How do you answer such direct and sometimes painful questions as “Why are you trying so hard?”, “Are you sure you’re doing it right?”, and “Why don’t you just adopt? You will get pregnant if do.”
Everyone, including total strangers, will ask you a silly question concerning your reproductive life. For the couple dealing with infertility, either primary or secondary, these are not easy questions to answer. Being prepared with ‘come backs’ and quips can help to relieve the ‘pressure’ of answering them, and will also let the questioner know just ‘how much’ is any of their business.
Lets start with the “Are you sure you’re doing it right?” question. There are several ways that you could answer this question. A direct answer of “Yes!” pretty much does it, and let’s the questioner know that it is none of their business. You can also take a more humorous approach and answer with “You mean that going to the doctor, having my legs put in stirrups, and having the doctor remove my eggs so they can be fertilized in a petri dish by my partner’s sperm, and then going back three days later so they can be put back into my uterus is the wrong way? But I so enjoy it every cycle!” Not only does this kind of response let the questioner know how silly their question was, but it also let’s them know that you do know the right way and this is it for you.
The “Why are you trying so hard?” and other questions and statements similar to it such as “You will get pregnant if you just relax (go on vacation, have sex in a hot tub, etc.)” can be answered a few different ways. You can be blunt with the questioner and say “We (relaxed, went on vacation, or didn’t try hard) for _____ years, and we did not get pregnant. What makes you think that would suddenly work now?” or “If we had sex in a hot tub, all that would happen is that my (partners) sperm would get killed, and we would have to wait another three months to start trying again!” Another way to answer is by stating the facts with “We have to try hard (can’t relax, go on vacation) because I don’t ovulate without medication (my tubes are blocked, he has a low count, etc.). If we stop now, we won’t suddenly get pregnant.” Of course, there is always the humorous quip of “Oh my gosh! You must have discovered the miracle solution to infertility!” followed by ‘the look’ that says you must be kidding.
“Why don’t you just adopt? You will get pregnant in no time.” This is usually followed with the story of a friend’s, cousin’s, sister-in-law’s, brother’s wife that did this and got pregnant. This can be a little tougher to answer or reply to. However, you do have medical evidence on your side that states this is just a wives tale. The fact is that only about 5% of infertile couples that adopt get pregnant, and that is the same for those that do not adopt. Answering that adoption will not ‘cure’ your infertility problem, but that it may be an option for you further down the road should be enough to let the person know not to ask again.
Do we dare to look at the “Why haven’t you had a baby yet?” and the “Are you pregnant yet?” questions that everyone seems to love to ask? Unless it is a close family member or a friend that you want to share your infertility diagnosis with, the best answer might be “We like the practice.” or “We keep trying.” and leave it at that.
The point to keep in mind with answering any question similar to the ones above is to try to realize that the questioners are not trying to be rude, and they are not trying to hurt you. Try to keep a sense of humor about it and answer when ever possible with a humorous reply. Educating others that infertility is a medical condition that requires medical treatment may stop them from asking someone else “Why don’t you just let nature take its course?”