Infertility Awareness: What it is, and 12 things NOT to say to those affected!

Posted on April 25, 2016 by Gerry

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) takes place during the last full week of April. The goal of the week is to raise awareness about infertility, to encourage discussion, and help couples with infertility cope with this condition. This week also provides a time for those with infertility to come out to their friends and families if they wish. NIAW also encourages those experiencing infertility not to feel ashamed.

A young couple sit with their backs to the camera, facing a river, embracing with heads down.Infertility is a misunderstood condition. The media tends to focus on the extreme stories–like the Octomom or Kate Plus Eight. Also, many newspapers and magazines report poorly on infertility, or present a skewed picture. Feature stories often focus on the female side of infertility: Infertility is not only a woman problem, it affects men as well. News reports tend to focus on age related infertility, which makes infertility look like an issue of those who chose to get settled in their careers before having children. However, infertility can affect men and women of all ages.

NIAW is also needed to spread awareness of infertility to the general public. Infertility affects 1 in 8 families, it’s likely that everyone has at least one friend or family member dealing with infertility. When the public understands infertility better, couples facing this problem will be more free to talk about what is going on, possibly experience less shame, and receive more support.

Since infertility can be a sensitive topic for those suffering with it, here are some things that we would want to avoid saying to and infertile couple:

  1. You can always do IVF

  2. Just adopt

  3. Trust me, you are lucky you don not have kids

  4. You need to relax, all that stress is causing your infertility

  5. Maybe you are not meant to be parents

  6. You are so young, you have plenty of time to get pregnant

  7. Put your career in front of having a family

  8. What is the big deal, you already have a child

  9. So whose fault is it, his or hers?

  10. If you really wanted a baby, you would have one already. Your mind is probably preventing you from conceiving

  11. It could be worse, it could be cancer

  12. Whatever you do don’t give up. It will happen someday.

We may mean well, but we need to be careful what we say. Before you speak, remember: infertility could affect you, too.

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