What not to say to each other when you are struggling with infertility

What not to say to each other when you are struggling with infertility

When you are struggling to get pregnant, it can test your patience.

There will be times when the frustration or pain or injustice of it all will make you want to scream.

But if you are going through this as part of a couple, try very hard not to do the screaming at each other.

What not to say to your partner when you are dealing with infertility

It’s all your fault

If the reason for your struggles as a couple is because of something your partner’s body is or isn’t doing, this is still not their fault.

This is something they have no control over, and about which they are probably already quite upset.

Even if it is something they had some control over, such as their weight or previous drug usage, reminding them of this fact is not really helpful.

They already know!

It’s all my fault

Again, there may be some truth in this, but it is not helpful.

Blaming yourself will not increase your chances of getting pregnant, but will heighten your level of stress and anxiety.

Your partner does not need you blaming yourself for this situation, or trying to shoulder the pain alone.

You are in this together!

It is irrelevant what the cause of the problems is, and in many cases, you won’t get a definite reason or diagnosis.

Look after each other and wherever possible, remove the blame game from your minds.

My ex now has three kids

You do not need to tell your partner that your last boyfriend is now father to three healthy children.

Your partner does not find this information useful.

You will make him feel inadequate at a time when he already feels pretty low.

If you are throwing this out in anger or frustration, don’t do it.

Keep this piece of information to yourself, or whine about it to someone else, not your partner. It’s a passive-aggressive way to say ‘It’s your fault, and I would be better off without you.’

Unless you want to actually be without them, don’t say it.

If you are considering your ex as a donor or surrogate, tread very carefully, this is dangerous territory.

It can work when couples are very open in their communication and are good friends with their ex-partners, but this would be a rare occurrence.

If you are seriously considering your ex as a donor, work out a very considerate and thoughtful way to raise this with your partner.

You need to lose some weight

For the sake of a long and happy relationship with this person, do not tell them they need to lose weight, ever.

If your partner’s weight is reducing their chances of conceiving a doctor will tell them, or you could approach the matter more tactfully by providing reading material on the subject in general.

You could phrase it more along the lines of, ‘I think we both need to eat a bit more healthily to build our immune systems for the processes we are going to go through.’

Again, you are in this together; it is not really productive to put all the burden for self-improvement onto your partner when the two of you are a baby-making team.

There are better uses for the money

Some of the biggest things couples fight about are children and money.

Saying this to your partner will very effectively kill two birds with one stone and start a huge barny.

If you have already spent a lot of money trying to conceive without success, you may reasonably feel that the money would be better spent elsewhere, but there are better ways to say it.

Do not say, ‘If I bought a new car, at least I would have something to show for the money,’ or ‘If we stopped trying to get pregnant we’d have a deposit for a house by now.’

If you want to stop trying, there are other ways to phrase it.

Using the money as the sole reason may not be wise, and your partner may not agree that this is a good enough argument.

Maybe you should go back to work

If your wife has taken time off work to get pregnant or is still off on maternity leave from a previous baby, and you have been trying to conceive without success, do not tell her to go back to work.

Do not raise any points about how you are the only one working, or if she is not pregnant then financially she could be helping out more.

Better ways to try this include, ‘You might enjoy having another interest or distraction, why don’t you take up some studies or look into doing a bit of part-time work to get your mind off things?’

Remind her gently that she has other parts to her apart from just producing children, even if this is the thing she wants most of all right now.

It could be healthy for her to work and focus her mind on something else, especially something that could be rewarding, but you need to approach this conversation better.

Calm down (see also, ‘Are you getting your period?)

Never, ever tell anyone that you want to calm down, to calm down.

It will not work!

If your partner is hurting or angry or frustrated and yelling at you, then most likely it is not really directed at you, but because of the added stress.

If you still love each other and value your relationship, don’t tell him or her to ‘Calm down.’

You do not necessarily have to stand there and take it, maybe try to extricate yourself from the situation to preserve the peace, or better yet, offer an alternative like humour or hugs.

Maybe hand them a puppy or food; that always stops people yelling.

And if you are talking to your female partner, who by the way is trying to get pregnant, do not ask if she is getting her period. IT WILL NOT GO DOWN WELL.

Some awesome alternative ways to get your frustration out


Angry sex or loving, tender sex; either can be good to make you both feel better.

It has the added benefit of reminding you that you were a couple first, and sex used to be about other things than getting pregnant.

Who knows, this might be the lucky time?

But remembering that you are a couple and in it together can help you be kinder to each other.

Try just kissing or cuddling, or a date night where no one mentions babies.

You probably both need a break!


Get to the gym and take up boxercise or boot camp, or something equally physical and satisfying.

It will help you get fitter, which is good for conception, can make you laugh and will get your tension out of your body (and not onto each other).

Any exercise will do, try running, cycling or swimming to get that anger and pent up energy out.

Seek professional help

It is natural for this process to put stress on yourselves and your relationship.

If you find you are having trouble talking, listening or connecting then an infertility counsellor could really help.

An external objective person can help you see things from each other’s point of view, and give you homework as a couple.

They may also have suggestions for better ways you could be dealing with things, or alternative treatments that you haven’t tried.

Whatever you do, remember you are in this together.

You may not be getting pregnant right now, but if you push this person away, where will you be then?

Look after yourselves first and each other second and your future children must come after that.