Information for whānau and friends
For some, the loss of fertility is the ultimate loss of control.
Infertility means losing control of your reproductive future. It may mean organising your body and life around a series of investigations and treatment cycles. This means exposing a very personal and private part of one’s life to a group of people in an infertility clinic; it may mean being instructed when to have sex and when not to, and it may mean having to celebrate news of others’ pregnancies.
The future becomes uncertain; it can become difficult to plan careers when there is always the hope of a pregnancy in the near future. Travel plans may also have to fit in around treatment, and indeed the need for a break or holiday may have to be balanced against the need to pay for treatment or investigations.
This loss of control may manifest itself in many ways, including anger which may be directed at friends and family.
When someone we care about has a problem, it is natural to try to help in whatever way we can. If there is nothing specific we can do, then often we try to give helpful advice.
Don’t feel that you need to ‘fix’ things for them. You can’t. The pain of infertility will not magically disappear. Just being there when they ask you, will be comforting. Allow them to be sad and upset when they need to be.
Infertility is a most distressing and disabling life event.
The loss of one’s fertility and the dream of a family is similar to the death of a loved one, except that there is nothing tangible to mourn the loss of. We live in a world in which most people fulfil this dream, so infertile people are constantly surrounded by images of children and families, painful reminders of what they yearn for.
Friends and family are often having babies at the time when they are struggling with the realisation that they have a fertility problem.