How to Talk to Family and Friends About Your Fertility Issues

Anyone who has experienced challenges getting or staying pregnant has heard all kinds of advice from family and friends on how to have a baby. Advice often starts with, “You should just…” and ends with words like “relax,” “think positively,” and “stop trying.” (Funny, but the advice to “relax” often causes the opposite response in the person receiving the tip!) Family and friends may tell you that if you do these simple things, you will be well on your way to parenthood.

Let’s face it, your loved one may mean well, but if you have a medical issue, no amount of relaxation or positive thinking can magically cure your fertility issue.

Here are a few responses for the next time someone gives you baby-making advice. Let them know that:

You have a medical issue

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization define infertility as a disease. Someone who didn’t have issues getting pregnant may not realize that some people have biological reasons for why they might be struggling to conceive.

You are in the right hands

If you’re seeing or plan to book an appointment with a fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist (RE)—and you should, if you’ve been trying for a while without getting pregnant—you can tell the person sharing advice that you’re being seen by a professional and are confident that you’ll get the help you need.

A hug or supportive ear is more helpful than advice

Acknowledge that you appreciate that they are trying to help and let them know the best way to support you now. You could set a gentle boundary and say something like, “I appreciate that you’re here for me and I’ll let you know if I need advice. For now, I’m just happy to see you since I’m having a tough time.”

You’ll share updates once you have any

When you’re trying to conceive, it’s not unusual for people to ask, “When are you having a baby?” This can be upsetting when you’re having fertility issues. A simple response of, “Don’t worry; I’ll let you know if there are updates,” should help them move on to another topic.

This is hard and you’ll be okay

Depending on your comfort level with certain friends and family members, you don’t need to pretend that you’re not having a tough time getting pregnant. You can express that this chapter has been challenging and you appreciate that they are there for you. At the same time, if it feels true, you can let your loved one know that ultimately you feel you’ll be okay and will find your path to parenthood.