According to the CDC, 2.4 million women of childbearing age are infertile, including 7.4 percent of married women. Cornell University says about 10 percent of all men trying to conceive are infertile. With these statistics, everyone likely knows a couple struggling with infertility.
Addressing infertility issues with these couples is tenuous, and sometimes the issue emerges involuntarily. Here are seven things not to say to parents without children. Anyone of these comments could offend parents without children.
Why don’t you have any children?
There are many reasons why people choose not to have children. Couples without children may not desire kids, they may be unable to provide for them or they might be infertile. Whatever the reason, it is personal. Presuming a couple wants to share this information is inappropriate. If a couple wants to tell you why they have no offspring, then they will on their own.
Give it time. One day you’ll have a baby.
There are some couples that will never have a baby. The CDC’s definition of infertility is, “Unable to get pregnant for at least 12 consecutive months.” For some couples without children, infertility will last longer than 12 months. It can last a lifetime.
Telling couples without children to relax is the surest way to increase their stress. Many couples without children are trying very hard to conceive, but cannot. Relaxing will not help them. Even if it could, telling them to relax does not help them relax.
There are other pleasures in life.
Nothing that minimizes infertility should be said to couples without children. There are other things to enjoy in life, but they cannot compare to the joy of raising a child. Any parent knows getting up during the night is a small tradeoff for having a child.
Maybe you aren’t meant to be parents.
This is one of the most insensitive things people without children could hear. If they want to have children, then this tells them they aren’t worthy of raising kids. It also rings harsh to couples who do not want kids. This statement says parents are better than couples without children.
Bearing a child is painful.
Everyone knows bearing a child is painful. People don’t need to experience it to understand that. Women should not complain about their childbearing experiences in front of couples without children, as it may offend them. It is painful, but mothers unanimously agree it is worth doing.
Parenting is too much work.
Similarly, parents should not complain to couples without children about the task of parenting. Couples without children are not parents, by definition. They do not have inside tips about how to raise a child. Complaining about a child is merely flaunting.
Let them say it.
Couples without children may be happy with their situation, or they may be struggling with infertility. It is best to let them bring up any related issues, as they feel comfortable. The best thing friends and acquaintances can do is listen.
CDC Female Infertility
Cornell Male Infertility