11 September 2018

Supporting Family & Friends With Fertility Problems

When it comes to fertility and pregnancy, it’s easy to presume that everyone is able to get pregnant and have kids as and when they want to, but sadly that isn’t the case. There are a large number of couples that struggle to get (or stay) pregnant, and this can take a huge toll on their mental health and happiness. 

The fact is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six percent of women in the US of childbearing age are infertile, while another 12% struggle to get or stay pregnant. Of course, fertility problems don’t just occur in women either, many men suffer from fertility problems just like women do. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in around 35% of couples with infertility, the man is to blame for the issue as well as the women. In around eight percent of cases, it’s the man alone that is the problem. Did you know that just under ten percent of men aged 25 to 44 in the US reported that they and their partner saw a doctor for advice regarding pregnancy and fertility testing at one point or another. 

Fertility problems are fairly common, so if you don’t suffer from them yourselves, the chances are that someone who you know and care about will do. If this is the case, it’s essential that you know how to properly support them, as couples who are struggling with infertility require a strong support network. Wondering how you can do this? Below are some tips and advice for supporting couples with infertility!

Supporting Family & Friends With Fertility Problems

Be sensitive 

It’s important to understand that for someone who is struggling to conceive, a lot of things can make them upset and stressed. From hearing that someone else is pregnant to seeing a baby on the street in a stroller. As their friend or family member, you need to be sensitive to this and do what you can to help them. 

If they share the fact that they are upset, tell them that you are there for them. Don’t say that you understand, because unless you’ve been through what they’re going through, you can’t understand. As long as they know that you are there for them and are empathetic to how they are feeling, that’s all that matters. 

Don’t minimize the problem 

Far too often people try to minimize the problem. So, a friend says that she is suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome and has a reduced risk of getting pregnant, a common response is ‘Oh don’t worry, you’ll be fine’ or ‘My friend, Lucy has polycystic ovary syndrome and she has three kids, so you will be fine’. 

These kinds of responses are not helpful as they minimize the problem. You might think that you’re helping someone with fertility problems by making out it’s no big deal but actually this only makes the situation worse, because the person is already aware that it’s a big deal and it doesn’t help that they feel unsupported by the people who are meant to care about them the most. 

Be informed 

If you want to properly support a friend or family member who is struggling with fertility issues, it’s important to be informed. The fact is that for couples who are trying to conceive but have fertility issues, having to explain time and time again what is what can be annoying and traumatic, so do your best to stay informed. 

Say, for instance, your friend says she has PCOS which is what’s causing her fertility issues, spend some time researching the condition to see what you can learn about this condition. The more research you do, the less questions you will have to ask her. 

Show support 

One of the best things that you can do to help a couple who is struggling to conceive is to show your support. There are a range of ways that you can do this, and it completely depends on your relationship to them and what problems they are having. 

For instance, if a female friend has endometriosis and is unable to carry a child so is considering surrogacy, spend time helping her to research what’s involved and how it works - to learn more about this route click here and have a read. You would be amazed at the amount of support that you can find online. 

It’s not easy supporting a loved one who is struggling with their fertility but it’s something that they will truly appreciate. Be there for them, show them that you are with them every step of the way and whatever they need you will help with.


  1. My heart is really rend for friends that have a problem getting pregnant and some times there is nothing that can be said to help or encourage and one just needs to be sad with those that are sad. Sometimes there is a lot of frustration and anger below the surface as folk say under their breath 'Why Me?'. It maybe that true friends need to be ok with that frustration and anger being taken out on them, however hurtful that may be.

  2. Some of our friends that have struggled with fertility have also struggled to pay for the treatment. It probably varies across the world but I don't think all insurance policies pay for infertility treatment and even in the UK, where health care is free for most, many couples end up paying huge sums when the limited help available free is exhausted.

  3. It must be an incredibly painful and disappointing issue dealing with infertility. I appreciate your article so that everyone can gain insight into this.


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