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How to Help a Woman Cope With IVF Fertility Treatments

What can you do to help her through in fertility treatments? These tips for helping women cope with in vitro fertilization (IVF) are inspired by a mom who wants to see her daughter get pregnant.

Here’s what she says:

“My 30 year old daughter had two IVF procedures,” says D. on Why Didn’t IVF Work? 5 Reasons In Vitro Fertilization Fails. “The first one was “successful”, even though the embryo died not long after seeing the heart beat. The second IVF treatment didn’t work. My daughter has problem with her eggs maturing. This time they used a procedure to help the embryos hatch. Her uterine lining was perfect, all her hormones were perfect, and her embryos “Grade A.” They implanted two embryos, and nothing…the pregnancy test was negative. Why does this happen? Needless to say I have a devastated daughter, and she has a very sad mom and dad, we don’t know what to say or do for our daughter.”


In Why Didn’t IVF Work?, I list five reasons in vitro fertilization doesn’t result in a pregnancy.

If you’re a husband whose wife is having a hard time getting pregnant or is coping with the disappointment of failed IVF treatments, read What He Can Expect When She’s Not Expecting: How to Support Your Wife, Save Your Marriage, and Conquer Infertility!

And here are a few tips for helping a loved one go through in vitro fertilization procedures…

How to Help a Woman Cope With IVF Fertility Treatments

First, you need to know what in vitro fertilization is! If you aren’t sure, read What is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Fertility Treatment?

You may also be interested in Does In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Work? What the Research Shows.

Remember that you can’t make her feel better about not getting pregnant

“I suffered through six IVF failures and have NO family support,” says Pam, a reader who is devastated about infertility. “There is nothing you can say, but you can be there for her and give her hugs. She’ll need them and will feel very alone as she copes with in vitro fertilization procedures. Infertility has been the hardest, most painful experience of my life.”

Don’t expect more from yourself than you can give. Sometimes the best way to help her go through IVF is to just be there – don’t say anything, don’t try to make her feel better, and don’t look on the bright side. Just hold her.

Don’t give her advice or tips on getting pregnant, unless…

If she asks for your opinion on how to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization, tell her what you’ve learned! But if she doesn’t ask, then don’t share your tips.

At the beginning of our infertility journey, I was very interested in hearing how other women conceived – from in vitro fertilization procedures to turkey basters! But now that I’m 95% sure we won’t be getting pregnant unless God performs a miracle (which is possible), I’m not so interested in listening to pregnancy stories.

I don’t know where your loved one is in terms of fertility treatments, but it’s safe to say that you should offer her advice unless she asks.


Ask her what she needs from you

Different women cope with in vitro fertilization procedures – and infertility – in different ways. Me, I like to be asked why we don’t have kids, if we ever considered adopting, how the IVF treatments went, and how we feel about not getting pregnant. Other women are sad, hurt, disappointed, angry, frustrated, and even bitter that they don’t have children.

How does your loved one, friend, or family member want to be helped through fertility treatments? Ask her. Ask if she wants to be asked how the IVF procedure is going (and if she’s pregnant), or if she wants you to wait for her to update you. Ask if she wants to talk about it.

Tell her you’re there for her

One of the best things my husband said to me: “I don’t know how to help you through the in vitro fertilization, but I’m here for you. Tell me how to help you.”

Sometimes that’s all you need to say: you’re there to help her cope. You love her, you want the best for her, and you’ll do whatever you can to help her through this.

Expect good and bad days

Some days I’m perfectly fine with not having children; other days I’m sad about it. These mood swings are normal in women who AREN’T pumped full of hormones – and a woman going through IVF procedures will be extra sensitive, emotional, and even unpredictable. Hormones can wreak havoc on our physical bodies and emotions. Your loved one may be positive and optimistic about in vitro fertilization one minute, and negative and brooding about it the next.

Part of helping her cope with IVF fertility treatments is letting her flow through her moods without judging or even mentioning her feelings.

Again, the effects and results of IVF are different for every woman. If your loved one isn’t part of an infertility support group, encourage her to join one. Being with other women going through fertility treatments may help her cope better, and give her a perspective you can’t.

