Finding Your Voice: What to Tell People about Your Infertility

by | July 19th, 2011

At a certain point, well-meaning friends and family will probably start to ask about your plans to start a family. Though you can try to dodge the questions, these situations will keep coming up. You and your partner should talk about the best way to address your struggles to conceive.

In most cases, you will want to provide some information about your infertility to close family and friends. During this journey, it’s important to have a good support system. The people you care about will want to be there for you, so let them offer you love and compassion as you try to conceive.

Having a game plan will help you and your partner be prepared to handle whatever comes your way. Consider these questions:

What details do you want to share?

Some people don’t mine explaining their situation in great detail. You and your partner need to decide how much information you want to provide. Men often feel uncomfortable about sharing if donor sperm is involved. By the same token, you may not want to divulge your use of donor eggs or advanced in-vitro fertilization (IVF) options.


Who are you going to tell?

While it would be almost impossible to keep your infertility from those closest to you, don’t feel like you have to share your situation with everybody. Figure out if there are individuals you don’t want in the loop right now. At some point, you may have to let your boss know what’s going on because infertility treatments tend to take a great deal of time, which could impact your work schedule.


How will you respond to their comments?

Because your friends and family care about you, they will want to help. Be prepared for unsolicited advice and “expert” opinions. Gently explain that eating right, mediation, or a vacation won’t help you conceive when you are dealing with infertility. Like all medical conditions, infertility requires treatment to correct the problem.


What do you want from the people you tell?

Once you let the cat out of the bag, you and your partner should decide what you need from the people in your inner circle. Be specific with your requests so that you can stay in control of the situation. Let friends and family know if you want them to check in or if you prefer that they just keep you in their thoughts and prayers.


How will you handle disappointments?

If your cycle doesn’t work, you should have a plan in place for how to let people know. Consider having a point person who can give others in the group the details so that you don’t have to field calls from everyone yourself.


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