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With one in eight couples in our nation struggling with infertility, chances are you or someone you know has been affected by it. A couple you care about could be one of those eight and exercising some infertility etiquette and compassion is helpful. Dealing with infertility is a very personal and sensitive issue and emotions of those dealing with it, are often on a wild roller coaster. Thoughts can range from feeling like a failure, to worrying about the future, and stressing about finances. Emotions sway from optimism to hopelessness and back and if you are seeking fertility treatments, hormone swings from the injections can also impact the way you feel. For those of you who know someone dealing with the challenge of infertility, here are a few suggestions for you to be supportive and sympathetic of your not-so-fertile friends or family. For those of you in the depths of infertility share this with your support systems. This may help them find ways to show you they care when they just don’t know what to say or do.

Think before you speak. (Good rule for any topic!)

Let them know you care–be supportive.

Don’t tell them to relax. Relaxation does not cure infertility, nor does stress cause it.

Validate their challenge. It is a big deal!

Keep your reasons why this is happening to yourself. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Offer a listening ear, but let them bring it up.

Realize their understanding and comprehensive of parenting. Talking about the woes of parenting is like telling a blind person they should be happy they don’t have to buy sunglasses.

Be sensitive to sharing your pregnancy and baby news. People suffering from infertility can be happy for you but choose a private and personal way to tell them.