How open should you be in telling others about your infertility? There are pros, for sure, but also cons.
How open should you be in telling others about your infertility? There are pros, for sure, but also cons.

There has been a push of sorts to bring infertility out of the shadows. Open up; tell the world; you owe it to the movement. How else can we change public opinion and legislation affecting infertility treatments unless people know who are the faces of infertility? While I completely understand and agree, I wonder about the downside to openness.

Pros to Openly Talking about Infertility

  • Infertility is nothing to be ashamed of and continued silence lends the impression that there is.  We all need to talk about infertility to remove the stigma.
  • Talking about infertility allows others to support you. Most people in our lives want to be supportive, and giving and getting support are the essence of family and friendship.
  • More people than you can imagine have experienced or are experiencing infertility. You won’t find out about them unless you let people know you are infertile. You may be a blessing in someone else’s life by letting them know what you are going through.
  • Being open about infertility, allows others to be open about their struggles in other areas with you. Once people understand that you’ve experienced great pain in your life, they may feel comfortable talking with you about their life pains.

Cons to Openly Talking about Infertility

  • Infertility is personal damnit. It involves sex—ineffective sex maybe, but sex nonetheless, and it’s no one else’s damn business. ‘Nuff said?!? Besides, diminished ovarian reserves or male factor infertility can make you feel less of a woman or man, which is not something you want to readily share.
  • Talking about infertility makes you open to everyone’s advice, and we all know how unhelpful most advice about infertility is when coming from the fertility blessed.
  • Infertility is too tender a subject to talk about with the world. Talking about infertility makes you cry and you don’t choose to be this vulnerable with people outside of your closest circle.
  • Some people are very judgmental about infertility treatment, and some even oppose it on religious or moral grounds. Many of these folks are self-righteous and not above judging someone who avails themselves of modern fertility treatments.
  • Once you open the door about your infertility, you can’t go back and close it. Everyone will know you are infertile and will always know you are trying to get pregnant, or that your child was conceived through fertility treatments.

Open vs. OPEN

There is open, and then there is really open.  It’s possible to be honest that you suffer from the disease of infertility, but be private about the details, especially the details of what fertility treatment you are using and when.

Selectively Open

I’m a big believer in getting support.  Without support you may end up wearing out the subject with the few people you’ve told.  Even your dear spouse could probably benefit from your having someone other than him to bounce your feelings off of. The best support, in my opinion, comes from the “been there, still in the midst of it” or “been there, and lived to tell the tale” crowd. Even if you choose to keep mum with the rest of the world, consider joining an in-person or online infertility support group. (One of the best is the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group)

How open have you been about your infertility. If you had it to do over again, would you do the same?


Image credit:  Pete Georgiev