It may seem like people are having babies everywhere you look, but many Americans aren't able to conceive. More than 7 million of us experience infertility, Resolve.org reports. Despite the fact that so many struggle with infertility, plenty of other well-meaning people have no idea what to say to them.
Here are 11 things people struggling with infertility want you to know:
1) Being infertile is tough.
Every day, we think about how we want to get pregnant but aren’t able.
2) Other people’s pregnancies hurt.
Just being honest here. It’s painful when someone announces they’re pregnant. We don’t want to take away your happiness, so don’t be afraid to share the good news. But yes, it’s difficult for us.
3) Saying "You’re lucky not to have kids" doesn’t make us feel better.
We know our lives will change drastically if we have kids. You may think that making your blessing sound like a curse would make us feel better. It doesn’t.
4) Don't say, "Worse things could happen."
To a couple who just wants to love and nurture a child, infertility is definitely the worst thing that could happen.
5) Being young doesn’t always mean we have plenty of time to get pregnant.
It’s simply not always true. Infertility.About.com gives this example: for a woman with premature ovarian failure, time is not on her side. The longer she waits, the more likely she will need an egg donor. Commenting on age is dismissive and unhelpful.
6) Don’t tell us success stories.
We’re well-educated on statistics and success rates. We see specialists, and monitor ovulation, sperm count and hormone levels. So those tales of someone else’s success make us feel inferior. Besides, success stories don’t make us hopeful, they make us feel worse.
7) Don’t say, "Just relax."
How can we relax when we can’t control the one thing we want more than anything? Infertile people aren’t just stressed-out and in need of relaxing. There is so much more to conception than that.
8) We don’t believe that "Everything happens for a reason."
Please don’t say that. We’re constantly asking ourselves why it isn’t happening. We know you may think it is a kind comment, but it’s not.
9) Don't ask about IVF.
In vitro fertilization is not the cure-all for infertility. IVF is rarely covered by insurance and very expensive. One treatment cycle can cost between $12,000 and $25,000.
To be successful, many treatment cycles may be needed. Furthermore for women under 35, there's a less than 40-percent-per-cycle success rate, according to Infertility.About.com.
10) We know adoption is an option.
Mentioning adoption ignores our feelings about wanting our own flesh-and-blood child. Not to mention the financial costs of adoption. There's a lot involved in adopting a child. And it doesn’t just happen.
11) It hurts when people say, "Maybe you're just not meant to be parents."
No one knows why infertility happens to some people and not to others. Don't pretend to know why we haven't conceived.
Reviewed April 7, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
“Infertility Etiquette." - RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.
"12 Things Not to Say to Someone Who Is Infertile." About.com Health. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.
Berna, Casey. "10 Things You Shouldn't Tell A Woman Struggling To Get Pregnant." ModernMom. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.
Bielby, Amy. "Community Post: 14 Things Women Suffering From Infertility Want You To Know." BuzzFeed Community. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.