AdultsGriefLauren GrossbachPregnancy Loss

Infertility (Part 3): How to Support Someone You Love Who is Going Through Infertility

An image of a tree branch that looks like a hand supporting another tree. Find support from a therapist by searching for one in Somerset or Union County today!

In part 2 of this series, we explored the emotional toll, relationship changes, and work life changes that can happen during infertility. In this part, we’ll discuss how you can approach a conversation with a friend or family member going through infertility as well as ways you can find support in your network and community.

What To Say

Someone you care about is going through infertility and you feel terrible. You want to support them, but you honestly have no idea what they’re going through or what they need. Everyone is different and you can’t be expected to know what will help in a difficult situation. First, think about asking your loved one directly. I often recommend being direct and kind to people struggling around you. Start with something like, “I know you’ve been going through a tough time. I’m sorry that you’re dealing with this. Would you like me to ask you about it, or not bring it up at all?”

When someone you care about discloses that they’re going through infertility, resist the temptation to comfort them with “It will happen for you” or “It only takes one”. Remember that unfortunately some people can’t get (or stay) pregnant no matter how hard or long they try for. Some people can’t get pregnant because they’ve been diagnosed with a fertility or other health issue. Some people can get pregnant but continually experience miscarriages and heartbreak time and time again. You might be wondering what you should say instead.

This image outlines different ways to support someone you love through infertility. The photo gives options to "try that" instead of this. Instead of saying, "It'll happen," you can say, "I'm sorry that this journey is so difficult for you. How are you feeling about the process right now?" Instead saying, "My friend went through IVF and she has twins now!" you can try saying, "I haven't gone through IVF myself, but I know some people who have. Do you want to tell me more about what it's been like for you?" Instead of, "Just relax and don't get stressed," say something like, "Have you found anything that makes you feel good lately?" And instead of saying, "Get your mind off it and maybe it'll happen on its own," you can say, "Would it be helpful to have some distractions? I'm free for a day/night out or in, whatever is best for you!" Look for an infertility therapist near you in Scotch Plains or Branchburg NJ today!

Handling Bad News

Watching someone you care about go through something painful can make you feel helpless. In addition to not knowing how to support them, you’re also saddened by their struggles. Perhaps thinking about their situation is depressing. Maybe they just received some bad news and you have no idea how to react. So what can we, the support system, do when the situation is bleak?

First, look inside yourself and ask which parts of you feel uncomfortable when talking about your loved one’s infertility. What is it bringing up for you? Do you feel responsible for making your loved one feel better? Do you feel guilty, scared, or sad when you remember the pain your loved one is going through?

Remember that anyone going through hard times just wants you to sit in that dark place metaphorically with them. It’s okay if you can’t turn the light on. It’s okay if you can’t make the darkness less heavy. Your loved one just wants to know that it’s okay for them to feel these messy feelings in front of you.

Provide Support

Anyone going through infertility is aware of the ripple effects of people around them. Your loved one likely already feels like a burden. They know they’re in a dark place and feel badly when others have to sit in the darkness with them. They’re torn between putting on a smile to make everyone else comfortable and letting everyone else see how painful their experience is. 

Each day will look different for your loved one. Sometimes they’ll want to talk about every detail, and sometimes they’ll want to pretend like it’s not even happening. Let your loved one set the stage. After getting bad news, feel free to ask directly: “Do you want to talk about it?” In addition, remind your loved one that they can feel and say anything they want to you about their struggle. Reassure them that you won’t judge, try to fix, or dismiss. You’re there to sit beside them and witness this painful journey. When needed, you can remind them that they’re not alone and always have you to lean on.


Another way to support your loved one is to help them find a supportive community. If your loved one isn’t ready to go to a support group, help them find Facebook groups, Instagram pages, and Reddit threads about infertility. Believe it or not, sending your friend fertility memes is a way of showing support for them.

Image of multiple people holding hands, showing support of each other through a difficult time. Look for a therapist for more support by searching for one in Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ today!

Some of the best support out there for infertility are support groups. Check with your fertility clinic or health insurance to see who they recommend. One of my favorite online communities for infertility is Rescripted. Their website and Instagram can help you laugh, cry, and maybe even feel less alone.

Couples Therapy

Recommending couples therapy or talk therapy to a loved one can be tricky. You don’t want to insult them or insulate that they’re crazy. But you want them to try therapy to see if it could help. Here are some gentle ways you can recommend therapy to your loved one:

Image of people holding hands in a group therapy session. Therapy can be helpful to overcome emotional challenges.

  • “You’re dealing with something that most people don’t have to. You deserve support from someone who really understands what you’re going through.”
  • “There are therapists who specialize in infertility that can understand your struggles. Would you consider checking some of them out?”
  • “You’re going through so much. I would be surprised if you weren’t struggling. Do you think it would help to talk to someone besides your doctor, like a therapist?”
  • “I read a blog recently by a therapist who has experience with infertility. Can I send you her information?.”

Couples therapy is not just for difficulties between partners.  Couples therapy is also to support partners going through a difficult time.  On behalf of all of us struggling with infertility, thank you for showing up and helping us feel seen. The support we receive during the difficult times won’t be forgotten when we’re back to enjoying life again. Until then, please be patient with us.

Begin Therapy in Scotch Plains, NJ, Branchburg, NJ and surrounding areas!

Healing from infertility is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our couples therapists are on your team. We are available to help you begin healing from the trauma you’ve experienced at our Scotch Plains, NJ or Branchburg, NJ counseling office. Or if you prefer, we can meet with you for online therapy in New Jersey. To get started, follow the steps below.

  1. Connect with us at Brave Minds Psychological Services.
  2. Meet with one of our couples therapists for a free consultation.
  3. Start healing.

Other Services Offered at Brave Minds Psychological Services

Other services offered at Brave Minds include counseling for postpartum concerns, couples counseling, and parent counseling. In addition to services for parents and couples, we offer services for adults with trauma and anxiety. We are proud to serve the areas of Westfield, New Providence, Fanwood, and Cranford. However, we also provide online therapy to anyone seeking services in New Jersey.

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