you. Having somebody to lean on takes away some of the hardship of this trying journey.