PSA: Top Ten Things To Avoid Saying To Your Friends Struggling with Fertility

This post is not meant to be hurtful in any way, but I feel it is so important to educate those who love their friends but don’t know what to say during their difficult times getting pregnant. My personal goal has always been to never become the bitter friend who doesn’t attend your baby shower or is unhappy when you announce your pregnancy, and in this aspect, it’s been a good run so far. In fact, I tend to go the other route where I get very excited and ask a ton of questions as if I were literally having the baby myself – pretty much doing the whole living vicariously through your friends thing. However, if you do happen to have a friend who feels this way, please be gentle with her and allow her to have her feels. Most likely, she has been given every piece of unsolicited advice under the sun from friends and family, and even a few strangers sprinkled in between, all who have good intentions but no clue how much some of those suggestions sting. 

I can only speak for myself, and so I will share just how infertility has affected me. My usual method to attacking any obstacle in life is to research the hell out of it, make plans A – Z, and then execute them one by one. And believe me, we’ve done it all. And that is precisely where the struggle lies – that you feel helpless and unable to do anything to improve your outcome. As much as modern day medicine has made headway through the use of IVF, there are just as many matters that still remain murky and unexplained. Having spent the majority of my thirties trying to figure this out, has frustrated me beyond words. So I hang onto any little thing I can do, like trying to lose weight in between cycles and continuously researching for studies I can participate in to help further science. But do I handle not being able to affect anything very well? Not really, especially because in the past, I was more on the side of not doing something about an issue, out of pure hatred towards myself mixed with low self-esteem. It was only in my mid-twenties when I realized that I am capable to do most things through hard work and the grace of God, and my life turned around for the better in various ways. I attempted to try to do things that I was afraid to fail at, and I certainly did fail at some things, like becoming a therapist, which was a dream of mine – but I believe I still fulfill this desire in different informal ways to great satisfaction, so I don’t feel like I am missing out. 

But I’m veering here, so back to fertility – it has been one of the most difficult things that I’ve gone through because no amount of blood, sweat, and tears made a difference. Not only that, I was constantly told by very well-meaning friends that my efforts to lose weight were in vain, that I just needed to go on a long vacation, that I should just relax and not think about it, because that’s when the magic happens. It would hurt me to hear these things, especially since I had repeatedly explained my situation of not ovulating like normal folks, and that simply relaxing wouldn’t make an ounce of difference – but it seemed to fall on deaf ears and we continued to have the same conversations. I understood that it worked for them, but it will not necessarily work for me. And although I adore my friends, I started to pull away and see less of them, simply to avoid these conversations that started to feel like motherly admonishment for not doing the pregnancy thing the right way. After around our third year of struggling, it was not uncommon for K to attend social events by himself because I had either just failed a cycle or miscarried, and didn’t have the energy to be my usual-go-lucky self, which I would then feel guilty about at times later, that I wasn’t being a solid friend despite my own troubles. In addition, I also have friends who are single and wanting children, and I felt it disrespectful to talk about this topic when they were hurting in their own way. I know that I have definitely been guilty of saying the wrong things to friends who were struggling with fertility in the past, simply because I had no idea of how it felt, so I am not on a soapbox here. In fact, I think about those times and wish I could take those things back and regret saying such things very much.

Again, I don’t have all the right things to say, but I do believe in my case, all I wanted was someone who would listen earnestly, give me a hug, and love me, instead of offering me their children, or telling me that maybe I was making an idol of having children. So, in order to help shed some light into the plight of the infertile, below are the top ten things to avoid saying to someone who is struggling with infertility – and if you have some of your own, feel free to add them in the comments. 

Top Ten Things To Avoid Saying To Your Friends Struggling with Fertility

1. Just stop thinking about it. My neighbor/cousin/sister/etc tried for years, and when she finally gave up, she magically got pregnant. Stop stressing about it. Go on a long vacation. Did you know stress can affect your period? Just relax and don’t worry about a thing and it’ll happen when it’s “meant to happen”. 

2. From friends who have too many kids/their kids stress them out – Are you sure you really want kids!? You can have some of mine! I wish I could still go out drinking and have a night out on the town. Or you could adopt. It only takes an indefinite amount of years and costs around 30 – 60k. 

3. Have you tried acupuncture (which I have)? My neighbor/cousin/sister/etc got pregnant right after 3 sessions! Unfortunately, recent studies suggest that it doesn’t work for PCOS folks like myself, so that was a ton of money down the drain. 

4. Just stop all of your fertility treatments – it’s not God’s/the universe’s way. All those drugs are unsafe and not proven to work. Enjoy your money and live a lavish life!

5. Or instead, try this concoction that has ground up deer antlers and dried bone marrow, that’ll spruce your ovaries right up. 

6. Maybe it’s because you should lose 40lbs – the number one solution of Korean doctors. They don’t seem to understand that those 40lbs were gained through the fertility treatments. 

7. Maybe this is God’s/the universe’s way of saying you wouldn’t be good parents/kids would be unhealthy. Would that be really what you want? Wouldn’t push this if I were you!

8. From friends who are single and getting older – at least you can try to have kids. I don’t even have a partner to procreate with, therefore, my problem trumps yours. Having a child is a privileged lifestyle choice. 

9. With the world becoming what it is everyday, you’re probably sparing yourself some major grief by not having kids. 

10. Have you tried having sex upside down/when the full moon is out/when your astrological sign bids you good fortune? 

If you’re like me, you’re cringing when you go through the list, but each of these has happened to me numerous times, and I’m sure there are many other women who have endured much worse. I am thankful that I have a supportive family on both sides and that there never had been any pressure, but the shame that I place upon myself is a heavy enough yoke. So I hope that if you have a friend that is struggling right now, that you’ll give her a listening ear and love on her dearly.


