How to Support a Loved One Through Fertility Treatments

How to Support a Loved One Through Fertility Treatments

How to Support a Loved One Through Fertility Treatments

When a loved one goes through a difficult time your first reaction is to provide help in any way you can. And we know that the love and support of close friends and family members is crucial to emotional wellbeing. Just knowing someone is “there” is often the best medicine for the heart and provides strength for the journey through some of life’s toughest times.

Fertility treatments are a rollercoaster ride of emotion for couples and individuals who desperately want a baby. Often well-meaning people bombard those going through fertility issues with unsolicited and unfounded advice, meme-derived platitudes and even a dismissive attitude. These reactions come from a place of simply not knowing what to say or do. That doesn’t mean they don’t hurt.

Even a well-intended remark might miss the point entirely. But it’s hard to know the journey if you’ve never walked that road yourself. Those caring friends and family need to understand the emotional and mental load those going through treatment for infertility carry. And they need some specific ways to help. That’s why we’ve prepared this post on how you can support your loved one through fertility treatments.

Supporting Your Loved One

Of course every diagnosis is unique and the way your loved ones process their journey is as individual as they are themselves. While one person may need to vent and cry another may need solitude and quiet to come to terms with what lies ahead. Staying sensitive to their response helps you determine the ways in which you’ll help.

Learn What you Can About Their Diagnosis and Treatment

Educating family and friends about their condition and subsequent treatment is emotionally and mentally exhausting for those going through it. Do what you can on your own to find information. Be sure you use a reputable site like and dispel any myths you encounter by checking with a medically sound expert.

When you know the medical conditions that may cause infertility, any tests and procedures your loved one must undergo as part of their treatment and what they can expect you’re better able to plan your support. One word of caution: unless your loved one outright asks, please don’t offer any information you stumble across. They and their doctor are aware, trust us.

If you have questions and your loved one feels comfortable answering them, ask away. If they are more reticent and reserved about their treatments just be there to hold their hand.

Validate Their Feelings

A recent study published by the NIH suggests the majority of those with fertility issues do not share their struggles with their family and friends. Keeping this information locked away increases the risk for serious emotional fallout such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. The study also suggests the stress of not sharing with someone interferes with fertility treatments. Let your loved one know you want to help in any way you can by asking them outright. Keep your questions non-specific. “What can I do to support you?”, “How can I help you?” Or simply “Let’s get lunch!” Let your loved one know you are present for them.

Never Minimize Their Condition

Statements such as “it will happen when it’s supposed to.” Or “be patient and trust your higher power.” Are not helpful. There is no certainty in fertility treatments and a Pollyanna attitude minimizes what your loved one feels. Not everything needs a “positive spin” and when you acknowledge the uncertainty of the situation it’s mire helpful than forging a false sense of hope.

Don’t Compare to Others

One of the most unhelpful things you can do is compare your loved one’s journey to someone else you know or have heard about. Every fertility journey is unique and offering comparisons such as “I have a friend who went through the same thing…” or “All you need to do is relax, take a vacation, adopt, etc.”. Your loved one knows how they wish to proceed. Comparisons only add to their stress.

Offer to Accompany Them to An Appointment or Provide TLC

Fertility treatments usually involve many appointments and visits to the doctor. Offer to accompany your loved one or meet them afterward for a meal, a movie or just to talk. This is especially true for those loved ones who are making the journey solo. A support person is a treasure and for many procedures, necessary. Offer before they ask.

Put Their Important Dates on Your Calendar

For those going through fertility treatments there are many important dates. This is especially true when your loved one goes through IVF. Knowing when to expect appointments for blood tests, ultrasounds, egg retrieval and embryo transfer allows you to plan ahead how you’ll support your loved one. Bring dinner or groceries, send flowers or a card just to let them know you understand the importance of the procedure and are there for whatever they may need.

Offer a Break

Fertility treatments are all-consuming. Your loved one benefits from any break you offer. Sometimes just a girls’ day out or mother-daughter spa visit boosts their mood in ways you’ll never know. But keep in mind sometimes your loved one may not necessarily be in the mood to go out. When that’s the case, respect it and offer to bring the pizza and cherry garcia for an afternoon of binge-watching your favorite show.

Always Keep Your Loved One Involved-But Be Sensitive

Never exclude your loved one from baby showers, gender reveals or friend or family gatherings where babies are present. This only makes them feel more isolated. Believe us they know their friends, cousins, siblings, neighbors are expecting a baby and although you want to spare them not inviting them is far more hurtful. That being said, if they offer regrets and don’t attend let it go.

Don’t Share Your Loved One’s Journey With Others

The journey through infertility and fertility treatments is no one else’s business. Although it’s tempting to share with other family, friends, your church group or (*gasp*!) social media-DON’T. Unless your loved one specifically asks you never assume news of their fertility treatments is yours to share.

We Understand Support Matters

The support of family and friends means a great deal to those going through fertility treatments. However, let your loved one guide you and never assume you know or understand their journey. For more on how you can help support a loved one through fertility treatments contact Halo Fertility.