Questions You Should Never Ask About Someone's Family Planning Journey
Posted on November 18th, 2021
In the age of social media, we’ve become accustomed to our entire lives being lived on display in the form of posts, tweets, and selfies. With a simple scroll on our computers or phones, we gain intimate access to the lives of our friends and relatives. For many, this digital familiarity blurs the line between what is public and private. Unsurprisingly, it’s become increasingly common for people to be unintentionally intrusive when talking about certain personal subjects. One particularly sensitive topic that often invites a host of intrusive or insensitive questions is family planning and fertility.
When someone reveals to you that they have been trying to conceive without any success or that they’re going through fertility treatment, it’s natural to feel curious or concerned. It’s natural to want to ask questions or see if your perspective can be helpful in some way. However, when a topic is as sensitive as family planning, it can be difficult to see through the weeds. To help make these conversations more bearable for everyone involved, here are three questions you should never ask someone about family planning.
1. Have you tried…?
Surely, you mean well. But making comments like, “What about IVF?” or “Have you thought about third-party reproduction?” can be hurtful to a fertility patient. To begin with, you don’t know what approaches they’ve tried thus far. Many patients prefer to be private about which fertility treatments they’ve explored and other factors, like health or insurance issues, may impact what paths are even available to them. The bottom line is that you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s better to refrain from offering unsolicited advice – you’re more likely to frustrate, rather than support.
2. Isn’t fertility treatment expensive?
Money is always a sensitive matter. Combine that with the stress that comes with family planning and fertility care, and it’s a topic best avoided altogether. The truth is that a patient’s insurance, location, and the complexity of a given procedure can all impact the final cost of treatment. You may think acknowledging the financial difficulties of family planning is a way to sympathize with a fertility patient, but such comments are likely to only result in the other person feeling stressed and defensive.
3. Have you considered adopting?
Adoption is a remarkable and admirable family planning path. However, it’s not always a viable option for every individual or couple. Furthermore, if someone decides they want to pursue fertility treatment over adoption, then that is their personal decision. Asking about adoption when your friend or relative is talking about fertility treatments undercuts their decision to move forward with the choices that feel best for them. It also may imply their chosen path will possibly fail. Even if you’re bringing up adoption because you want to be helpful, the best thing you can do is simply be supportive of their decision.
The good news is, there are lots of simple ways you can show your support to someone going through fertility care. Let them know you’re here if they want to talk. Listen attentively. Do your research to better understand what they’re going through. Ask how you can help. Sometimes that’s all it takes to discover exactly what they need most – and how you can give it to them.
Get in the know
Explore the Aspire Fertility blog to learn more about infertility and its treatment options, so you can be a source of informed support for your family member or friend.