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5 things you shouldn’t say to someone with fertility issues

Woman stopping herself from saying insensitive comments to her friend with fertility issuesThere are not many subjects more sensitive than someone’s fertility—it’s a subject that is highly emotionally, intensely private and hugely significant. It is one that should be handled sensitively—but often isn’t.

People don’t usually mean to be cruel but thoughtless words can often hurt more than intended.

There are some things that you just shouldn’t say to someone with fertility issues–here are just a few of them.

5 things you shouldn’t say to someone with fertility issues

1. Platitudes

Even though these come from a place of good intentions, saying things like “just relax and it’ll happen” or “you’re so young, there’s still heaps of time” is more likely to enrage a woman, or couple, who have fertility issues than it is likely to make them feel better.

Remember you can’t really make them feel better. However, what you can do is make them feel is supported and loved.

2. “I understand…”

Unless you also have fertility issues, and especially ones of the same kind, then you probably don’t really understand. It’s the “go-to” response when comforting someone, but it can be infuriating when someone says it without having any idea of how that situation actually feels.

The fact is that no person in the world has felt exactly the same way as anyone else, so claiming that you “understand” is never going to be a good course to take. Instead, just offer a supportive ear for them to vent or share, and ask how they’re doing every so often.

3. “My partner only has to LOOK at me for me to fall pregnant!”

You may mean well, it may be intended as a light-hearted jest, and you may even think they’ll find it funny. But they won’t. To someone with fertility issues, these words sound like insensitive bragging. Avoid this at all times.

4. Nothing

One of the worst responses to someone telling you about their fertility issues is silence. It makes them feel like they shouldn’t be talking about it, or that it’s somehow taboo—it’s not—it’s brave that they’ve confided in you. It’s almost as bad if you smile or nod in acknowledgement, then immediately change the subject—it’s still disregarding the fact that someone just trusted you with that information, and could hurt their feelings.

What you should do is be kind, ask if they want to talk about it, and let them know you’re there to listen/offer support if need be.

5. “My kids are annoying, have one!” or “Pregnancy sucks!”

If you have kids—you have what they want. And if you constantly complain about your children to your friends with fertility issues you might come across as ungrateful and insensitive.

Also, they don’t want your kids, they want their own kids so don’t offer for them to “take one off your hands”. The same goes for pregnancy—in this instance, it pays to remember to how much they would give to be in your position.

And if you’re wondering what you SHOULD say then read 9 ways to support your friend with fertility issues.


Visit our fertility and conception information hub for more tips, advice and support


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4 Comments so far -
  • Hi Allison. Thanks for reading and thank you for sharing your story with us x

  • Shell says:

    Hearing things like “maybe you’re just not meant to have kids” use to break my heart and having people tell us we should just adopt or foster was so frustrating. The truth is, we looked into both of those options and they were far from easy or straightforward and whilst our intentions would have been to love that child as our own… they would never be our own. We would always be left wondering things like, “what would our child look like?” “Who would they most be like?” Infertility is a never ending grief process.

    • Hi Shell, thanks for sharing your experience with us. Those comments can be so thoughtless. Hopefully with some more education people can be more mindful of the things they say and the impact they have. All the best xx

  • Viksta says:

    I’m sick of the ‘ it’ll happen. Stop stressing’ Really? Yeah, hang on while I just instantly stop stressing about the one thing that I feel will make my life complete while you carry on about how annoying your own kids are. Jeeez!!

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