“National Infertility Awareness Week founded in 1989 by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is the largest public awareness campaign that addresses the public health issue of infertility. This year’s observance is April 24-30, 2022. Any way you can raise awareness will help increase public understanding about infertility.
Empowering you and changing the conversation: Infertility does not discriminate based on sex, race, religion, age, or even socioeconomic status. Let’s change the conversation and the way we talk about the disease and who it impacts, It’s time we own the narrative and got real about the support needed to resolve infertility.”
In support of the movement, YO Home Sperm Test asks the question: How Can we Support our Family or Friends Dealing with Infertility?
With infertility impacting 1 in 8 couples, there’s a high probability that someone close to you may be having trouble getting pregnant. It could be that a friend or family member has shared what they’re going through – or they haven’t said anything but you suspect it – either way, knowing what to say and how to provide your support will help them on this often-lonely journey.
To mark National Infertility Awareness Week, we’re sharing 5 ways you can support friends and family as they navigate infertility:
#1 What to say when you suspect that someone is going through infertility
Many couples find it difficult to disclose what they’re going through with those around them. Opening up can bring on a barrage of unsolicited advice, but there’s also the fear of being misunderstood. It’s not your place to offer advice based on assumptions – instead, a simple ‘I’m here if you ever want to talk’, goes a long way.
#2 Don’t tell them to relax
This tops our list. Infertility will not solve itself if the couple ‘relaxed’. While you may know someone who finally got pregnant once they ‘relaxed’, many who’ve spent more than a year trying to conceive have a medical condition or unexplained infertility between them and their dream of parenthood. As noted by RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, such comments create even more stress for the couple.
#3 Don’t downplay what they’re going through
You may think that there are worse things that can happen besides infertility, but voicing this to a friend or relative who is struggling will not help. Studies on mental health and infertility show that infertile couples experience significant anxiety and emotional distress, including deep feelings of grief and loss when a treatment cycle doesn’t work.
#4 Don’t ask if they’ve tried X,Y,Z
Best sex positions to conceive, timing intercourse, – or even – going on a cruise, are all bandied about as foolproof ways to getting pregnant. While it may be tempting to offer well-meaning advice, chances are they’ve already tried everything under the sun and are considering much more intensive treatment to grow their family. For others, they may have already tried IVF and it didn’t work, so mentioning it casually as a fix-all solution doesn’t do anyone any good.
#5 DO Educate Yourself on the Infertility Conversation
Educating yourself is an important step in understanding and being empathetic with those around you. There are plenty of resources available on infertility and how you can support loved ones through it. RESOLVE’s Infertility 101 is a good starting point for a general overview of infertility and underlying causes and you can find actionable ways how you can provide your support in their Friends and Family Guide. Books, written by those who’ve experienced infertility, are also a great resource.
Building a family isn’t always straightforward. For many, it requires years of trying, countless doctor’s appointments, prodding and poking, and multiple treatments – and all at a high emotional and financial cost. Being sensitive with your words and showing empathy during this difficult time goes a long way.