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Fertility Network UK
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Supportive friends?

Hi everyone, I was just wondering whether or not anyone has had the support of their fertile friends during this experience, or whether they'd wished they'd not said anything? I'm not sure whether to continue the pretence that 'everything's fine' or whether to disclose we're having difficulties and I'd love to hear your experiences. Thanks a lot xxxx

10 Replies


I chose two close friends to confide in. One because she is a counsellor and has some knowledge of IVF and the issues around it. I would definitely consider limiting it to just one or two people even if you have lots to choose from. When we started all this nearly 3 years ago we didn't know how long it would all take, or even the complicated ins and outs of each cycle. I think if I had several people to update, or who were asking me about it every time I saw them then I would have got fed up explaining and also fed up telling people when our first cycle failed and all the heartbreak of that.

I'm not close to my family so it wasn't a hard decision not to tell them, but also my partner has been brilliant throughout the whole thing. If you feel you have enough support from him and one or two others then I would not go into it with your other friends. If we do get pregnant then I wll probably disclose to afew more friends that we used IVF, and leave it at that. No one needs to know the full story unless you want to tell them. Also most people who have not gone through IVF will not have any understanding of what the procedures are and the emotional journey too, so I personally decided it would annoy me too much to have to spell it all out to them.

Hope you have some good support. For me it's quality over quantity every time.

Best wishes,



To be honest, I haven't found people all that supportive other than my family and a couple of friends who don't have kids themselves. I generally found that friends who are pregnant or already have children don't seem to understand and almost avoid me now - they maybe just find it awkward. I suppose it's a very sensitive and personal matter and nobody will fully understand the process unless they've been through it themselves. I didn't know what was involved until. I underwent my first. IVF round myself so why would they?

The first time we went through it earlier this year I didn't tell anyone other than my parents and in-laws until I was quite a way through treatment them I told a few other people. This time I've only told my family and anyone else who 'needs' to know like work, the girl who is looking after my horse and my next door neighbour (my hubby lives away during the week so it's nice to have someone nearby in case of problems)

I'm lucky I have a very supportive family and they only live an hour away from me so my Mum comes to visit me quite a bit and. I can easily pop home if I want to. I could do with some more supportive friends nearby because of my husband being away so much but due to moving a lot with the military it's difficult to make good friends that you trust and can talk to about this.

I'm sure there are some nice supportive people out there though, my situation is quite different to most peoples!


I'm finding life a bit easier now I've told close friends and family about our difficulties, because the insensitive comments have stopped and because we've found out about a lot of other people's troubles along the way. It doesn't always work - one of my best friends who had previously made clear she had no trouble at all still cheerfully babbles on about trivial stuff to do with her babies but is at least always willing to listen.

We haven't told anyone apart from those who really need to know (basically mum and my bosses, because I need their help) that we are actually doing IVF, because we felt it was too private and means there's an obvious date when things should have happened by, so it's too tempting for people to ask whether it has worked and we don't think we'll be up to telling people either way.

But I think above all it is a really personal question and comes down to how comfortable you are with people knowing your business in return for greater understanding, and if you think the people you tell are mature enough to give you proper support.

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I was given advice at the beginning to only tell those who we thought would be supportive, I've followed that advice. We've only told very close family and friends and our managers. Some of my colleagues know we were having IVF but I kept it very general. I'm closer to a couple of them and they had recurrent miscarriages so I feel they get it and a couple of my other colleagues had fertility treatment so we've swapped a few injections stories and I know they are there for me if I need to chat.

As we're now on round three I tend to do updates by text as this is easier emotionally for me.

We haven't told some immediate family as we're not close to them. We'll probably tell them if we manage to get to 8 weeks, we've lost 3 babies (natural conceptions) at this stage and they didn't even bother sending a text to say sorry or thinking of you, so we figured they aren't that interested in our issues.

One of our friends got pregnant as we were told we needed ICSI, whilst I found this really difficult to handle she has been really supportive and I can talk to her about the treatment and my concerns very openly. Her baby is really cute so I can't feel sad when I see him. Another friend who hasn't got any children has also been a huge support. So it's more to do with the relationship you've got with the person than whether they have children of their own.

It's your business so you get to choose who you tell and who you don't and what level of detail you tell them.


I found that friends have different circumstances and just as they appear to have been fertile that may not be the case originally, one of my friends had two misscarriages, another a cyst and another took 9 months. Admittedly those who did fall pregnant and have no issues don't really get it, but I'm the godmother to one of the boys so its great to spend time with him and she knows what im going through so she is supportive as much as she can be.

I am opened up with my close friends after after a year of trying and thankful I don't have to bottle it in. I wouldn't tell everyone just the close friends.


It is always a difficult thing to know who to tell, but you have to do what you feel is right for the two of you.

We do have a factsheet which is aimed at friends and family which may help them to understand what you are going through. You can find this factsheet here infertilitynetworkuk.com/up... and all our other factsheets can be found here infertilitynetworkuk.com/in...

Best Wishes


I've taken a bit of a scatter gun approach. For a a long time my partner and I kept the fact that we were trying to start a family very quiet, but as the years rolled on this got harder and became counterproductive.

I found I withdrew from friendships that made me unhappy - because of the stark comparison between the haves and have-not's. This made me feel extremely guilty but above all I felt I wouldn't find understanding.

When we were finally diagnosed and told that we would need IVF to conceive I was able to start talking about it more. There was something defined to talk about. I talk to 2 or 3 people about how I feel about it all while others might get the general narrative. I've told a few complete strangers that I've got a busy autumn and that I'm starting IVF. It's surprising what happens because people have told me that their children were IVF babies or that they are going through infertility themselves. It all helps - I don't feel so alone - and I don't need to talk about it unless I feel like it.

Now that I'm starting treatment soon I don't want to go into too much detail about the dates and the process. Regardless of the outcome I don't want to feel that I need to explain what is happening.

Hope this helps


Thanks for your comments, it does give me a few points to consider when and if I tell people




I told a couple of close friends who were really good. They gave me space and didn't push me to talk about it (which is what I wanted). But, I did have some negative experiences too - my BiL and his wife were so awful about it and caused me a lot if upset. It's obviously entirely up to you and some people are very open about it but I would only share with those friends you think will be capable of showing empathy!

When it came to IVF we kept this to ourselves as we didn't want people asking lots of questions and felt (even if it was good intentioned) that this would add to the stress.

Take care x


I haven't found any support around me either. I wish I'd not told anyone anything now, in hindsight.


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