Seven Easy Ways to Support Family and Friends Undergoing Infertility Treatment
Did you know that one in eight couples struggle to conceive due to infertility? Infertility treatment can be a difficult subject to discuss, even with family and friends, so it’s understandable why many are surprised to learn just how common infertility can be. Unfortunately, even those with the best intentions can say things that are unintentionally hurtful. Many common, knee-jerk reactions to an infertility diagnosis or fertility treatment plan can go awry, including these common responses:
Why can’t you just adopt?
Isn’t in vitro fertilization (IVF) expensive? What if it doesn’t work?
You just need to relax and take a vacation, then it will happen.
My cousin says you don’t need to take hormone injections.
You’re so lucky that you don’t have kids, you’ll be able to sleep in.
Even if well intentioned, these comments can be hurtful and undermine a person’s decision about their path to parenthood. The time, energy, and financial commitment to infertility treatment is serious and is not taken lightly by couples or individuals who wish to have a baby. Having these choices questioned, even casually by close friends or family, can discourage fertility patients from wanting to share their journey.
Fortunately, there are plenty of actions you can take to support family or friends undergoing infertility treatment. Chelsea Fertility of New York City has outlined seven easy ways to show your support for the infertility community.
- Advocacy –Writing a letter or email to local and state representatives about insurance coverage can go a long way. Insurance coverage for fertility treatment changes from state to state and is often not comprehensive enough to cover such an expensive treatment. In New York, for example, a mandate requires coverage, but military veterans nationwide do not receive full IVF coverage through their health plans. By advocating for a friend or family member in this way, you advocate for all couples who are struggling to conceive.
- Attend local events – Between infertility support groups and fundraising events like the national “Walk of Hope” hosted by RESOLVE, there are plenty of opportunities in each state to help raise money for fertility causes and support those undergoing treatment.
- Get educated – So many myths and misconceptions about infertility and treatment stem from a simple lack of education. Resources like RESOLVE and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) are a great place to start.
- Be available – Sometimes, the simplest thing you can do to support family and friends is to be there when they need to talk, help them get to and from an appointment, or help with errands if they are busy with treatment.
- Resist making assumptions – When talking to an infertile person or couple, don’t make an assumption as to who is the fertility patient and who isn’t. Men and women receive an equal number of infertility diagnoses.
- Keep holidays and birthdays in mind – Holidays and birthdays can be a difficult time for those who wish to have a baby. Providing your support during these sensitive times can be welcome for some couples.
- Raise awareness – Raising awareness about infertility can be as easy as sharing a post on social media. You can share this blog post on social media by visiting Chelsea Fertility NYC’s Facebook page.