How to Talk to Friends and Family About Infertility

How to Tell Friends and Family

When and how much information you want to share with people is a personal decision -- there are no set guidelines for that. However, once you decide what you want to tell people and who you want to share this information with, there are some tips for how to do it. Some of these suggestions for talking about infertility with family and friends include the following:
  • Talk with your partner about who you want to tell and how much you want to share. Respect each other's decision and try to come to some agreement so that the other isn't upset that you discussed certain aspects of your struggle that he or she may not want shared.
  • Decide on specific words you want to use, such as "infertility" or "we are trying to get pregnant but are having some problems." Rehearsing what you want to say may help as well.
  • Find a time when you can talk to your friends or family when they are not rushed or distracted.
  • Pick a place that is private.
  • Explain to friends and family how they can best support you, be that by calling you, going out for coffee to talk, or e-mailing.
  • If you are talking to family or friends who have children or who are pregnant, you may consider explaining to them that it may be difficult for you to be there for them at baby showers or events that may involve the kids. It may help to approach this subject gently, as it is a delicate topic. However, it can help prepare your loved ones for some difficulties you may have in the future. Try to explain that it isn't because you don't care, but that it's just a painful situation for you right now.
  • Tell friends and family you will let them know if you become pregnant and that they don't need to ask or guess. Putting this information out there beforehand can help plant a seed in your loved one's mind. Often, people who know you are having problems getting pregnant may feel they need to ask if you are pregnant every time they see you in an attempt to be supportive. However, this question can come on some of the worst days and won't bring you comfort or support.
  • Another thing you may want to mention as you are talking to your friends and family is that you are leaving the recommendations up to your healthcare provider. When someone hears there may be pregnancy problems, they may feel they have some great advice for you. While some women may be open to hearing this advice, in many cases, this advice may not be something you want to hear at the moment. Explaining to your family and friends ahead of time that you and your healthcare provider have a treatment plan in place may help to prevent some of that unsolicited advice.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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