6 Things You Probably Never Realized Are IVF Shaming
By MEGAN ZANDER
Going through IVF can be an extremely draining time, both emotionally and financially. For couples experiencing infertility struggles, IVF is often the final chance they have to conceive a child that shares their genes. With stress at an all-time high, the last thing a couple needs is friends and family making them feel shame over their decision to undergo a cycle. But sometimes even things said with the best intentions can make us feel awful about our choice. Here are some common things friends and family say and do that you might not realize are actually IVF shaming.
Saying, "It will happen if you just relax."
Infertility is a documented medical condition, not a psychological one. Telling us the reason we're not pregnant is because we're not relaxed enough is like calling us liars, when we likely have years worth of test results (not to mention needle welts) to prove otherwise. Unless you have one of those fancy medical diplomas on your wall, skip the opinions and offer us cupcakes instead -- that always helps.
2. Asking, "Why don't you just adopt?"
It's true that IVF can cost around the same as an adoption. But like IVF, even with adoption there are no guarantees that you'll end up with a baby at the end of the process. And couples without fertility issues aren't pressured to "just adopt." Why should we be made to feel guilty for wanting a genetic connection to our child?
3. Getting annoyed at us when we can't make plans due to our medication schedule.
6 o'clock means 6 o'clock. When you're paying thousands of dollars for something that you've been dreaming of for years, you're not willing to let 6:03 be "pretty much the same thing." And no, a cooler with an ice pack is not the same thing as a refrigerator.
4. Repeatedly mentioning how expensive IVF is.
Yes, IVF costs thousands of dollars, most of which isn't covered by insurance. Many couples drain their savings, do a complicated credit card tango, or even borrow money from friends and family to cover the cost of treatment. But unless we're asking you to help foot the bill, how we spend our paychecks really isn't your business. If you aren't looking to make a donation to our medical fund, please leave the money advice to our financial planner.
5. Inquiring, "Have you tried acupuncture / sex in a special position / sex at the full moon / vitamins / meditation / this magic potion / voodoo?"
When a couple is dealing with infertility, they leave no stone unturned in their quest to get pregnant. Chances are whatever your grand plan is, we've already tried it with no success. Plus, when you suggest an alternative method besides IVF, you're not being supportive -- you're questioning my decision and low-key saying you know my own body better than I (or my doctors) do. Please don't be that person.
6. Telling us the story of your cousin's sister's best friend's neighbor who got pregnant naturally after unsuccessful IVF.
We know you're trying to be helpful. But hearing about other people beating the odds makes us feel like you're trying to tell us that we're wasting our time and money on IVF treatments. If you want to be a good friend, offer us an ice pack for our injection-sore butt, or better yet, tell us you'll be there for us no matter what.
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