Talking to Family and Friends About Infertility

With just today and tomorrow left during this National Infertility Awareness Week, our post today comes from two clinical social workers at the Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. They discuss how to navigate sharing your infertility journey with others; we know you’ll find lots of helpful advice in this piece today.

National Infertility Awareness Week Family and Friends

Sharing your infertility experience with family and friends can be tricky, so it’s helpful to think through how much information you want to share and with whom.

One of the hardest parts about going through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or other protocols is that it feels as if you have little control over your life. However, one of the things you can control is who you share your feelings with and when.

Before discussing your experience, think about the kind of relationship you have with the person. How helpful, supportive and nonjudgmental can you anticipate them to be? Will they be respectful of boundaries that you may set?

It often helps to say the following to the people you love, in advance, “We promise we will tell you when something important happens, but please let us bring it up.”

If there is someone in your life that has a particularly intrusive communication style, let your partner run interference for you. Try not to share specific dates, such as when you will have your pregnancy test, so you won’t be bombarded with well meaning questions at a time when you might want some privacy.

Frequently, people start out sharing quite a bit of information about their experience but find, if their treatment needs to continue, that it feels more comfortable to share less as they move along.

We are all different and our relationships with our friends and relatives vary. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of what to share and with whom, but it definitely helps to put some thought into it.

For more information, view this video about emotional well being during IVF.

About the Authors

Anne Geoghegan, LICSW and Laura Lubetsky, LICSW are Clinical Social Workers at the Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.


  1. I try to keep in mind that people usually have the best of intentions but they are really totally at a loss as to what the infertility journey is. If you respond gently, but directly I think it might help to educate people about the intricacies involved. However, there is always an intellectual understanding and an emotional one and I think in infertility there’s a fine line between them and it’s often blurred. No one can possibly understand something that they are not even aware of though. Don’t expect people to read your mind and then be resentful that they don’t .

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