How to Support a Friend Going Through Infertility

With over ten percent of men and women of reproductive age struggling with infertility, the reality of having a friend at some point in your life who is fighting their own battle with infertility is a very real possibility, and although the journey to conceive can be a long one, support from family and friends in the interim is crucial.

Infertility is clinically described as the inability to become pregnant after a year of trying to conceive for women under 35, and for six months for women over 35. Dr. Alan Copperman, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, states in The New York Times, “The chance of getting pregnant, even for a young healthy couple, is not more than 20 percent, or one in five, every month.” Adding other factors into the mix such as being over or underweight, smoking, or other underlying conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or thyroid issues can decrease the chances of conceiving a child even more. 

For both men and women, experiencing infertility can be devastating. There is a silent grief in infertility that can be incredibly isolating and lonely. “We’ve all been taught that getting pregnant is so easy, so when it doesn’t work, it just destroys every core of our sense of being,” says Allison Ramsey, a psychotherapist specializing in fertility, grief, and perinatal loss, in SELF. We often dream of our future and the house, the job, and the children we will have, but nowhere in those dreams are doubts about being able to procreate. The challenges faced when navigating infertility can often leave a person feeling completely hollow.

As a friend, it can be difficult to figure out the right thing to say or do in this time of uncertainty. Finding the balance between being the “shoulder to lean on” and giving enough space to allow your friend time to process their own journey can be a bit of a juggling act. There is often hesitation on both sides. How do you help a friend who is dealing with infertility?

Every Infertility Experience Is Unique

Recognizing your friend’s unique journey is extremely important, as no two infertility experiences are the same. For some going through fertility treatments, the largest hurdle is the financial burden, while for others, it is administering the daily injection medications and undergoing the process of an IVF cycle. For many, grieving the loss of not being able to conceive easily or naturally is a heavy cross to bear. For those who choose not to pursue fertility options, the journey can be coming to terms with not having a child. Each person has their own reaction, emotions, and triggers when facing infertility, and it is important to be mindful of them.

Let Them Know You Are There to Listen

Letting your friend know that you are there to listen is another great way to be present. Kim Crone, a psychologist at The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services, tells SELF, “The best thing to say is ‘I’m here if you want to talk.’ This gives them space during this very distressing experience to talk about it without judgment and without opinions.” Checking in on them on a regular basis, whether it be a phone call or a simple text message, lets your friend know that you are still supporting them and are ready to listen if the time comes when they need to talk.

Don't Try To Fix the Fertility Issue

Although it is tempting to offer a solution, don’t try to fix the problem. Your friend will have already researched everything there is to know about infertility on the internet and explored their options with their doctors. There is no need to offer other options or tell your friend about another treatment that worked for someone else. Let your friend lead the conversation and be ready to support any decision that is to be made. Instead of trying to solve the fertility issue, Psychology Today recommends focusing on the smaller daily stressors in order to help, such as dropping off groceries, preparing a home-cooked meal, or offering to drive your friend to one of their appointments. Daily tasks can feel overwhelming in the face of infertility, so taking care of a few of them for your friend now and then can alleviate added stress they may be under.

Avoid ‘Helpful’ Comments on Your Friend’s Infertility

Watch out for unhelpful comments. Although they are meant with good intentions, comments such as “It will happen when it happens,” or “You can always adopt” may do more harm than good. Your friend is looking for support, but comments like these can minimize your friend’s experience and make your friend feel as though there isn’t validity in sitting with and processing their own feelings. Instead, ask your friend how they are feeling and allow them to share their experience with you from their perspective.   

Offer Your Friend Shared Activities Together

Fertility treatment can be enveloping and can often cause people to lose track of their daily lives. “It becomes so all-encompassing that couples and patients sometimes lose sight that they had a life outside of fertility treatment,” Crone goes on to say in SELF. Inviting them to do activities that they enjoy can be a welcomed distraction. Something physically active such as a hike, a bike ride, or a friendly tennis match allows them to concentrate on something else without feeling like they need to talk about their journey. This can also serve as a reminder to revisit this activity when they need to recharge.