  • tracey

    i just want to give thanks to my spiritual mother who help me and is been a year now when you help me conceive my son micheal and save my marriage, i was married for without conceiving until the issue resolved to problem in my marriage which about to be broken until iya basira help with her spiritual powers, i was really worried and bothered because i don’t want to loose my husband to another woman. i have went to hospital, the doctor told me that i can’t get pregnant again due to my last abortion. i thought have lost my husband already and i have lost hope and faith until one day that a very good friend of mine introduce me to native iya basira of the i contacted her. she did spiritual prayers and bless me with the fruit of the womb a try which make me to be happy today. now i have giving birth to healthy boy. and my husband now love me more than before. so that’s while i am here to share the good work of native woman to help my family, i pray that my God will reward you for all that you have done for me for bringing smile to my face once is her contact for anybody who need her help also

  • melanie@7

    I’d add to your list of NOT TO SAY. Whilst 7 years of struggling, failed IUIs and cancelled ivf round before moving onto egg donor surrogacy with Ukrainian clinic we constantly heard “Just adopt!” from people around. I agree that adoption can be a wonderful option for some couples. But it’s not a decision that should be made lightly. Suggesting adoption ignores the financial and emotional costs. Also, it is not always possible. There’s an application and approval process to adopt a child. Not everyone who wants to adopt will pass the screening process. (Whether the person would make a great parent. It’s another complication with that.) Also, this option doesn’t take away the pain of being unable to have a biological child. Offering it as a comfort doesn’t usually go well. It is very difficult to accept & move on knowing your genes will die with you. So it can’t replace having biologically related children but is just another way to build a family for those who are ready for it.
    We passed donor egg surrogacy at biotex. I’m glad my twins resemble their father (not me unfortunately, but I’m satisfied and so thankful to have them in my life). Yep, one should think twice before ‘cheering up’ people that way.

  • lindcey hawks

    Love this post! I was so sick and tired of things I had to hear. People chatting behind the backs of the infertile..Not knowing, not even willing to know. Not all of them of course. Some friends of mine were trying to calm me down with some words of wisdom. But frankly speaking they failed with disaster, though even not suspecting this. Here’s my list:
    Maybe you’re not meant for having kids.
    You’ve still got a plenty of time! (Me – 36 yrs old).
    Relax, just make sex all the time. (Are you kidding?!! – I thoght I knew how babies are created)
    I have 3 kids, you may take one. (I wonder what would you have done if I did!)
    Come on, use donor egg! (As if though it’s this easy..)
    One should think twice before uttering a thing surely, ’cause it hurts when said unappropriately.

  • amaluis

    Adding some from my own experience..
    Maybe you were just not meant to.
    I have three kids. You may take one.
    Why don’t you want to adopt?
    Be patient, one day you’ll be blessed.
    I truly cannot understand how one can be patient if she cannot conceive through years of trying! Or how one can relax or take it easy when seeing BFN every other month. What if I want genetically related kids to both my dh and me? And that adoption is not the same as fertility treatment for me..I know this might sound rough, but we all have our personal choice. And right now or anytime earlier Id reject this option ’cause this is our mutual choice. And what it means ”you aren’t meant to?”– who then?? Dear you with your 3 kids!! And how would you feel if I did take one of yours?!!
    Silly things which hurt too much..

  • Sharon Benson

    After trying to get pregnant for four years, 40-year-old I underwent a lot of testing and i was told by the doctor that i only had a 10% chance of getting pregnant naturally. Because of my age and health conditions, the doctor cautioned that their next option, IVF, might not work the first time either.

    “I only had 1 fallopian tube” And only one ovary working. My FSH (egg quality) was borderline menopausal. I had a Thyroid problem. I had a lot against me.”

    I and My husband decided to do some personal research and stumbled upon Natural Fertility Info of Iya Hindi herbal product.And i was encouraged by discovering natural alternatives OF IYA HINDI HERBAL. “I started to take the multivitamins, the smoothies, the greens, bee pollen — and kid me not, I was pregnant 2 weeks after.”

    “The Reproductive Endocrinologist could not believe it. He is recommending these products to his patients now. My co-worker also had issues getting pregnant; she tried for 2 years. Then she also took the same fertility products and she is now 3 weeks pregnant.”Read more natural fertility success stories here.

    Contact him for your own testimony on: .Whats App number +19145295224. for more info Visit his web site (

  • MillieG

    It pains much to see so many of us nowadays struggling for little ones.. Every month TTC for me was like quick sand. i tried, i waited, i got my hopes up.. then started my cycle over, and continued to fall more and more into losing hope..All I knew was time could only tell. I expected that if it was meant to happen, it would happen one way or another. But didn’t think we’d have to go through surrogacy…Seems I always tried to wait for the right time which I thought was yrs ago. But for some reason then when I was ready to have a baby, my body said otherwise! Apps were just making me frustrated!! And peeing on stick after stick after stick to see if I was ovulating just to pee on more sticks to see that it was negative and not pregnant that month!! me = 41. endometriosis & PCOS and all the possible things. ttc since 10/2013. 1st IUI with just trigger — BFN. 2nd IUI with clomid no trigger – same result. IVF#1: retrieved 8 mature, 6 fertilzed. Fresh cycle- transfer 1 grade A embryo/ hatched. On progesterone/ estradiol. Miscarried. IVF#2-IVF#6 – similar results. All miscarriages. All bfps on dollar store cheapie which never developed into a healthy pregnancy. Each time beta rising then extremelly falling down. We both couldn’t endure more, so moved forward to surrogacy. Chose Ukraine mainly for affordable prices and kept things in secret for as long as we both could..Up to the 12 wks of the surrogate’s pregnancy..I believe everyone will understand..

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