6 things you must NEVER say to or ask a woman going through IVF!

Updated on: 6 April 2022, 22:02 pm IST

If you know someone going through IVF treatment, the least you can do is to be so sensitive. Don't make it worse for them with your comments!

Diana Crasta
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IVF treatment
A woman goes through a lot during IVF treatment. Care a little! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Popular Hollywood actress and model Chrissy Teigen has opened up about her
struggles with infertility. She revealed on social media that she was undergoing
IVF treatment again to conceive. She explained that she did not mind the
challenging process, but what bothered her was the constant inappropriate
questions she was being asked about her treatment and reproductive health.

Undergoing an IVF treatment is quite stressful for couples dealing with
infertility, especially for women. Hearing unsolicited advice and hurtful
comments about their condition can be detrimental to the mental well-being.
People in their social circles should always be very careful about not being
offensive and hurt their sentiments.

IVF treatment
A woman’s mental health matters before or during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some things you should never say to someone going through IVF treatment

1. “Why don’t you just adopt?”

Although adoption is an option for couples to start a happy family, especially
for infertile couples who cannot conceive, if a woman has decided to opt for the
IVF treatment, it is clear that they are hoping for her pregnancy and genetic
offspring. They are well aware that adoption is an available option, but they
have decided to go with IVF treatment after much consideration. People actively
trying to conceive do not want to hear that they should rather give up and adopt
instead. They may find a thoughtless remark about adoption insulting and
disrespectful towards their desire to have a biological child.

2. “Are you pregnant yet?”

IVF procedures can take some time. There are multiple cycles involved, several
tests and scans are performed. If someone is undergoing IVF constantly asking
them if it has worked and are they pregnant can be very demotivating. A woman
undergoing IVF will joyfully announce her pregnancy the moment the treatment is
successful. Asking her again and again can be hurtful when the result is
negative.

3. “You should track your menstrual cycle and try to get pregnant during the ovulation period.”

A person who has been trying so hard to get pregnant and is opting for a medical
treatment to conceive is always aware of when they are most fertile. The doctors
they are consulting have explained them the importance of tracking the
menstrual cycle and ovulation period. A person struggling with fertility
problems will have always done their basic research about the best time to get
pregnant.

With an abundance of fertility trackers and menstrual cycle monitoring apps, it won’t be far-fetched to say that everyone opting for the IVF treatment is well-versed about their ovulation period and is now seeking help of IVF treatment to get pregnant as everything else has not worked. It will be insensitive to ask a woman undergoing IVF treatment to track her menstrual cycle to get pregnant.

IVF treatment
Support matters! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. “You are too old now, why didn’t you try earlier?”

One of the worst things anyone can do to a woman seeking IVF treatment is to call her “too old to get pregnant” or call her “too old for IVF to work”. Asking why they didn’t try to conceive earlier is not only invasive but also violating. There is no reason for a couple seeking IVF treatment to justify anything to anyone. It is not ideal for a woman actively trying to conceive to listen to unwanted comments about how she should’ve started trying earlier. Trying not to be hurtful but being empathetic is extremely important. Plus, age is not the only cause of infertility.

5. “Is it your fault or your partner’s?”

This is another invasive question that one should never ask a woman going
through IVF treatment. Until and unless the woman wants to talk about her or her partner’s infertility issues, people have no right to jump to conclusions. Blaming or finger-pointing will only make the woman uncomfortable and not do anyone any good.

6. “Don’t worry; you will definitely get pregnant with IVF”

Even though your statement might be with good intentions, it may increase the hopes of a woman going through IVF treatment. The success rate of IVF is dependent on a lot of factors like age, ovarian reserve, quality and quantity of sperms etc.

The couple needs to stay realistic when it comes to the success rates. Hearing
things like IVF will definitely work out may raise the woman’s expectations.
Staying positive is important in times like these, but failing at conception
after high expectations can also deeply hurt a woman.

Also Read: You must focus on self-care while undergoing fertility treatment. An expert explains why

IVF treatment
Don’t clutter the mind of a woman going through IVF. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

IVF treatment and mental health

Although it can be hard to know exactly what to say to someone going through
IVF, it is your responsibility to show them your love and support with every comment you make. Sometimes, even well-intentioned remarks can also hurt a woman going through such a difficult time, and it is best to apologize right away. Besides, they need to stay calm during infertility.

IVF can take a serious toll on someone’s mental and emotional well-being as it
requires heavy medications, a disciplined schedule, and a monetary investment.
If you actually want to help and be supportive, reading up literature on fertility treatments will help, so you can imagine being in her shoes and empathize. The best way to help someone through this time is by saying, “I’m here for you.” and acting upon it by being there for them.

Diana Crasta Diana Crasta

Diana Crasta Chief Psychological Counsellor Nova IVF Fertility

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