For more fertility treatment tips, read Success Rates of Getting Pregnant With In Vitro Fertilization.


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8 thoughts on “How to Help a Woman Cope With IVF Fertility Treatments”

  1. Thanks for your comments, Tony! It sounds like you’ve had some personal experience with infertility treatments. I like your quip “promise you the moon, and give you a spoon.”

    For some couples, the gamble of paying for IVF treatments is worth the risk of not getting pregnant. I wasn’t willing to take that risk, because I didn’t want a baby that badly. I also didn’t want to mess with my health. The money was a minor concern, but we were fortunate enough to have the cash to pay for IVF if I wanted it.

    Some men do know how their wives feel about IVF, and others don’t. I guess the best way to help a woman cope is to ask her what you can do to show her you love and care for her. Don’t assume you know what she needs.

  2. I hate to say it but most men who are going through IVF know exactly what there wives are going through including all the anguish, agony and feelings of loss. The one thing they can’t do for their partners is take their place when going through the frequently extremely uncomfortable and invasive procedures. Very little is written on how men might feel and I suspect most of us blame ourselves for it all happening in the first place. In fact you might even find that your partner blames you anyway so save the time.

    By the way all this new age crap about rubbing your head with cow dung or spending several hours contemplating your naval at full moon does not help people. I am fed up with the number of ‘cures’ that well meaning people spout when they find out your an infertile couple. I know they are just trying to help but it does not. Just accept it, nothing you say can make it alright, sometimes life is crap so get over it. If you wanted a better way of wasting money with more certainty of getting some value for money on your infertility back then get the same amount of money that you were going to spend on IVF and take it down to the casino and put it on black. You will have more chance of getting your money back.

    The IVF industry (and it is an industry) make an awful lot of money by promising the moon and giving you a spoon. There are a lot of things that clinics will do to make their success figures look better than they actually are such as refusing treatment to the ‘hopeless cases’ or claiming a treatment is successful if there is pregnancy but no live birth. Enter the process with no rose colored spectacles and no expectations and you will be better off than thinking it will succeed just because x celebrity had a baby at 40 because they have a lot more money than you and probably used someone else’s eggs or you are using some relaxation technique taught to you by a shaman from the outer reaches of Bangalore.

  3. My daughter in law just went through her second ivf process without success. I’m constantly checking sites to give the parents some insite on how to help because we feel so helpless. It’s very painful to watch your children go through this incredibly stressful journey. My heart goes out to all the couples who are trying everything in their power to have children.

  4. Thanks for your comments! Going through IVF fertility treatments is so difficult, but it helps when your partner is there to help you cope. Different women cope in different ways, which means you really need to know your woman in order to help her cope!

  5. Mark @ MyLife Counselling Guelph

    This is a great article to help male partners develop some empathy for the difficult process this is for their female partners. Thanks for sharing this info. – Mark

  6. I am just beginning the IVF process. Really glad to find your blog–I have read so much today! This made me feel better about the mood swings. I can really relate to being fine not having kids one day and feeling destroyed by it the next day. I don’t think I am like most women. I am trying to find something out there that supports going thru with IVF even if you really don’t want to. It seems like everyone doing IVF is excited about it and wants to do it. I have to fake it. I am doing this for my husband–he deserves to be a dad. My family really pushed us too, so I guess I am doing it for them too. I have really bad endrometrosis so IVF is the next step. Thanks for writing.

  7. Hi Laurie,
    Thanks for a thoughtful blog. I have counselled people with fertility concerns, and have had friends with the same. With friends I found it was helpful to not bring it up unless they did. It was so tempting to ask, “How did your last treatment go?” However, I knew that if there was anything to report, they would do so. It was also important to meet them where they were, so that when they were hopeful and excited, I could support them. When they were dejected, if they felt like crying, I could be with that as well.
    Thanks again.
    Caron

  8. Jean-Paul Thuot R.Ac

    I have numerous fertility patients coming to see me. One of the things I strongly recommend is some sort of mindfulness practice, such as TaiQi, yoga, meditation or QiGong. I appreciate your perspective, have posted this on my FB page, and wish you the very best in your journey, no matter how it turns out.