What to Say to Someone Going Through IVF

Updated on January 16, 2019

I Don't Even Know What To Say And I'm Going Through It!

After being unable to have kids for the past 5 years, I started the IVF process in June of 2016, and I was feeling like quite the trail-blazer since none of my close friends or family members (at least that I know of) have gone through the process.

It wasn't that I wanted to hide that I was doing IVF, but I was a little hesitant to tell people, because I had no idea how they would react.

  • Would they congratulate me on being unstoppable in getting pregnant?
  • Would they give me a tissue and expect me to cry for not being able to conceive "the old fashion way"?
  • Would they think it was too premature to share this ... and advise me to wait until after my 1st trimester to even speak of babies?

I wouldn't know until I asked... and so, I decided to start with seeing how strangers reacted before moving on to friends/family in order to "test the waters."

Stranger... Reactions

I decided to do my "first test" at a women's networking luncheon, where I sat at a table of 10 with a group of strangers. The moderator asked us to go around the table and introduce ourselves in two ways: 1) by our business 2) by one "interesting" personal fact.

As luck would have it, I went last. And the 9 women before me, each said their business followed by something as (highly?) personal as "my favorite color is blue". When it was my turn, I said my business followed by "something interesting is that I'm going through the IVF process right now."

Even though I said it in a neutral tone, all side conversations stopped; women put down whatever they were about to pop in their mouths; and all eyes were on me!

After an agonizing moment, the woman next to me broke the silence by saying: "You don't even look that old!" (which I think was a compliment?)

Then, the woman across from me, started scribbling on a napkin frantically. She folded up her napkin and passed it to me, and it read "I had 5 kids using IVF... but let's keep this between us because I've never told them."

Before I left the event, another woman approached me with a suggestion. She said "I can refer you to a sex-pert (which I'm guessing is a sex expert), so you don't have to "settle for IVF being your last resort" (which I think was meant to be thoughtful, but sure didn't feel like it at the time).

The good news was after those reactions from strangers, I felt more prepared to handle anything friends or family would throw me.

Friend-ly Reactions

Here were some of my favorite friend reactions:

  • "I'm so happy for you! I think it's awesome that you can do genetic screening and pick the healthiest embryo and even the sex of the baby. I know the sex I would choose!"
  • "Let me know if you need anything. I'm always here to walk and talk with you"
  • "I don't know anyone who has done IVF, so I don't know how to respond to that." -- which was actually really refreshing and gave me space to think about how ideally, I wanted people to respond and why I was telling them in the first place. My revelation was that I didn't want advice -- I just wanted an outlet to share what was going on in my life -- and why i might be more hormonal than normal (grin)

Telling friends also opened up opportunities to address any misconceptions smack on!

For example, one friend -- who is also a Mom -- asked me: "Does that mean it is uncomfortable for you to be around kids? Would you rather not be around kids right now?".

We ended up having this great conversation about how the OPPOSITE is true for me. Being around kids, keeps my passion alive for having kids. I'm so glad we discussed this assumption, because it would have been way more painful for me -- not to be invited to something with her kids -- and feel "shut off" from the very family events I'm committed to attracting in my life.

Priceless: Pharmacist Reaction!!

My FAVORITE reaction to IVF was from my Pharmacist, who I totally felt like having some fun with.

As part of the initial protocol, I was put on birth control pills for 10 days. Yes, I did say birth control. (Birth control medications can decrease the chances of cysts and better allow the doctor to control the timing of the cycle)

An e way, in order to get birth control -- like any other medication -- you have to re-assure the Pharmacist that you understand what you're taking. So, after explaining birth control pills, the Pharmacist said -- "do you have any questions?"

I responded: "no. I'm just excited about using these to get pregnant."

The initial look on his face was PRICELESS! (My guess was he was probably thinking -- if anyone needs birth control -- it's a woman that thinks like this... LOL)... although he did eventually get it.

Family "Secrets"

My mom inquired: "Is this is a secret... or can I tell anyone?" To which I responded: "Would I really tell anyone if I didn't think it would be repeated?" (especially since "family secrets" is the best example of an oxymoron)

Plus, it is important to me for people to know I'm going through IVF, because I want to be here for other people going through the process in the future and turn IVF into something that women don't feel embarrassed to talk about in public.

Within a day of talking to Mom, I started receiving text messages -- from both numbers I recognized and numbers I didn't -- including "we're praying for you"; "we're thinking of you" and "best wishes". And I was thrilled to get all the prayers and thoughts we can get!

I felt very lucky to have both sides of our family be very supportive.

So What Should You Say to Someone Going Through IVF?

After writing this article, I realize that "what should you say" is the wrong question. The better question is "how should you be?"

Although some people said things that unsettled me, if I felt like they were "being" loving and intending to support me... I couldn't fault them. After all, as I said in the beginning, I didn't even know what to say about IVF until I was going through the process. (I wish I had more role models who went through the process -- or spoke out about it -- and so yes, I'm stepping up to be one for any other women who are going through or considering IVF)

Moreover, my biggest takeaway is that it's not even about how other people are "being" to me, but most importantly, how I am being about IVF -- which totally influences how people react to my news. When I was "testing the waters" and neutral -- it was more likely for people to react in a way that didn't appeal to me, as I hadn't given them any "cue" about how I felt about it and gave them a lot of power to control where the conversation went.

However, when I later told family and some friends with excitement, it seemed to transform their listening and how favorably they reacted.

So, just maybe the lesson is not only to set the stage on how to react to IVF -- but to set the stage for how I want others to react to other things in my life.

As my friend candidly said: "I don't know how to react" and waited for me to tell him.

What if we told and/or "cued" people on how we wanted them to react, as opposed to letting their emotions or immediate thoughts take the conversation in a different direction? After all, you can't control what others say; but you can potentially control how likely they are to say it -- based on how you're being.

And future baby -- one day, when you read this article -- you'll know that how i'm being about you is excited, hopeful, and ready to get pregnant!

What Will YOU Say?

When Someone Says They're Going through IVF... what is your most likely reaction? (based on real responses I've gotten)

See results

IVF Role Models

Who Is Your Biggest IVF Role Model

See results

Take THE "IVF: Fact or Crap" Quiz

view quiz statistics

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      3 years ago

      i just want to share light on my experience about me giving birth to my first child after marriage, shout it loud, go out and reach others who have not heard of it was what got on my mind after i saw the result of my pregnancy test i did which was positive. mother iya basira is really doing a great works within and outside just try it and you will testify just as i am testifying now, i have this infection that lead to womb blockage and there was no hope at all the hospital i went said nothing but that there on hope for 4 years that i have waited no child then i came across mother iya basira recommended to me by my sister and she is a wonderful native herbalist who told me she can do it but i was scared because she was a lady but since i had no child i have to comply with how she will help with her powerful medicine and i carried my child in three weeks in contact with her and using her herbs, just try it and see your time to celebrate has come for women who seek permanent solution to their giving birth problem . you can reach mother iya her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/native.iyabasira and her email address is nativeiyabasira@yahoo.com

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I will repeat what I said on my text to you: "You're amazing, and you are providing a gift to so many people" by going public like this!

    • profile image

      Jill Becker 

      3 years ago

      My friend put herself through law school to have a profession that would support her while she went through IVF and then raised her child as a single parent. Her beautiful daughter graduated from college 2 years ago!

    • profile image

      Judy Block 

      3 years ago

      Good luck! We are excited for you and Scott! The difficulties just make the results so much more precious! Although a life of two adults is very satisfying and rewarding also!

      Our best wishes and prayers as you go through this process, Xox mike and Judy


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)