Fertility Language Sensitivity


#1

No matter how good intentioned they are, all of us in the fertility world have heard insensitive comments from people who could have said things a [I]better[/I] way (see: http://fertility.org/xfa-groups-group/the-stupid-things-people-say-to-you-about-infertility.11/group-detail).

I wanted to start this thread to hear your opinions on appropriate and inappropriate fertility terms.

Here’s some examples to start us off:
[B] Inappropriate [/B]
“Who is it?” (when asking if it’s the male or female reproductive issue)[B]
Appropriate[/B]
N/A (not appropriate to pry about this)

[B] Inappropriate [/B]
“You can just adopt!”
[B] Appropriate[/B]
I’m sure you’ve thought about several options to grow your family. Are you pursuing any of the alternative options at this time?
[B]

[B]Inappropriate [/B] [/B]
“When are you going to have kids?” [B][B]
Appropriate[/B][/B]
What are your opinions on an appropriate way for people to ask this?

Thank you for your input! My goal is to put together a document of these suggestions, so we can educate our family and friends, and save our hearts from falling in our stomachs when people don’t think before they speak. :oops:


#2

For the kids question, I prefer, “Are you hoping to have kids?” I think it’s a better question for anybody, because it’s not pre-insulting the childless-by-choice, and it lends itself to talking more about emotions than the off-putting details of “trying”. Plus, it’s appropriate for anybody no matter how far out they want to have kids, so they can respond however they want. If they just got married, they can say, “Yes, maybe in a few years.” If they’re dealing with infertility, they can say anything from, “We’re hoping, but it’s been hard on us because we’re dealing with infertility”, to, “Yes”. If they’re childless-by-choice, they can say, “No, we’re happy with our family the way it is.” And then if they’re trying right now and excited, they can be as excited as they want to be and tell you all about it if they wish. The key is then not to follow up with something intrusive. The best follow-up is either an “I’m so happy for you” or a “I know you’ll be so excited when the time comes” or a “I’m sorry to hear that; I wish you the best of luck.” I think it’s the best way to start no matter how close you are, but of course if you’re close, you can add a, “Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. Would you like to talk about it?” or “Do you mind if I ask you a question? I’d love to know more about what you’re dealing with.”


#3

Oh, and, I would like to tell everybody in the world to drop the stupid “Just relax, it’ll happen!” Not only is that unsound medical advice, but I know what they’re really trying to convey is that they care that you’re stressed out and want to help you feel better. A better thing to say is, “Please make sure you’re taking care of yourself! Are there things you can do to try to relax and decompress while all this is going on?” And if you’re close, it’s best if you can actually help the person instead of spouting platitudes, by saying something like, “Would it help if I took you out for a coffee date/pedicure/&c. next weekend?”


#4

Thank you KMC! Great suggestions!

Just changing a few words to get “Are you hoping to have kids?” is so much better. “Please make sure you are taking care of yourself…Can I take you out for a pedicure?” sounds amazing. I wish everyone would say that to me haha :slight_smile:


#5

[B]Discovered I was pregnant 2 weeks after my Hens night and 2 weeks before my wedding, Was soooo over the moon and was going to annouce at my wedding. That was until i ended up in hospital due to bleeding, they had me sitting in the consult area whilst they ran blood tests ECT… At one stage they said it was Rhesus Factor… Then they told me it was to early to see anything on an ultrasound and basically sent me home with scripts for repeat bloods. Finally the day before my wedding they had me have an Ultrasound done and concluded it was ectopic and that i had 2 choices i either had to have the MEXOTRATHE?? (sorry for spelling) or an operation to remove my tube but basically made it sound like i really had no choice but to have my tube removed ASAP!! as i was approx 8 weeks along… So i went ahead and had my tube removed and got married the next day…
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#6

For some reason this ended up in another forum and I believe it was intended for here:

[QUOTE=“Atifrazza, post: 1788803, member: 84635”]For the kids question, I prefer, “Are you hoping to have kids?” I think it’s a better question for anybody, because it’s not pre-insulting the childless-by-choice, and it lends itself to talking more about emotions than the off-putting details of “trying”. Plus, it’s appropriate for anybody no matter how far out they want to have kids, so they can respond however they want. If they just got married, they can say, “Yes, maybe in a few years.” If they’re dealing with infertility, they can say anything from, “We’re hoping, but it’s been hard on us because we’re dealing with infertility”, to, “Yes”. If they’re childless-by-choice, they can say, “No, we’re happy with our family the way it is.” And then if they’re trying right now and excited, they can be as excited as they want to be and tell you all about it if they wish. The key is then not to follow up with something intrusive. The best follow-up is either an “I’m so happy for you” or a “I know you’ll be so excited when the time comes” or a “I’m sorry to hear that; I wish you the best of luck.” I think it’s the best way to start no matter how close you are, but of course if you’re close, you can add a, “Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. Would you like to talk about it?” or “Do you mind if I ask you a question? I’d love to know more about what you’re dealing with.”


عاطف رضا[/QUOTE]