What Not To Say To Couples Dealing With Infertility Issues

by | September 30, 2021, 1:25 IST


In Indian society, we don’t really talk about pregnancy loss or infertility in our society; most people don’t know what to say in these situations. The holiday/marriage/baby showers/festival season can be especially hard to navigate, with friends and family asking tons of invasive questions which may be invasive or belittling. Even when they are well-meaning, it can be gutting to be asked again and again at the family holiday party.

Questions bombarded to the couples dealing with the infertility issues are often tone-deaf and offensive. Here are few of such things that we may, without any ill intent, may have said to people we love, and love.. Some of these could be:

“When are you going to have a baby?”

“Hey, don’t you want to give lovely daughter a brother?”

“Are you crazy for wanting three?”

So the twins are your husband’s but not yours, right?”

"What a shame, you're a woman and can't have children."

"If you just lost a few pounds it would probably happen."

"Just get a dog!"

"You can have my children if you want."

Already said one of them? Don't be afraid to go back to your friend and apologise. It can become a healing moment for you both.

"You Can Always Do IVF" 

It's not so simple, very expensive treatment, rarely covered by insurance, multiple cycles maybe needed to achieve success. Even if you have the cash, IVF may not be successful. Success rate vary depending on the cause. Couples may also need donor eggs, sperm, or embryos, or even a surrogate, which is significantly more expensive. Everyone doesn’t wants to go through the IVF process due to invasiveness, emotionally intense, sometimes due to religious objections to IVF.

"Just Adopt" 

Adoption can be a wonderful option which couple is already aware of. Adoption doesn't take away the pain of being unable to have a biological child. There is an application and approval process which may take forever.

Don’t Complain About Your Pregnancy/Kids

We all know babies cry and puke. Who hasn't been seated at a restaurant next to a loud, messy family or endured a long plane ride next to a screaming baby? We know our lives will change drastically when we have kids. Don't downplay a couple's situation by making your blessing sound more like a curse. Comments like, “Just enjoy being able to sleep late, travel, etc.,” do not offer comfort.

“I’ll Donate The Sperm”

Don’t be crude Comments like, “I’ll donate the sperm” or “Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination” are not funny, and they only irritate your friends." You Need to Relax. All these comments doesn’t help relax.


"Maybe You're Not Meant to Be Parents" 

This one really hurts. Being qualified for the job is clearly not required.No one knows why bad things happen to good people. Please don't play God by commenting so.

"But You're So Young! You Have Plenty Of Time To Get Pregnant" 

Not always so. Being young doesn't make you immune to infertility, and time is not always on your side, for women with premature ovarian failure or endometriosis. The longer she waits, the more likely she will need an egg donor.

"You Put Your Career in Front Of Having a Family?" 

Suggesting that infertility is someone's fault is insensitive. Don't assume someone didn't have a child at a younger age because of career.

"What's The Big Deal? You Already Have A Child" 

Having a child or children doesn't take away the pain of being unable to have more. Before you tell someone to "be grateful" for what they have, don't assume they're not. It is possible to feel grateful for what you have and sad over what you don't at the same time.

"So, Whose Fault Is It? His or Hers?" 

Don't assume that since someone confided in you that they're infertile that they're now ready or willing to share all the details. Please respect people's privacy.

"It Could Be Worse. It Could Be Cancer" 

Interestingly enough, research has found that the emotional distress experienced by women with infertility is similar to the distress experienced by cancer, HIV, and chronic pain patients.

Infertility is a subject that leaves many battle scars. Let’s try to support each other, as best we can, while we are waiting to celebrate the birth of your future children.

The article is authored by Dr Himanshu Singhal, Senior Fertility Specialist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru (Bellandur & Whitefield)

Also Read: Warning Signs Of Infertility That Should Not Be Ignored



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