For friends and family: When infertility strikes

Our last post on advice for friends and family members of those dealing with infertility covers family dynamics. Infertility “may highlight a family’s inadequate means of dealing with problems,” says RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. “Old family issues, jealousies and resentments may resurface or other family struggles, such as parental illness or the pregnancy of a sibling, may take priority over reproductive difficulties, leaving the infertile couple feeling isolated and abandoned.” In addition, infertility issues may damage family interactions, “particularly if family members use negative coping techniques such as blaming, side-taking, denial or avoidance.”

On the other hand, infertility also can bring out the best in families, “promoting growth and well-being for the members.”

This article discusses how infertility impacts family dynamics and discusses ways to help deal with the demands infertility places on the family system. Among its recommendations are:

  • Acknowledge infertility as a medical and emotional crisis with a wide variety of losses, disappointments and ‘costs’: physical, financial, social, marital and more.
  • Be sensitive to the pain, stress, and emotional pressure of childlessness or the inability to expand one’s family as desired.
  • Be supportive: Don’t assume you know what supportive means to your loved one but, instead, ask how you can be supportive.
  • Emphasize the importance and value of the couple (and each partner) in the family.
  • Always keep the lines of communications open.
  • Respect the boundaries the infertile couple sets regarding their infertility.

For more detail, we encourage you to go to the RESOLVE web page and click on When Infertility Strikes. After reading, please share your thoughts, comments and suggestions with other readers by posting a comment, below.

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