A "Not" to do list for anyone who has family / friend dealing with infertility.
- Do not talk to the world about the couple's fertility issues. Respect couple's wish of secrecy about infertility - Yes, so I shared my problems with you but that does not mean you can talk to others about it. People dealing with fertility problems would not want the whole world to know. And if someone needs to know about it, let it come from the couple!
- No unsolicited advice please - "Go on a holiday and you will come back pregnant; didn't person 'X' get pregnant on their 2nd honeymoon. Pray at such and such temple and you will be blessed with a baby. Ask your husband to try Shirshasana yoga!"... Yes, most of us must have heard all such advice. But there are times when what one needs is medical intervention and we have excellent doctors who can give advice for our situation. So please refrain from giving advice and if we need your advice we will ask for it.
- Don't suggest adoption - And please don't suggest giving up trying for a baby. Everyone knows about these options. Years ago (when I was not on this journey), a friend mentioned about another friend who had failed to get pregnant even after 8-9 years of marriage & trying to conceive, and one of my comments was "why don't they adopt." Now when I look back and think of that incident, I am glad that I was not saying this comment to the couple in question, only they know what all options they would have deliberated upon and what all efforts they must have made to have their baby. And if a couple wants to adopt they will, it is their choice and the decision has to come from within. At the end of the day, it is the couple's decision whether they want to try again or choose alternative options. If we need suggestions / help in deciding; we will ask for it.
- And please do not even try to console by mentioning the downside of being pregnant / having children. I have heard umpteen number of times "Good, that you don't have kids as they can be so naughty / your routine revolves around them / you cannot do things which you enjoyed and used to do when you did not have kids...." Hey, if it was as bad why did you have kids! I know you are just trying to console but please not with such comments.
- Do not mention high profile people who went through infertility. Celebrities can afford to go through cycles after cycles of IVF which many cannot. They have lot of advantages; they can afford to have a dedicated medical professional just for themselves which many of us cannot even think of. Whether a celebrity struggled with infertility or not, their situation is difference from many women.
- Not wise to mention about examples where someone got success in their 6th or 7th IVF. Fertility treatments are costly and one has to be reasonable & realistic about how much can they stretch in this journey. Once while I was waiting for my turn to meet a doctor, I overheard the doctor mention to her assistant "Oh, but they both are working, why should they be worried about the treatment cost!" You can never know what all financial liabilities someone has. The couple would know to what extent can they go on their journey of trying assisted conception.
- After a failed cycle, do not console by saying "Fertility treatments are attached with a probability. Maybe not this time but next time!" I know friends / family want you to look at the bright side and not cry on the failed attempt. But at times like this I want to shout and say - "I did not want a next time, I wanted it this time."
For the couple going through fertility issues, it becomes a very difficult phase of life. and as their friends / family its your responsibility to help them sail through by just holding their hand and be there to support them if they ask you for any support.
Do not judge!