What to do or say when your friend can’t conceive

Your friend can’t conceive.

You care.

Your friend is in a dark place and you can tell.

She’s withdrawn.

She’s at the limit with fertility treatments.

And you have no bloody idea what to say or do to make it ok!

Well don’t worry, because I’ve got your back, and today I’m going to share with you my top tips for what to do or say to your friend who can’t conceive, based on my experience.

Do invite me to parties, baby showers, first birthdays and other events

They might not come, but that decision should be for them. While it may be difficult for them, they still want to live as normal a life as possible, and attending events might just be enough to take their mind off their troubles.

Do understand if I pull away for a bit

Both periods in my life when I’ve been doing fertility treatments, I’ve (somewhat unintentionally) distanced myself from my friends. Part of that is because I can’t handle everyone’s questions about treatment, but moreso, because life is busy when you’re undergoing fertility treatments. In between acting like everything was normal at work, at various times (not necessarily all at the same time in the month), I’d be going to the clinic each morning for a blood test, attending an appointment for an ultrasound, visiting the acupuncturist 2 – 3 times a week, visiting my naturopath, and going into hospital for the day for my retrieval. I’d also be on fertility drugs which would make me really tired, so sometimes I felt like my plate was already full, just on my quest to have this baby, and catching up with my mates just didn’t happen as often as I’d have liked.

Do talk about things other than your kids

Please. Now that I’ve got Chloe, even I’ve been guilty of this, and it’s hard because there is a little person (or more!) who basically is the ruler of your house, but I always remember attending coffees where everyone talked about their kids, and I was sat in the corner… silent. Talk about anything – food, exercise, movies, weather, stupid things you’ve seen on Youtube – it doesn’t matter, so long as it takes their mind off fertility treatments and children.

Do take my mind off fertility treatments

Invite them to a cooking class, a show, dinner or a movie – something interesting and fun that doesn’t involve children. Just like number 3, they don’t want to think or talk about fertility treatments or kids, so anything that takes their mind off trying is most likely a welcome relief.

Do make me a meal after my retrieval

The day of your retrieval is a day when you’re not feeling particularly awesome. A great way to show your friend that you care about them, is to make them a meal for the day of their retrieval so they don’t have to cook.

Do understand that the drugs may have made me do it

Fertility drugs are a bit of an unknown, and they change too over the course of your treatment based on how your body reacts and so that they can improve the results…. And some of them turn you a little bit ccrraazzzyyyy. So they may be highly emotional, or happy one second and distraught the next, or, regrettably, say something they don’t mean. They’re also under an incredible amount of stress. If you can, try to cut them a little slack, and accept their apology when they snap out of their exorcist rendition.

Do send them a card, or a gift

In my next post I will share gift ideas for people with infertility, but sometimes just a card in the mail that says ‘You’ve got this!’ will show your friend that you care and quite probably, make their day!

Do give them advance warning if you’re planning on announcing your pregnancy at a dinner or party

I wrote this in my don’ts post as well. Please don’t invite them to a dinner and announce you’re pregnant, because it will most likely catch them off guard, they’ll start to get hot and clammy, try to hold back the tears, and want to run out of the room and start crying. If you’ll be announcing that you’re pregnant at a public event, it would be super nice if you could give them advance warning with a text message or phone call, and I guarantee that they’ll really appreciate it.

Do say these things…

Fertility treatments are a minefield. How do you let your friend know that you care without prying too much or saying the wrong thing? Here are some phrases I think are wonderful, and that allow people to open up if they want to, but still let them know you are:

“I want you to know that I’m sending you good vibes”

“You know I’m always thinking of you, wishing you the very best, and sending you lots of baby dust”

“I know you’re going through a lot right now. I just want to let you know I’m here for you. Is there anything you need?’

“I’m behind you all the way. If you ever need a chat, please pick up the phone and we can go for a coffee”

“You’re strong and brave and I’m so proud of you. You’ve got this!”

“I think you’re remarkable. You can do this”


When you’re struggling to conceive, life can be a bit of a crazy roller coaster. It’s so lovely having friends and family around you who care and show their support, and lovelier if they are sensitive to your struggle.

If you have any other tips or suggestions, please post in the comments below xx

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