Talking about infertility with your friends and family
An estimated one in every eight American couples struggles to conceive. If you are one of these couples, you know that it can be an emotional and sometimes isolated journey. At Center for Reproductive Health, we encourage patients to find people (friends, family, other couples, counselors) to talk to and share their feelings with. Our team wants to help you start the conversation about infertility with your selected community. We’ve seen celebrities and bloggers speak out their TTC struggles, but there is still a stigma surrounding the topic of infertility, making it difficult to have a productive, two-way conversation.
Ideally, you will feel loved and supported before, during and after any conversation about struggling with infertility. Unfortunately, many people – even your closest friends and family – may not know what to say or may worry about saying the wrong thing. We want to encourage you to keep the conversation going. So much positive growth can come from sharing your story! We’re sharing some known strategies to start the conversation about infertility on your terms:
Respect your boundaries. Have an idea of what you’re willing to share and what will remain between you and your partner. You may feel comfortable expressing your worries and thoughts, but not as willing to reveal the results of your partner’s semen analysis. Agree on what to keep close and when to reach out.
Educate those who may not know what fertility treatment entails. Your friend’s lack of knowledge is not intended to come across as disinterest or insensitivity. Be patient and willing to teach the people that walk alongside you in this journey. We often find that the more people learn about infertility and fertility treatments, the more open the conversation can become.
Know your audience. Different people in your community are likely to respond with different levels of comfort and support. You can tailor your approach and the amount of detail you share with each person.
Ask for support. Your community may not know how to help you. They love you and it can be difficult for them to see you suffering. You may need to teach them how to deal with the emotional side of fertility treatment. Explain that you’re going through a lot and need someone to listen and help you process. A counselor with experience with fertility issues can be an additional, invaluable resource. Dr. Robins, Center for Reproductive Health’s Medical Director, can refer you to someone in the Inland Northwest.
None of the above strategies are easy to implement, but they are important steps toward conquering the anxieties that can come along with talking about infertility. Many of our Center for Reproductive Health patients and partners have said that the willingness to talk provides the freedom and strength to thrive throughout fertility treatment.
If you’re looking for an appointment or consultation to address your fertility concerns, callCenter for Reproductive Health in Spokane, Washington. Dr. Robins also sees new patients in Missoula, Montana and Richland, Washington on a regular basis.