Supporting a friend with fertility problems

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By Gaynor Almond, Clinical Reflexologist specialising in fertility.

With 1 in 8 couples experiencing infertility, it’s highly likely that a couple you know in your group of friends, on Facebook, or at work are having problems conceiving.

They may be keeping it private because they find it too personal and upsetting to talk about, or can not simply face being told one more time “just relax and it’ll happen”. There can be a multitude of reasons why a couple aren’t conceiving, and although stress can play a huge part it’s not always as clearcut as that.

If you sense something’s not quite right with your friend or colleague (and remember we are talking about men and women here), a good place to start is to just show your support by simply asking if they are okay, and then allow them to do the talking if they feel like opening up. By the time it gets to the point where  a person is struggling emotionally, they’ve usually already been through all the processes, undergone testing, perhaps had medical intervention like IVF which may have failed, or even experienced miscarrage. So as much as you feel you might be helping by giving advice it’s often best to just lend a supportive ear, unless of course you’ve actually experienced similar infertility problems yourself, then you genuinely might have helpful information to share.

For some couples they may already have a child, but are struggling to conceive their next, and for this reason secondary infertility can often be overlooked, as people naturally assume if you already have a child you can conceive again. Couples experiencing secondary infertility can sometimes feel they may be judged if they open up about their inability to conceive another child, because they “should be grateful” they already have one, but this doesn’t mean to say they aren’t feeling the same levels of anguish experienced by couples with primary infertility.

Overall be kind to each other, as the saying goes “…you never know what someone is going through”.