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How to Talk to Friends and Family About Infertility

Finding the Balance Between What to Share and What's Private

Only you and your partner can determine what to share and what you want to keep private. You may not want to share some of the more specific details, particularly if the problem may come from a low sperm count or poor sperm motility. This can be quite devastating for a man, and it isn't something that he may want many people knowing about. Try to be respectful of each other's wishes. Talking to each other early on in the infertility process can help avoid situations where maybe you said something you shouldn't have.
 
Talking to friends and family can be as simple as just sitting down with those closest to you and telling them that you are having problems getting pregnant and that you just need them to be sensitive to this and supportive. You can even say something to the effect of, "No news from us is no news, but when we have good news, you'll be the first to know." This can help them feel that you need their support, but you don't want to go into all the details of what's happening on a day-to-day basis.
 
However, for some couples, this "no news" approach can leave them feeling more isolated from the people who are closest to them. You and your partner may want a little more support and help from your family, which will likely mean they will learn more of the details regarding your infertility treatment.
 
If you have decided to share more than just the basics with your loved ones, you can expect that you will have to educate them. Although you may have become an expert by this time in infertility, your family and friends may not have any idea about the process that's involved, let alone the huge range of emotions you are going through. You will have to explain a lot of this to them as you go, which can help to guide them in how to be the best support for you.
 
This guidance you give them may include the best way to offer support that doesn't cause you to feel undermined or defeated. It may also include how they can best tell you information, such as when a loved one or family member has become pregnant or has invited you to a baby shower.
 
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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