Infertility can be heartbreaking for men as well as women, and it can be hard to know what to say to a couple trying to conceive.
Here are his feelings on the subject.
So you have just put your foot in your mouth then?
Don’t worry about it. It is difficult to know what to say to the infertile, and we understand that you are being supportive and trying to help. Sometimes, it is better to say nothing though.
Everyone is different, and people handle infertility in different ways, but if you know of someone who is going through infertility, my advice to you is this: Show your support by showing an interest, but don’t offer a solution – infertility is a form of loss, there is often no solution. Empathize, but don’t sympathize, and try to avoid saying any of these:
10. Children are awfully hard work. Oh are they, I hadn’t realized. Thank you for the heads up, it is lucky you are around, care to share some other pearls of wisdom?
9. It’s not a good time to bring a child into the world anyway. In the UK we are currently in a recession, the global economy is falling down the toilet, and don’t get me started on Europe. The world’s monetary situation aside, we still have a beautiful place to bring up a child and when your heart is set on something like having children, quite frankly the sky would be falling in and I wouldn’t give a monkey's paw.
8. Well, he might have turned out to be like Hitler anyway. Yep. Someone actually said this to me, and I can’t think of a sensible enough retort.
7. Why don’t you learn more about the causes of infertility? Okay, I will. How about I get a PhD. in sexual science…oh… no… still infertile, sorry.
6. Think of the money you will save. Somewhat of a pragmatic view, but it doesn’t solve the problem of the huge hole in my heart.
5. You can always adopt. My wife and I have made the decision to adopt, and we are boyishly excited (with a hint of trepidation) about it. But our decision was not made lightly. You simply cannot come to that decision without reconciling the loss that is infertility. It is not wise to bring this one out in the early stages, trust me.
4. You will have lots of time to do what you want to do, like go on holiday. Right. What I want to do is be a parent, I have been on holiday.
3. Don’t worry, it will happen eventually. I wish I could share your optimism, but unless you have some divine power that will magically make my balls work, you will forgive me if I make other plans.
2. Well, pregnancies are painful. Not only have you delivered a statement of the obvious, it is also a back-handed insult. Try and avoid complaining about any aspect of your pregnancy to a person you know to have fertility problems. You are more than entitled to moan to other mothers and mothers-to-be, just exercise a bit of tact.
1. I heard about this couple who 'did IVF a second time and it worked' OR 'adopted and then got pregnant.' You can pretty much fill this one in yourself, but this is my wife’s particular bugbear. If you hear of someone who did conceive after adopting, believe me this is the exception, not the rule. You have heard about it - because it is news, you don’t hear about the thousands of other couples who don’t achieve this because it is too common to talk about. Oh by the way, I heard about this fella who won the lottery, so if you buy a ticket you will get lots of money.
Maybe I sound like I am being ungrateful, and if it wasn’t for the massive support that both my wife and I have received, we would have struggled a lot more than we did.
I hope this post can be taken in the manner it is meant; not a cry for sympathy or a jealous rant, nor is it a thankless poke at people who offer their genuine support. I am trying to help people understand what feelings arise when infertility is experienced.5 Comments