Infertility is a common issue for many couples. According to a 2013 study, roughly 11% of women in the United States have experienced issues with infertility. The number is only a little lower for men, coming in at 9%. It is important to note, this number only represents known cases. Unlike with other medical conditions, patients often only find out they have reproductive issues once they are ready to have a child. There is a good chance someone in your life is dealing with infertility, including the cost of IVF drugs which can be shocking. Offering support can take many forms. Sometimes, the best way you can help a patient with infertility is by avoiding difficult questions. Listed below are some of the most common questions you absolutely want to avoid asking about infertility.
Have you tried taking this IVF Med?
Your first response to finding out your friend or family member is infertile is to research solutions to infertility. This is well intentioned and it is clear you only want to help, but it often comes off as condescending to the patient dealing with infertility. Infertility treatments are extremely involved. Most plans do not work the first time. It is also common for infertility treatments to involve multiple infertility medications. Whatever fertility drug you researched has most likely already been suggested. Even if you are confident you found a miracle medication to treat infertility, it may not work for a number of reasons, such as incompatibility with existing medications or complications with medical history.
Even looking up a doctor or clinic may inadvertently come off as condescending. Treating infertility is much more personal than seeing a doctor for a checkup or other common procedure. It is important the patient has the freedom to select his or her own doctor and clinic without feeling like it is being forced on him or her. Unless you are specifically asked to help locate a doctor or clinic, stay away from bringing it up.
Have you thought about adoption?
Many couples have a difficult time deciding whether they want to opt for infertility treatments or whether adopting might be better. Part of that discussion inevitably involves the cost of IVF drugs involved in most treatments. It is an important conversation to have as a couple, but it is not something you need to bring up unprovoked. Patients going through infertility treatment are already aware adoption is an option. It is often discussed with a medical professional while planning an infertility treatment plan. Asking about adoption may seem like an innocent question, but for the person dealing with infertility, he or she feels as though they are being asked to justify a personal medical decision.
Are you sure you are infertile?
You may not think you are asking if someone is sure if they are infertile, but there are several types of questions that lead to this conclusion. This question refers to bringing up possible solutions to get pregnant, such as trying different positions or waiting until a specific time. The underlying subtext is your friend or family member is unsure if they are infertile and you think they are wrong. Infertility is a serious medical issue that many patients struggle to face. Implying the patient is not going through infertility and only needs to try something different with his or her partner comes off as insulting.
Along the same lines, you do not want to suggest all the things you or someone else you know did to get pregnant. These do not work with infertility and again come off as condescending. All it does is remind the patient how much more difficult it is for him or her to have a child because of his or her issue.
Are you stressed out?
This is another question which may seem helpful and innocent, but comes off as rude. Infertility treatment is naturally stressful. It involves many procedures and medications over a short period of time and there is no guarantee the first plan will work. In fact, most patients prepare to go through at least three or four plans. Asking whether or not your friend or family member is stressed only highlights the difficulties he or she is going through. That’s on top of the pressure of trying to find the best price for IVF drugs and whether they want to buy IVF drugs online, or whether they should go the traditional route. If you want to help with his or her stress, do not outright bring it up, but instead try and come up with ways to help him or her relax. Make his or her favorite meal, see a movie or focus on a hobby he or she enjoys.
If you take this approach, also try to avoid asking if he or she is having a good time. This simply serves as a reminder about everything that is being experienced. Or worse, it may make him or her now worry about dragging your mood down, which leads to feelings of guilt and stress.
Do you want to wait?
This question is similar to asking if the person with infertility is stressed. It is a good-natured question, often asked once an onlooker sees how difficult and stressful infertility treatment and expensive IVF medications is. One of the best ways to deal with stress is by taking a break. Unfortunately, infertility patients do not have the luxury of waiting between treatments. Not only are treatments time specific, but the odds of successfully treating infertility greatly decrease the longer someone waits.
Are you or your partner infertile?
Couples often talk about infertility as a shared issue, even if only one partner is infertile. This is because dealing with infertility is something the couple does together, no matter who is infertile. Asking which partner is the infertile one comes off as offensive and it casts blame. Not only does it diminish what the couple is going through, but it inadvertently places the responsibility on whoever is infertile, which may make him or her feel guilty. It is also information you simply do not need to know to support your friend or family member.
Discussing the Future
Another common mistake concerned friends or family members make is asking questions about the future child. The goal is to imply the treatment will ultimately be successful and let the couple imagine what life will be like after the treatment. However, it also adds even more pressure on the couple because now they feel like they must be successful. It also gets their hopes up, which may make it harder to deal with a failed treatment plan. As effective as IVF drugs can be, sometimes it is not enough to overcome fertility.
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