Just to add a different dimension to the debate (and because she’s still not 100% fit) I am doing these last five instead of Nicci. The comments that the infertile don’t want to hear are generally more devastating for a woman and irritating for a man. I think this is probably because it is the woman who gets, or in this case doesn’t, get pregnant. There is probably also an element of frequency. Society is used to seeing men without children, so it is not questioned as much. Society still expects women to have children, therefore comments are made when they don’t. Whilst I will try to get in touch with my inner female for this blog, it will obviously still be a man’s view and a fertile man’s view at that.
Perhaps you’re just not cut out to be parents
How dare you insult our ability to be parents. If you are actually saying this then you really don’t know me/us at all. The comment is just wrong as it has no basis in anything. There are plenty of people who have had children who have been TERRIBLE parents. There is no link between someone’s ability to conceive and their ability to be good parents. You only have to think of the appalling number of people prosecuted for child neglect, child abuse and parental infanticide to know that there is no basis for this ludicrous theory. On a personal note, I have been a parent and whilst I was not the best I was bloody good. I think even my ex-wife would agree on that one.
Think about all the money you’re saving.
Well you don’t know the cost of infertility treatment then do you!! The rough figure for the cost of raising a child in the UK is about £200K over 18 years. The cost of IVF is between £4000 and £8000 per treatment cycle. By the time you get to the IVF stage you have already spent quite a lot on other fertility treatments to help “natural conception”. The cost can be up to £600 a month. I actually sometimes wonder, that as we live in such a pronatalist society, why infertility treatment is so expensive? We supply drugs for free for deceases like cancer and AIDS so why are we charged for infertility treatment? Some people do qualify for free IVF on the NHS: however, it is a postcode lottery and some health authorities in the UK don’t offer any free cycles. Perhaps it is because infertility in itself is not a disease. However, some of the underlying causes are diseases which are incurable and severely effect a person’s quality of life. The treatment for these diseases are not free unless they are a form of cancer. So going back to the comment about all the money we are saving, by the time we give up trying to have children we have already paid out a considerable amount of whatever savings, if any, we might have had from not having them.
Leave him/her and find someone else who can have children.
This one affects both sexes equally. It supposes that the only reason you got together is to have children. This may have some bearing on why we were attracted to each other in the first place (having children necessitates sex – the more the better) but is not the primary reason. Of course being an honest man, SEX is the primary reason J However, what’s to say that the next person we choose wont also be infertile? Would the next choice just feel themselves to be a breeding machine? How do you find out before developing the relationship, as it’s hardly a topic of conversation for the first date! By the time it is something you feel you can discuss you may already have fallen for the person. Although walking away at this stage might be understandable on one level (after all you’ve left a relationship due to infertility already) would you actually do it?
This comment just fuels resentment and anger. It also has the power to destroy multiple relationships. There’s the relationship between the couple if the person making the comment wasn’t rebuffed immediately and an apology demanded. Then there is the relationship between the couple and the person making the comment. This is under particular threat if, rather than a comment, there is constant pressure being put on the fertile person to leave and find someone to have children with.
I only have to look at sperm and I get pregnant
Well aren’t you the lucky one. Enough said.
I KNOW that you will get pregnant soon
So you know the medical condition that I have which is stopping me from conceiving? This comment, although meant in a supportive way, is not helpful as it does not take into consideration any of the problems that you might have. Nicci and I know people who have been told this even though they have had a hysterectomy. This is an ignorant comment which just shows the lack of understanding of our problems. If the comment is made by someone you know reasonably well, and you haven’t shared some of the basic details of your situation, you can’t really blame them totally. It may be insensitive but, let’s be honest, how can we expect them to know. Unless, of course they are Mystic Meg, in which case their prediction may be true. I think the situation where this comment does the most damage is when we’ve been explaining to someone that we’re going to stop trying to conceive. In this scenarios the “don’t give up hope” and “I know you’re going to get pregnant soon” really doesn’t help at all. I know that it is meant kindly and is supposed to be supportive: however, it puts a huge amount of pressure on us. It is an attempt to encourage us to carry on trying to conceive and makes an impossible decision even harder. At some stage we have to stop trying so please support us when WE have decided that time has come. WE are the only people entitled to make that decision.
Well there you have it my brief thoughts on the final five things we don’t want to hear. I hope I haven’t been too scathing in my thoughts but it is a Man’s view on what I think of the comments not anyone else’s. You will be pleased to hear that after 20 rude and insensitive comments, spread across four blogs, Nicci’s finally got to the end of her list. So what happens next? What do we do with this information, because knowledge is power? How can exploring these comments actually help us, apart from the obvious benefit of allowing us to rant? Well Nicci’s got something special planned which, back pain and morphine permitting, she’ll share in her next post.
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