For Family and Friends
Advice for Friends and Family
Please remember that infertility is a medical condition and that there aren’t any easy solutions. We don’t need advice or to be shown a silver lining. What we most need is to be listened to and supported.
Respect our privacy. Just because we told you what we’re going through, it doesn’t mean we want anyone else to know. Discussing someone else’s infertility or pregnancy loss without permission is a violation of trust and can be very distressing.
Don’t make comments that minimise or diminish what we’re going through. Comments including “at least” or “just” are very unhelpful.
We might need to separate ourselves from your pregnancy announcements, baby showers, and children’s birthday parties. We are happy for you but these events can make us very sad.
Don’t pry or ask about our fertility issues. Let us bring up the topic if we want to discuss it with you.
Don’t say anything that suggests this is our fault or could be perceived as blaming us.
Our pain and grief is real and valid. You don’t have to understand it but please respect it.
What Not to Say to Someone Struggling with Fertility
When someone talks to you about their fertility issues, please try to offer support and listen empathetically and avoid making assumptions or minimising the person’s experience. Here are some common phrases that should be avoided:
• Just relax.
• Have you tried…?
• Just do IVF.
• Why don’t you just adopt?
• It’ll happen as soon as you stop trying
• Just don’t think about it so much.
• Stay positive!
• You’re still so young. You have lots of time.
• I know you’ll have a baby eventually.
• You can have my kids (hahaha).
• At least…
• Which one of you is infertile?/Who’s fault is it?
• Whatever you do, don’t give up!
• When are you going to give up?
• Did the IVF work? Are you pregnant?
• Do you really think you should be drinking wine if you want to get pregnant?
• Why did you wait so long to start trying?
• Have you tried losing weight?
What Not to Say After a Miscarriage
When someone has just had a miscarriage, it’s important to be sensitive and supportive. Here are some things that should generally be avoided:
• At least it was early.
• At least you know you can get pregnant.
• It’s very common.
• It happens all the time.
• It just wasn’t meant to be.
• You can always try again.
• I thought you would be over it by now.
• Do you know what the cause was? Was it something you did?
What to Say Instead
• I’m so sorry for your loss
• It’s so unfair
• I’m so sorry you have to go through this
• Is there anything I can do to help?
• I’m here for you if you want to talk