Infertility can devastate a couple, but well-meaning friends can hurt, too. While you want to help those who have trouble conceiving, there are some things that you just should not say to them.
“It’s just a mindset.”
Never tell someone that they must really not want a baby or that they have some other psychological block. Suggesting that someone has a mental barrier to pregnancy makes no sense when applied to other medical conditions. Imagine telling someone with cancer that he or she must have had a secret desire to be sick. When you think about it in that light, it sounds terrible because it is. Infertility has physical roots, just as other medical conditions do. Do not discount this by claiming that a woman will get pregnant only when she really wants it.
“You’re just not ready for it.”
Don’t tell a couple who struggles with infertility that they are not ready to raise a child. Regardless of the amount of preparation, no one is ever completely ready for a child because each baby brings unique challenges. Just as no two people are fully prepared for the unexpected events of marriage, no couple is fully ready for a child.
“Why don’t you try…?”
If you are not the personal doctor for the couple, do not suggest medical procedures that can be both pricy and painful. In vitro fertilization is not a panacea. It is only effective up to 40 percent of the time in the healthiest, youngest women, but as a woman gets older, her chances of a successful pregnancy through IVF drop dramatically. IVF is also exorbitantly expensive, costing $10,000 to $15,000 per attempt. Typically, multiple attempts are needed for success, and many health insurance plans do not cover the cost. For many couples, adoption is another option, but this is also expensive. Adopting a child always comes with the chance that the birth mother could change her mind. Couples who choose to adopt have to come to terms with the fact that they will not have a child of their own. Such a process requires a mourning period that some couples may not be ready for yet. Some people also perpetuate the myth that adopting a child will result in a subsequent natural pregnancy. Don’t suggest that a couple takes on responsibility for another life for the goal of conceiving their own child. Adoption is a heavy decision to make that will affect the life of the child and parents and is not a matter to be taken lightly.
“Things could be worse.”
Yes, things could be worse, but for infertile couples, they are in a terrible, daily battle that causes personal heartbreak. Never discount another person’s grief, no matter what the cause is. Doing so will not help matters and only belittle the other person’s pain.
Discuss your children or pregnancy
It is extremely painful for many infertile women to hear complaints or bragging from another woman about her children. Women who are trying to conceive would do almost anything to have children, and if you are complaining about your own to her, you are simply enhancing the pain. Your daily hassles with your children would be her joys because she has a child. Infertility affects the body, mind and emotions. Never use flippant words to try to put a temporary bandage on the pain. Offer to be a friend and listen to their hurts, and you can both benefit.