As if the world of fertility care doesn’t present enough challenges, negative commentary—which can come from even those who are well-meaning—isn’t something anyone should have to experience. Though societal knowledge about fertility, IVF, and third-party services like surrogacy and egg donation has improved in recent years, there’s still a ways to go.
We’ve outlined five comments about fertility care we think should be left in 2019 as we look to improve in 2020 and beyond.
1. “But is the baby yours?”
When fertility-care patients use treatment services, including egg donation, sperm donation, and gestational surrogacy, people may ask unfortunate, uneducated questions about whether your baby will be “yours.” Of course, as you are the intended parents, the baby will absolutely be yours. The love, connection, and care will be 100% real despite any negative, questioning commentary. Babies born through fertility care and children from adoptions are part of modern family building.
2. “What if the surrogate wants to keep the baby?”
Gestational surrogacy agreements are carefully planned and legally contracted to ensure that all parties fully understand and accept their roles. Surrogate screenings are deeply thorough, so only surrogates who are prepared and a good fit for the role are selected to take part in such programs. Insinuations that your surrogate could keep your child are from a time before legal protections for all parties were commonplace, i.e., over 30 years ago.
3. “You should just try to relax or take a vacation.”
Yes, stress can be tied to fertility issues, but it is not the sole cause of an inability to conceive. The notion that simply taking some time off will make conception possible is not based on medical fact. Conception is inherently complex, and while it is straightforward for some, it can take time and fertility care for others. Telling those who are struggling to conceive or starting treatment that they just need to relax can seem insulting and be an oversimplification of a medical issue.
4. “How much will all that cost?”
Not everyone feels comfortable discussing finances to begin with, and having someone press you to disclose how much your IVF plan or surrogacy contract will cost can be uncomfortable. You don’t owe anyone an explanation of costs for your medical care if you don’t wish to disclose that information. On the other hand, if you feel comfortable doing so, there’s nothing wrong with providing this information. The key is your level of comfort and not feeling pressured to answer just because someone can’t be bothered to do minimal research.
5. “I don’t think that’s what I’d do.”
Decisions about medical care and family building can be some of the most important decisions of a person’s life. When you are starting IVF or using an egg donor or working with a surrogate, especially if you didn’t expect to do so, the decision is going to be well thought out. Having someone dismiss the time, energy, and stress put into such a choice is distressing. The benefit of modern family building is that it provides options that weren’t available to our grandparents, who might have opted in if they had had the choice.