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Home > Learn > Fertility Treatments > >What to Say to Someone Struggling With Infertility

What to Say to Someone Struggling With Infertility

Nov 03, 23 4 min

Originally published 02/25/2020. Updated for accuracy and relevancy on 11/03/2023.

We asked our readers to share some of their perspectives. What shouldn’t you say to someone going through infertility? What should you say instead? What has been helpful to hear in the past?

Reviewed by Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

Everybody loves to give advice—especially when it comes to trying to get pregnant. When someone first has babies on the brain, they might welcome the unsolicited advice from their best friend, mother, and maybe even that nosy neighbor from down the street. 

But fast forward a year and what may feel like a million negative pregnancy tests later, all that unsolicited “advice” isn’t so cute or helpful—even if it’s coming from a good place. They are likely frustrated, disappointed, feeling lonely, and unfortunately, not pregnant.

Believe it or not, one out of every eight couples experiences infertility (review the major causes of infertility here). But as common as infertility is, it’s rarely a topic of conversion. We don’t believe this should be the case- after all, the first step to normalizing uncomfortable conversations is to start having them more often. That being said, we know that navigating the trying to conceive (TTC) conversation can be difficult, especially when talking to someone who hasn’t shared the same experience as you. 

So, we asked our readers to share some of their perspectives. What shouldn’t you say to someone going through infertility? What should you say instead?

What Not to Say 

What shouldn’t you say when someone is going through fertility treatments or struggling to get pregnant? Here are a few things our readers found to be unhelpful, rude, or discouraging. 

  • “When are you having a baby?” This can be such an innocent question, but this one hurts. If only you knew. 
  • “Did you try “X, Y, and Z?” Yep, tried that and everything else in the book. I’m starting to feel like an expert in what-isn’t-working. 
  • “Just relax and it will happen.” If only it were that easy! Unfortunately, sitting back and relaxing hasn’t been working. 
  • “Just have more sex.” Definitely didn’t think of that… thanks! 
  • “Just get a dog.” Okay, sure, dogs are great— but NOT the same as a child.
  • “Just adopt!” Adoption is a beautiful thing, but may not be right for everyone. 
  • “Your recent miscarriage/fertility struggles make me nervous for my own fertility journey” Uh, so...should I not talk about what I’m going through?
  • “Stop focusing and tracking it so much, and then it will just happen.” Tracking fertile windows and ovulation actually does increase your chances, thank you very much.  

So how do we change the dialogue around talking about infertility and showing support and care without feeling patronizing or exhausting? This is what our readers said.

Natalist call to action featuring women's fertility hormone test

What to Say

  • Let your friend lead the convo. Be there to listen. Don’t act like The Baby Whisperer.
  • Say: “I’m sorry. It’s not fair. What can I do to help?”
  • Say: “I’m sorry. I love you. I’m here to listen and help when you need me.”
  • Simply ask how they are doing. Letting them know the door is open to talk.
  • Say: “This really sucks, but you are not alone. Do you want to tell me about your experience or how you’re feeling?”
  • Say: “Sorry you’re dealing with this.”
  • Check-in often. 

Remember that everyones’ experiences and what they are or aren’t okay with are different. There is no rule book for having these sensitive conversations. What you can do, however, is support your friend or family member and let them know that you are there when and if they need you. 

The big takeaway is that you don’t have to avoid the topic. The best thing another person can do for someone dealing with infertility is to simply be there. Be a supportive ear rather than a mouth of empty hope and suggestions. The experience of infertility isn’t easy to talk about for anyone, but simply knowing a judgment-free door is ready to offer comfort can mean a world of difference in helping them feel less alone. 

Products for People Trying to Conceive

Wondering where to find gifts or products for the fertility journey? Check out the following blogs:

Natalist offers fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum products that are made with science, beauty, and sustainability in mind. Our team of moms and doctors have been in your shoes and know what works and what doesn’t when trying to get pregnant. Browse the Natalist website

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