Nowadays infertility touches more and more couples so it is more likely than not that you will probably have a friend or a family member who is struggling to conceive. If you have never experienced infertility yourself, knowing how to go about supporting a friend can be tricky at times. Here are 7 simple rules to follow that can help you support your friend in her infertility battle and to understand her better.
Ask what she needs from you and deliver
Your friend knows best what she needs. And it is always best to ask first. Some friends are just happy with you listening, some prefer to go out and do something fun together, and some will just need you to have a shoulder to cry on. Make sure what your friend needs most and be there for her.
Never say these
“Relax and it will happen”, “you can always adopt”, “maybe you aren’t meant to be a mum”, “perhaps it is God’s plan”, etc. Saying these never helps. Even if this is your philosophy, do not expect that your friend will feel exactly the same on this. Your friend does not deserve to be infertile, no one does. Also, relaxation is not a cure for a medical condition which infertility really is. Try to avoid these cliché phrases and your infertile friend will be very grateful to you.
Learn more about infertility and treatments
If terms and abbreviations like IUI, IVF, AMH, AH, ICSI or PICSI do not ring a bell at all, educate yourself on the subject. You can ask your friend for recommendation what to read or watch to learn more. She will be happy that you show interest in her struggles. If she is planning to have IVF with donor eggs, you can sit down wither over a cup of coffee and try to check more affordable options outside the NHS and look for cheap egg donor program abroad that won’t break her family budget.
Support her every decision about treatment
And also about lack of treatment. If your friend is determined to become pregnant through ART (artificial reproduction technology) and decides to go for IVF with donor eggs, who are you to question her choices? Overall it is a very successful method and if combined with healthy partner’s sperm/donor sperm and additional procedures, gives very high chances of carrying a healthy baby to term. If this is what your friend and her partner want to do, give them your full support.
Don’t complain about your baby, children or pregnancy symptoms
This should be fairly obvious. Saying “you’re very lucky not to have kids/not to be pregnant. I’m constantly exhausted!” will not help. Couples who are trying to have a baby are well aware that having kids often means sleepless nights, complicated sex life and chaos at home. They know that and still want to be the part of this. One happy child’s smile is a reward in itself.
Don’t mention adoption before your friend brings it up
Remember that every infertility case is different. It is only natural that a woman who has done only one or two unsuccessful IUIs will not think about adoption yet. The same might apply to women who have done one unsuccessful IVF with own eggs. On the whole, most of the women struggling with infertility are adamant that they want to keep trying to get pregnant. They are determined to carry the baby and are aware of other solutions like IVF with donor eggs which gives them boosted chances to have a healthy baby. Adoption is their last resort option.
Don’t suggest weird alternative infertility solutions
The approach matters. As you can imagine your friend has probably already checked many of the non-medical solutions and found out that they either don’t work or aren’t for her. Unfortunately, special get-pregnant diets, fertility yoga, miracle vitamins or acupuncture will not help in cases of severe endometriosis, blocked ovarian tubes or early menopause. Let your friend stick to the fertility program recommended by her doctor and have trust in modern medicine.
*disclaimer: a collaborative guest post*