Infertility impacts 1 in 8 couples, meaning there is a good chance that someone you love is struggling with it – even if you’re not aware of it. Many of the men and women dealing with infertility suffer in silence due to the stigma surrounding this illness, but a strong support system is crucial to dealing with the negative impacts infertility has on their emotional and psychological well-being.
In honor of National Infertility Awareness Month, the fertility experts of UNC Fertility discuss some ways to support loved ones struggling with infertility. Whether you use only one suggestion or all six, you’ll feel the glow that comes from supporting those you love.
Supporting Infertility Organizations
Infertility can be financially daunting, isolating, and confusing. Luckily, organizations like RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association provide crucial services to patients struggling with infertility. Providing resources such as financial assistance, advocacy programs, and support groups, RESOLVE helps support anyone who finds themselves challenged as they strive to build their family. Help support their mission by providing a donation that will help provide services in your local community or by becoming a volunteer. Every bit of support can help make a difference. Visit RESOLVE.org to see how you can become a member of their fertility support movement.
Creating a Supportive Environment
One of the most common problems individuals coping with infertility come up against are the well-meaning but insensitive comments people make about having children. “Just relax, it’ll happen” and “What are you waiting for? You’re not getting any younger” are a couple that rear their ugly heads regularly. While those giving this unsolicited advice don’t generally mean any harm, these types of comments can be painful for the person on the receiving end to hear.
So, what can you do? The fertility experts of UNC Fertility suggest you jump right in! If you overhear something that makes a loved one uncomfortable, feel free to intervene by steering the conversation in a new direction, pulling the commenter away, or simply by letting them know how insensitive their comments are. This will help take some of the pressure off of your friend to diffuse the situation.
Just Be There
Sometimes one of the best things you can do for a friend struggling with infertility is to just be there. Whether they want someone to just listen, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to do distracting activities with, your comforting and non-judgmental presence can do a world of good. Make sure to reach out regularly to check in, make plans, and let her you’re there for her no matter what.
Giving the Ultimate Gift
For women whose struggle with infertility is due to a low quantity or quality of eggs, their path to parenthood will likely involve egg donation. If you’re willing and able, egg donation is one of the most generous and selfless gifts you can give to those struggling with infertility. By donating your eggs, you are providing someone with an opportunity to become a parent they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Becoming a Gestational Carrier
If you’ve already had children of your own, there is another way for you to give a profoundly impactful gift – acting as a gestational carrier. For women who have a malformed uterus (or no uterus at all), a history of multiple miscarriages, or a medical condition that makes carrying a pregnancy dangerous, their only chance for having a biological child is by using a gestational carrier. Deciding to become a gestational carrier is a deeply personal choice, but many gestational carriers find that providing someone with the chance to become a parent is an amazingly rewarding feeling and a profound way to provide fertility support to those in need.
Dealing with infertility isn’t easy – it can take a huge emotional, physical, and financial toll on those it impacts. But having a strong support system can help ease the burden. If you’d like more fertility support ideas, call UNC Fertility at 919-908-0000 to speak with one of our team mem