Let’s talk about F-words: Fertility and family.
Each topic on their own can be frustrating and overwhelming to deal with. But when your family starts asking about your fertility, that’s enough to put anyone over the edge.
I mean, no one likes to answer Aunt Sally’s noisy questions across the Thanksgiving table.
What do you do when your family planning becomes a topic of conversation among your family and friends?
We’re here to help you navigate those sensitive issues in a way that protects your privacy and helps those around you understand your situation a little better.
How To Set Boundaries on Family Talks
First, as an intended parent, you’re not forced or obligated to share your journey with anyone. You get to decide who is lucky enough to hear your story and participate in your journey.
Fertility, egg donation, and surrogacy are very personal matters. Only share what you’re comfortable sharing with trustworthy people.
We get it, and it can be stressful keeping secrets — especially from those you love. Still, there’s a difference between being private and keeping a secret. It’s healthy and empowering to set boundaries for yourself, especially when it comes to having a baby.
If you find yourself in a situation where family and friends are prying, try responding with one of these comments:
“I don’t feel comfortable talking about this right now.”
“There is so much uncertainty in the process, and we’d rather not speculate.”
“We decided to wait until after the holidays to discuss our family planning.”
“There’s not much to say about it right now.”
It’s okay to brush off their questions if you don’t want to talk about your personal matters.
Be Firm With Their Questions
Part of setting boundaries is standing up for yourself when you feel offended. We’ve heard family and friends say all sorts of comments about our personal choices when it comes to starting a family. A few of our favorites include:
“How much money will that cost you?”
“Is it worth it?”
“Why don’t you just adopt?”
“Who’s the mother?”
“You’re lucky you don’t have to go through the pregnancy.”
Often these are genuine questions or comments that come from a sincere place, but can still be uncomfortable and jarring to hear. Be firm in your responses and let them know that those kinds of comments are not okay and will not be tolerated.
Insensitive comments often come from ignorance, which leads us to our next suggestion.
Be Willing To Educate
Any insensitivity you may face often comes from a lack of knowledge or understanding. Unless an individual has experienced infertility or been through the egg donation process, they likely won’t understand the range of emotion and stress that intended parents experience.
This is where you can help others to understand. Being the educator may feel overwhelming and is likely a role you don’t want to take on, but when you can educate those around you, you’re doing an excellent service to all who face infertility. The more people know, the more accepting and compassionate they will be.
Some questions you may be asked include:
How does egg donation work?
Most people don’t understand egg donation unless they’ve been through the process themselves. By explaining the basics of the egg donation process, they will be able to see all the different moving parts. When the intended parents can find the right donor, have a successful egg retrieval, and then safely implant the baby into a surrogate, it truly is a miracle.
Does the egg donor or surrogate have any parental rights?
When it comes to women’s rights, many emotions are heightened. It’s essential to explain that egg donors and surrogates are offering these services because they want to help other families, not to be mothers. They understand that this is not their baby from the very beginning.
And to be sure there is no confusion, binding legal documents must be signed before any procedure takes place. These contracts ensure the rights of all parties involved.
What exactly is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is often misunderstood. But the fact is, surrogacy has been around for centuries. The surrogate is simply the woman who will carry the embryo through birth. She is compensated for the nine months she is pregnant.
Let them Know How They Can Be Supportive
Friends and family often want to help but don’t know how to. Infertility, egg donation, and surrogacy are taxing for everyone involved. Don’t hesitate to lean on them when you need some extra support.
Let them know when you’re frustrated and let them celebrate with you when you have successes.
Also, let them know when you need some self-care. You don’t need to attend every social event or show up at every family event. If you need to stay home for some extra TLC, then do it! And don’t you dare feel guilty about it.
Doing It Your Own Terms
You are the one who gets to decide how much you share with your family and friends. Dealing with fertility is stressful, and it’s no surprise if you find it hard to talk about.
If you decide to share your journey, make sure it’s with people you trust and who can support you. Getting the support you need from loved ones can help relieve some of the anxiety.
No matter what you decide, know that Elevate Egg Donor Agency is here for you. We have been through the process ourselves and understand exactly what emotions you’re dealing with. Don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’d love to chat with you.