It’s important for each person to treat their partner with care and sensitivity as they carefully examine their unique situation and options for moving forward together. Information is often the antidote to anxiety, and partners need to arm themselves with a wealth of data in order to accurately understand what their childbearing options are: drug treatment, assisted reproductive technologies, or adoption.
The couple must be in agreement as to what is their ultimate goal, and united in their understanding that this is a marathon, not a sprint. They need to preserve their marital connection as best they can while they also deal with the infertility, which is no small feat. A good couple’s therapist can be invaluable in providing a safe place where partners can talk, share, vent, and challenge one another, all while protecting their most valuable asset, their bond.
For those with friends or loved ones dealing with infertility, the following are the worst things to say to an infertile couple:
1. “You can always adopt!”
2. “Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.”
3. “You don’t know how lucky you are – kids are a hassle!”
4. “You should just relax.”
5. “You want this too much.”
In contrast, the top 5 most helpful things to say are:
1. “I’m here for you.”
2. “I don’t know why this is happening, but I know it’s not your fault.”
3. “How can I best support you?”
4. “We will get through this together.”
5. “I love you.”
Remember, that walking in the shoes of someone experiencing infertility is truly difficult, but you can be compassionate to their sensitivities and support their process of grieving and healing.
How has infertility affected you? How have you dealt with infertility issues or supported those you love who have had to deal with them? What additional advice would you offer people dealing with such a painful issue?