In the end, there is no one perfect way to help a friend struggling with infertility. Each journey is different, and there is bound to be a bit of trial and error as you learn more about your friend and how they process their journey. Being present for the highs and the lows without judgment or opinion is invaluable, as is recognizing their need for space and/or an ear to listen. Simply letting your friend know that you are there to support them no matter which path they decide to take is the best course of action. Your friend will lead the rest of the way.









Rich Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015, received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension, and obtained her second Master of Science degree in Legal Studies from Loyola Law School. Peiya relocated back to her hometown, Beijing, China in 2019 and works from IFLG’s Beijing office. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Luis Sosa

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University which he received in 2013, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. Luis has worked for IFLG in both Los Angeles as well as San Francisco, and is currently based in Dallas, Texas. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”


Kim has over 30 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

Los Angeles

5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 645

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone:  +1 323 331 9343

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

New York

501 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1900

New York, NY 10017

Phone:  +1 844 400 2016

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

Molly O'Brien

Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.

Phoebe Sadler

Fertility law attorney Phoebe Sadler has a background in family law and has been practicing exclusively in the area of assisted reproduction technology (ART) law since 2018.

Rubina Aslanyan

Rubina has an extensive background in the legal field as a paralegal in Family Law and has worked in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 2012. Her area of focus is in managing and assisting clients with surrogacy, egg donation, and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s domestic and international clients. During her spare time, Rubina enjoys spending time with her family and dog Bella, traveling and cooking.

Alexander Espinoza
Legal Assistant

Alexander joined IFLG as a legal assistant in 2019, where he manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases. Alex is bilingual in English and Spanish and has been in the legal field for 23 years. Alex is excited to join the IFLG team and pursuing his will to help others in the reproductive law process. In his spare time he loves spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors, road trips, loves music and dancing.

Cara Stecker
Senior Paralegal

After receiving her paralegal certificate in 2005, Cara began working in assisted reproductive law. During the fifteen years Cara has worked in this field, she has gained a wide range of experience and knowledge that she uses to help better assist clients and those involved in the assisted reproductive journey. Cara’s primary roles involve managing parental establishment matters and coordination with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorney network, drafting contracts and parental establishment court documents and providing support to other team members. Cara finds great joy in being a small part of a team of caring people who help others achieve their dream of having a family. In her spare time, Cara enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, watching her children play the sports they love, and she enjoys, running, cycling and exploring the outdoors in the sun.

Stephanie Kimble

Stephanie received her BS in History and Political Thought from Concordia University Irvine in 2015 and her Paralegal Certificate from University of San Diego later that same year. She has been working as a Paralegal since 2016 in Family and Reproductive Law. She is excited to be part of International Fertility Law Group working on managing Surrogacy, Egg donation and Parental Establishment Cases.

Trish Pittman
Assistant Financial Coordinator

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of accounting, Trish joined the IFLG team in 2019 as Assistant Financial Coordinator. Her client-facing focus at IFLG is to assist with all client trust accounting. Trish is the mother of two daughters and enjoys spending time teaching and learning new things from them. In her free time, she loves long walks in the park and reading suspense and mystery novels.

Katie Deaquino
Senior Paralegal

Katie is a Senior Paralegal with IFLG and has dedicated over sixteen years to the areas of surrogacy and reproductive law. She received her Paralegal Certificate from Coastline Community College and has worked with some of the top law firms in the assisted reproduction community. Katie is also a commissioned Notary Public. With IFLG, Katie manages Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Parental Establishment cases and provides support to other IFLG team members. Katie truly enjoys helping others build their families through assisted reproduction and is thankful she has had the rewarding experience of assisting IFLG clients. Katie often spends her free time with her Husband, four young children and her bulldog “Bella”.

Elsa Jimenez
Legal Assistant

Elsa joined IFLG as a Legal Assistant in 2019, bringing more than 35 years of experience working in the legal profession (concentrating in tort and litigation matters). At IFLG she assists surrogates with their surrogacy and parental matters. The oldest of five siblings, born and raised in East Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents, Elsa loves “seeing the beauty of families forming” through assisted reproductive technology. She and her husband Carlos have four children and one grandson. Elsa enjoys jazz and ’80s music, being outdoors in nature, collecting teacups and tea pots, and spending time with her close-knit family.