By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 09/03/2015

Being unable to naturally have offspring is frustrating. The couple may need to accept they need help to achieve pregnancy. Once they decide to consult a professional, many questions arise from the psychological point of view. Many fertility centres have a psychological cabinet available for patient care.

One of the most frequently asked questions refers to the fact of announcing they have resorted to a fertility clinic. Should we tell our family and friends we are undergoing a fertility treatment? There is no clear answer to this question, since every couple is different and should think about which option is more suitable for them and which one will make them feel more comfortable.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Ways to face infertility

For some people, sharing information about the process and the treatment they are undergoing is a relief and helps them overcome the situation without frustration. If this is the case and the couple does not feel uncomfortable, it is recommended to explain what is happening. The couple decides how much information they want to share and with whom.

Some people do not mind talking about infertility and answering any question others ask because it makes them feel nurtured and that people are not just being nosy. In this situation, the treatment might be easier since telling others about your situations can be liberating and even therapeutic.

On the other hand, there are some people who want to talk about the treatment in a clinic but do not want to give too much information. When patients tell people about the treatment they are undergoing, if they don’t want them to ask uncomfortable questions, they should openly say so.

What do experts recommend?

It should be pointed out that the treatment is a very private topic, that they would prefer people not to ask them about it and that they will keep their relatives and friends informed.

This way, patients are not hiding any information but they are not put under pressure to answer every question from their beloved ones either.

Although they have good intentions, a person cannot choose how to react to certain questions and this situation might increase the anxiety created by Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).

Some people are more reserved and prefer not to talk about the fact they are visiting an assisted reproduction clinic, a completely understandable option.

Other underpinning causes

It is important to analyze why the person decided not to tell about the treatment, so it is advisable to think and find out if the person does not want to say anything because of shame, fear of failure, or because informing others is unnecessary.

If it is not associated with the desire not to share information and there is something else the patient wants to hide, it is recommended to visit a psychologist in order to overcome negative thoughts and face infertility in a healthier way.

Benefits of informing the family

All options are legitimate because each person is the owner of his feelings and free to manage his life. Infertility should not be treated as a taboo because more and more women decide to have children later in life and, sometimes, a pregnancy cannot be achieved naturally.

If patients decide to talk with their family members, they can experience many benefits as they can rely on their beloved ones and must not hide the different moods experienced while undergoing a treatment.

This way, the fear of being discovered is also deleted. If the couple spoke up about the topic, they would not have to lie to their relatives and friends when they go to the clinic or have to administer medication. It is the same situation at work: telling your boss may increase your availability to attend medical appointments.

Each couple has to make up their minds on behalf how they want to deal with their own emotions.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information
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