We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the things they wish people understood about infertility, and their answers were brave and unflinchingly honest:
1. "Please don’t tell us how 'lucky' we are that we can get a full night’s sleep, sleep in late, or go out anytime we want."
"I would LOVE to be woken up in the middle of the night by a child who’d had a nightmare or to get up early for them. There is nothing 'lucky' about being infertile."
2. "I hate it when people say to 'just relax' and it’ll happen. That’s not how it works. Three years of infertility, multiple labs, scans and invasive tests, and one big fat diagnosis. Relaxing isn’t going to magically give me more eggs or turn back the clock on pre-menopause. It’s even worse when it comes from a medical professional."
3. "If 'being positive' made babies, I'd have skipped some heavy rounds of Clomid, Letrozole, four IUIs, two surgeries, tears, a miscarriage, and 4+ years of trying."
4. "Opening up to friends and loved ones is hard, full of people offering unsolicited advice, and others trying not to bring it up because it’s too hard or awkward for them to talk about."
5. "The support of friends is huge. Just reaching out and saying, 'I’m thinking of you, if you need me I’m here,' or even, 'I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know I’m there,' can make all the difference in the world."
6. "Deciding to live child free isn’t giving up or a cop out. It’s a completely valid choice that couples make for emotional, personal, and financial reasons. It’s okay to chose yourself."
7. "Just because it took you three months to conceive does not mean you understand the struggle of it taking years."
8. "I wish people understood how expensive it is trying to get pregnant. I spent thousands on tests, miracle tricks, apps, books, and eventually the RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) before having my son."
9. "We 'can't just adopt.' Adoption is incredibly expensive, and even if you can afford it you're not guaranteed a child. It’s not as simple as being put on a wait list for a few months. You often end up waiting and hoping for years, and then it doesn’t work out and you experience even more heartbreak."
10. "Aging each day kills you a little bit. Every day that passes makes pregnancy less and less likely. I try not to think that way, but at each doctor appointment I am told I'd now have a 'geriatric pregnancy,' and I'm reminded of one more thing I can't control that will push my dream further out of reach."
11. "Infertility isn't just an 'older person' problem. My husband and I were 22 and 26 when we were diagnosed with male factor infertility. We're now successfully pregnant through IVF (with 4 more embryos in a freezer) but if we had waited until our 30s that may not have been an option."
"Even if you don't want kids RIGHT NOW, it's worth it to see a doctor and make sure you're keeping all your options open."
12. "Just because I'm young doesn't mean it hurts any less. I'm 16 but have been told it is extremely unlikely I'll ever have children. Everyone says, 'Oh you're young, so it's not like it matters yet,' but knowing there will probably never be a mini me hurts more than I could have possibly imagined."
13. "I really hate the assumption that because you're in a same-sex relationship you should 'just adopt.' My desire to be pregnant and have a child is still there. It doesn't stop because I'm in a same-sex relationship. My biological clock is THUMPING."
14. "I wish people understood that infertility is a deeply personal issue and sometimes you don't want to talk about it. I didn't share with my family my infertility troubles until after I had finally become pregnant."
15. "People need to just stop asking about a woman's plans to have a baby. One of the hardest things when my husband and I were trying to conceive was having to deal with 'When are you guys going to have a baby?' or 'Do you want kids?' I just wanted to scream, 'Yes, okay?! But my body doesn't work like it's supposed to. Now, kindly get out of my uterus and mind your own business!'"
16. "Infertility doesn’t just affect those who are trying to get pregnant. I found out when I was 22 and single that I would need help getting pregnant due to 'unexplained infertility.' The scariest part is finding a partner who isn’t scared away but is ready to take on this challenge together."
17. "No one asks how treatments/surgeries are going or what we're going through. When I bring up infertility people get uncomfortable, and it kills a conversation."
"The worst part is I know people talk/gossip about our situation, but not to us."
18. "Infertility is FOMO to the extreme. It's constantly feeling happy for others but so damn sad for yourself and your partner. It's a struggle to not let the envy make you bitter."
19. "Successfully having a child does not negate how difficult infertility was before you had your kid."
20. "Don't say, 'If it's meant to happen, it will happen.' I've spent every day since I was 6 years old imagining I had a baby of my own, but apparently it isn't meant to happen."
"I've been trying for 8 years. I've looked after so many of my friends' babies while they were out partying and wishing they didn't have a kid. All I've ever wanted is to be a mum and it's the one thing I can't have. Stop taking it for granted."
21. "The endless ultrasounds and blood tests and invasive procedures done on your body take a toll both physically and emotionally. Every single cycle is a rollercoaster of emotions where you try and that tiny shred of hope appears only to be devastated yet again when you find out you’re not pregnant."
22. "For the love of everything, save the 'miracle baby' stories. They don’t help and just make us feel that much more inadequate."
23. "The grief that comes from infertility is similar to any other grief. You carry it with you. Sometimes, you forget it's in your pocket but other times you take it out and wallow in all those 'what-ifs' and 'firsts' that you may never experience."
Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.