My #1 Pet Peeve in Infertility and Adoption

Dawn Davenport


Does unwelcomed and uneducated advice in your infertility struggle drive you absolutely up the wall??

My #1 Pet Peeve in Infertility or Adoption

“No, I have never thought of that because I prefer to make the biggest and most expensive decisions in my life by using a Ouija Board!?!”

Imagine this scenario:

You’ve been trying to get pregnant for 2 years. After about 6 months you start reading everything you can find about trying to conceive, download 3 (not 1, not 2, but 3) ovulation apps on your phone, ban hot baths and bike riding for your husband, and buy ovulation predictor kits in bulk. At about the one-year mark you see your gynecologist, start on oral medications, and start researching fertility treatment. At the two-year mark, it’s safe to say you know enough about fertility to give a TED Talk. You share your struggle with a co-worker who says “Have you tried raising your legs after sex—it really works!”

Or this scenario:

You went through years of failed fertility treatment, and then slowly but surely started researching and discussing your next options. You agonized over every option and start saving every penny. You settle at long last on domestic infant adoption, and have by now sat through endless informational meetings, joined a couple of online forum, and could probably write a book about adoption. You share that you are waiting for a domestic infant adoption and your acquaintance says “Have you thought about surrogacy or adopting from China—they are basically giving those kids away.”


The “have you thought of” and “have you tried” questions drive me NUTS! The assumption that I would not have thought my decision out thoroughly, tried every reasonable approach, and researched the heck out of every possible option is insulting!

I Am Being Petty

Before you say it, let me beat you to the punch– I know I’m being petty. I totally realize that people are trying to help rather than trying to insult. They haven’t walked this path, so they have no way to really know how much work is behind every decision. They sense our pain and frustration, and they want to do something. In my better moments, I know this.

In my not so better moments I want to shout—DON’T GIVE ADVICE WHEN YOU ARE CLUELESS!

What I Want to Say

“You mean you have to have sex to get pregnant—Oh, gross!


“No, it never occurred to me to think about surrogacy or international adoption. I prefer to make the biggest and most expensive decision of my life using a Ouija Board.”

What I Should Say

Knowing as I do that most people are not trying to drive me to drink, I should use this as a teachable moment to help make life better for the next poor soul they want to “help”. I should respond with:

“Infertility is unfortunately a disease that no amount of hip raising will cure. We are seeing many medical specialist and exploring many options. Thanks for your concern.”


“There are advantages and disadvantages to all types of adoption and surrogacy. No country has an over supply of children now. We’ve done more research than you can imagine, and feel comfortable with our decision, but thanks for your concern.”

Tell me that I’m not alone: does unwelcome advice drive anyone else batty?

First published in 2015; updated in 2018.
Image credit: Charlyn Wee

12/02/2018 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 9 Comments

9 Responses to My #1 Pet Peeve in Infertility and Adoption

  1. Avatar Karrie says:

    My favorite thing lately (4 years fertility treatments 2 years into the adoption process) Is that since people have found out we’re wanting to adopt they tell me adoption horror stories!!!!! That’s great, thanks for the encouragement, cause I haven’t had enough stress over the last six years. I’d love to think about all the things that could go wrong. And I’d love to hear about your friend who has raised 3 adopted children and how they’re all disfunctional and one is a drug addict and one is in jail.

    I know people mean well, but I just wish they’d think about what they’re saying before they open their mouth. Arghhhhhh!

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Karrie, it’s hard to imagine them thinking that horror stories are helpful. It would be one thing if you said we are thinking about it, but are undecided. But if you’ve said you are in the process, why tell. I’d hate to see what they would do if they didn’t mean well!

  2. Avatar Sam says:

    Yes! I have had to think about this a lot lately and unwelcome advice drives me completely insane! I think it drives everyone insane but I sometimes feel that being a parent through foster adoption puts me in the position of receiving a lot of parental advice from people who know nothing about raising children from this population, let alone raising my precious snowflakes because they came by their precious snowflakes through biology and birth. No one in my little world has adopted or is familiar with the foster care system and I know they just don’t understand that I have to parent my kids differently with different rules and expectations to manage my kid’s needs. They shouldn’t know these things because they are not living it, but it is really hard not to get angry in the moment when I’m on the receiving end of advice that might have value for someone but for me, is quite stupid. Sometimes I feel like telling people that I don’t need to learn about parenting from them because my kids aren’t biologically mine but they might want to take a few notes from me because my situation has forced me to educate myself and learn a great deal more about children, behavior and development than the average parent knows.

  3. Avatar Jocelyne says:

    We started the adoption process during my sister’s first pregnancy. She struggled with unexplained infertility for years, so we were all thrilled for this miracle child. Even though church folk knew we were adopting, some stated I would be pregnant next or get pregnant after adopting as if my sister had magical pregnancy power. It is hard to get pregnant when you physically cannot get pregnant, all the parts have to be there. My husband’s favorite response was, “My wife’s baby maker is broken.” They were really dumbfounded when they found out we wanted to adopt older kids, really “old” kids – age ten and older – instead of babies. They looked at us so confused, this allowed us to quickly walk away from the annoying questioner.

  4. Avatar Cathy G. says:

    When I want to be helpful to someone just starting to consider their options in terms of infertility issues and/or adoption, I tell them about Dawn’s website and share the link to it. That way I know they’ll be getting good quality information. ?

  5. Avatar Anon AP says:

    Person who knows everything: “Whatever. My friend’s second cousin’s aunt’s brother and sister-in-law once had trouble getting pregnant for 6 months until they went on vacation and just relaxed and *poof* pregnant, so I’m sure that eeeveryone else visiting REs and undergoing innumerable procedures and tests is just trying too hard. It’s the evil medical complex trying to take everyone’s money, you know?…and if relaxing doesn’t work, you could just adopt. Lots of people get pregnant after adopting. That’s what I hear anyway. And also all of my friend’s friends got pregnant after they had just given up trying. Kind of like finding a life partner right? Things just happen when you least expect them. So stop trying to expect things and maybe that will help. Wait, why are you looking at me like that? No, no wait, stop! No! I don’t want to hear all those details! Stop following me and talking loudly about ovaries and menstrual cycles! ….wait, they had to do what to you to figure this out? You had to get how many blood tests? And…gah! No wonder you snicker every time you see a brown paper lunch bag! and the doctors said….I don’t know statistics, but that sounds bad…Oh, no, this is really complex and hard and…eeep! my bubble of foolishness and ignorance just popped! noooooo!!!!!!!”

    Infertile person responds: “Sheesh, calm down. It’s just life with infertility. What are you getting so wound up about?”

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      AnonAP, you win the award for the funniest comment of the day. I’m still smiling. It’s the assumption that they, who know almost nothing about this incredibly complex topic, would even presume to give advice to someone who knows a huge amount about the topic. What chutzpah!!

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