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Our Best Advice on Infertility Etiquette over the Holidays

a blog by Claire, December 23, 2012

The lights, the noise, the social events you must attend, the hustle and bustle. Santa ringing a bell on every corner and endless Toys 'R Us commercials and the focus on children and presents. This time of year is stressful enough without throwing in the added burden of dreading social gatherings with people who will inevitably say the wrong thing about infertility and trying to conceive.

So we've pulled together our list of top suggestions on Infertility Etiquette — the things NOT to say to someone who's having trouble conceiving or recently had a miscarriage or is going through fertility treatment. Feel free to pass it on to family and friends and add your own tips in the comments section below or on Facebook.

  • Think before you send your holiday card. Are you sending out a photo card? Is the one with your smiling baby in a Santa hat really appropriate for your friend who just failed an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment or had a miscarriage?
  • If the topic of infertility or pregnancy loss comes up, don't talk about how it's all up to Fate or "God's Will." This in no way lessens the pain and the heartbreak.
  • Don't offer up the statistics of how common it is to experience infertility or how common it is for a woman to miscarry. Every experience is unique to that person.
  • Don't tell the stories of how Susan "just relaxed" and got pregnant or Barbara received news on her adoption and her pregnancy at the same time. It's irritating.
  • Stop saying you envy people without children and stop complaining about your own. And if you're pregnant, don't complain about pregnancy symptoms.
  • Don't make suggestions for fertility treatment options or adoption unless specifically asked.
  • if you have extended an invitation and your friend or family member declines or leaves early, accept their decision gracefully, without a lot of questions. They have their reasons, and they'll share them if they want to.
  • Be supportive. If your friend wants to have lunch with you alone and exchange gifts rather than coming over for a big family ornament exchange, accept. Go shopping together, see a movie, have cocktails and talk. That's what friends do.

Need more help surviving the holidays? Check out our FertilityAuthority Holiday Infertility Survival Guide.


Comments (1)

This is excellent advice that should be noted not just during the holidays but all year long. People sometimes, in their haste to make everything seem "all right", do and say things that just make things worse. Slowing down during this season and truly taking stock of other people's feelings would benefit anyone's family or circle of friends.

Posted on behalf of Bonaventura Fertility, a Da Vinci® Surgery Specialist and member of the American Health Network. This post is not medical advice, and should not be treated as such. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

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