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What Not to Say to Couples Coping With Infertility

If you know a person or couple coping with infertility, you may not know what to say or talk about! So, here are a few tips on what NOT to say to couples coping with infertility, plus six tips on what TO say.

Before the tips, here’s an excerpt from I Am More Than My Infertility:

“Many women face their infertility believing that if they can only have a child, all of their problems will go away,” write Marina Lombardo and Linda Parker. “But infertility isn’t resolved because of a pregnancy or adoption.”

As true as this may be, it’s definitely not something to say to couples coping with infertility! This book is about not letting infertility destroy your life. Click on I Am More Than My Infertility for more info on riding the infertility roller coaster. And, read on for what not to say to couples coping with infertility – and six tips for what to say.

What Not to Say to Couples Coping With Infertility

1. “Are you pregnant?”  Or even worse:”You’re not pregnant yet?!” 

2. “Tell your husband to eat more pumpkin seeds.”

3. “Stop trying, relax, and you’ll get pregnant.”

4. “How did the IVF go – did it work?” 

5. “Jeez, there are already tons of kids out there that need moms who don’t have them. Adopt already!”

6. “You need to move on. You have people who love you, a great job, and a beautiful home. You don’t need a child.”

7. “Adopt a baby. Everyone who adopts gets pregnant right after!” 

8. “You’re only 32, so relax. You have lots of time.”

9. “Take my kids for the weekend. Then, you’ll be glad you can’t have any of your own.”

10. “I’m sorry you had a miscarriage….but at least now you know you can get pregnant!” 

11. “Take a vacation – that’s how I got pregnant.”


What to Say to Couples Coping With Infertility

Remember – every situation is different, and some of these statements or questions won’t work with all people trying to get pregnant.

1. Don’t give advice. While I personally like hearing stories of how other couples coping with infertility got pregnant, not everyone does!

2. Ask how they’d like to be treated. I’ve asked friends who weren’t coping with infertility, but were just trying to get pregnant this question: “Do you mind if I ask you how things are going with trying to get pregnant, or should I just wait until you tell me?”  I’d appreciate if someone said that to me about infertility treatments! Then, I could tell them how I want to proceed.

3. Talk about other aspects of life! I’m doing SO MUCH MORE than “just” trying to get pregnant. I’m a full-time freelancer writer and blogger, I travel regularly, I’m involved with two book clubs and a writing club, I volunteer, and I’m trying to get my books published. If you know someone coping with infertility, talk about the other parts of her life!

4. Don’t tell her/him how to feel. “Don’t be sad, it’ll be your turn soon,” isn’t something many women struggling to conceive like to hear. Nobody likes to be told how to feel, especially about something as painful and personal as coping with infertility.

5. Don’t treat infertility like a disease. Not having sperm or mature eggs isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s similar to struggling with cancer, heart disease, or a genetic disposition (so I guess I should say DO treat it like a disease!). Just don’t treat it like it’s something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

6. Tune in to what he/she needs. Some people struggling with infertility want to talk about it; others don’t. Some are fine going to baby showers and kids’ birthday parties; others aren’t. Probably the best thing is to follow the person’s lead. That is, if she doesn’t want to attend a family gathering because of all the children and questions, then don’t push her. How do you know what your friend needs? Ask!

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Friends, what are some of the worst and best things people have said to you about coping with infertility – and are your suggestions for what people SHOULD say?  Please share below! And if you have any questions about talking to couples with infertility, just ask….

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2 thoughts on “What Not to Say to Couples Coping With Infertility”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Yikes – that’s a terrible thing for someone to say to you, Jane! I can’t believe someone could be so cruel.

    When people are that mean, I think they’re in pain. It’s the meanest people who are in the most pain; they want to hurt others so they don’t feel so bad about their lives.

    I wouldn’t know what to say in response. I’d probably just walk away and never speak to them again….and try my best never to be that insensitive to other people coping with infertility or miscarriages or anything at all! Like what you’re doing 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to comment; I wish you all the best.


  2. On top of all the comments I’ve heard that you mention in your article, the absolute worst thing someone ever said to me was that this might be a sign of God’s infinite mercy, because quite likely I wouldn’t have made a good parent, therefore the miscarriage was God’s way of preventing a tragedy. Kind of like “Miscarriage is nature’s way of preventing a horribly deformed baby”, but with a more judgemental spin.

    The comment was so brutally shocking, it took my breath away; I felt as though I’d been punched. What can you say in response? I realized that there are a lot of people in the world who are either ignorant, mean-hearted, or well-meaning but just plain insensitive. Also, a lot of people who are incredibly misguided about the nature of God.

    I don’t give those people the time of day. But I’ll never forget. And it’s made me be more sensitive (I hope) to those around me who are hurting.