Are You “Ashamed” of Being Infertile?

Dawn Davenport



When you find out you are infertile, you expect to feel sad, and you probably aren’t surprised when you also feel angry and betrayed. But one feeling you likely didn’t expect was embarrassment or shame.

My husband and I have not yet had to go through the infertility tests, treatments, etc., but we are almost to a year now of trying to conceive with no success. I’m watching many other younger and several older women getting pregnant within 4-6 months (or less) of trying. One even got pregnant while on birth control!

Is it normal to feel shame and embarrassment? A better word that describes how I feel is actually defective. I feel defective and less of a woman. So many people say it isn’t true or logical, but I can’t help it. I want to know if others struggle the same way.

Feeling Like an Evolutionary Reject

It is absolutely normal to feel defective. I would almost say it is universal, although there are probably a few people with high enough self esteem and abundant mental health that escape this feeling. One member of our online support group said she felt like a weaker person whose genes nature didn’t want to be passed down to future generations—kind of like an “evolutionary reject”.

People feel like their body has let them down, that they can’t do the one uniquely feminine thing–produce a baby. This can be translated in our emotions to feeling like a failure, and failing in something so fundamental can feel embarrassing or even shameful.

It’s a Disease, Darnit

It helps to wrap your head around the concept that infertility is a disease. You didn’t do anything to deserve this. It happened to you, and your job now is to deal with it the best that you can. Some days the best you can do is feel sorry for yourself, and that’s OK too. Tomorrow will be a new day, and you will deal better then.

Infertility is so darn unfair!!

Did infertility make you feel embarrassed or ashamed?

Image credit: Santi

04/11/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Are You “Ashamed” of Being Infertile?

  1. Avatar Stephanie says:

    After five failed rounds of IUI and 3 failed rounds of IVF, I cannot help but just feel useless. I genuinely don’t know what my marriage means without a baby.

    My husband won’t divorce, nor will he adopt, and we are soooooo far from saving for a surrogate. After several tests we are more than sure that the problem does lies with me.
    Option one, is to cheat on my husband to make it easy for him to leave and start afresh. Option two is two end my life, but that again messes with the life insurance policy, which is intended to take care of my parents in the event of my accidental passing.

    This really wasn’t part of the plan 🙁

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:


      I am so sorry to hear of your struggles and heart-break. Please know there are many other options beyond the two that you’ve named here. One would be to consult a therapist who specializes in grief and even better if he/she specializes in infertility issues and grief. There are so many things a therapist can help you think through and find healing for. Another option is couples therapy in which the two of you can work together to heal the wounds between you and find a path forward for you both. Please know that you are valuable and worthy as a person whether you carry a child or not – you are so much more than this one painful moment.

      I’ll be thinking of you and remembering you in my prayers.

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