Infertility support groups online
8th March 2019
Planning to have a baby is a major life transition, and can undoubtedly place pressure on your relationships. Unfortunately Planning to have a baby. It can be a lonely, confusing and difficult journey – one that I know first hand. Infertility support groups online can provide much needed support. When I was experiencing fertility problems and struggling with pregnancy loss, hearing other people’s stories really helped and made me feel less alone. This International Women’s Day, we’re shining a light on why the communities that are helping people get through these difficult times.
Why infertility support groups online are important
When you’re struggling with infertility, wider relationships with your family and friends can become more fraught. Strong support networks are important for everyone’s emotional health and wellbeing, and have been found in research studies to protect against poor mental health. Building social connections can help us to feel happier and more secure, and give us a great sense of purpose.
Infertility support groups online can help you connect with people who are in a similar situation to you. Lots of women report finding it really difficult when their friends and family are having children. It should be a time when you are happy for your friends and family, but when you are experiencing infertility it can bring difficult and mixed emotions. Know that this is normal, and it’s ok not to be ok.
People who understand your experience
That’s why infertility support groups online can be so powerful. While your usual support network of friends and family might not be able to understand your experiences – and that won’t be for lack of trying, but sometimes it’s hard to emphasise if it’s a struggle you haven’t encountered. People online can. By sharing your experiences you can realise you aren’t alone. Infertility support groups online can also emphasise with the difficult emotions you might be feeling, and what might trigger you to feel upset. For example within infertility communities, people will start any pregnancy announcements with “sensitive post.” This recognises that this happy news for one person, can be a reminder for someone else of something they so desperately want but can’t have.
Research shows that ‘peer support’ from someone whose personal experiences similar to your own can be particularly effective if you are trying to conceive. It can help to normalise your experiences, reduce symptoms of stress and relieve loneliness. Sometimes it’s also helpful to speak to someone you don’t know.
How to find a community you can connect with
There are many infertility support groups in the UK. Here we shine a light on a few of them. If you are experiencing trouble conceiving – do check them out. It’s often a case of finding a community that speaks to you.
General infertility support groups online
There are a number of general infertility support groups online:
- Trying To Conceive, Infertility & Pregnancy Support Group – is a Facebook group for those trying or struggling to concieve.
- Inspire has a group all about finding a resolution for infertility, you can find topics about fertility treatment, infertility at 40+ and more.
- Walk in our shoes – is a collection of stories about involuntary childlessness.
IVF support groups
IVF can be a very difficult journey. Especially with the battery of tests and appointments. Women report that it can be difficult to manage the process with work and that it places pressure on their relationship.
- IVF support is a facebook group for anyone thats going through the IVF process or has been through it needing support and has 18k members.
- IVF support Group is a facebook page too For all those who have been through or are going through IVF to share stories, thoughts, suggestions and has 28k members.
- Baby centre has a thread for people who are undertaking IVF/ IUI treatment.
Pregnancy loss support groups
- The Miscarriage Association has an online forum that is a safe space to share your experiences of miscarriage and loss.
- Stillbirth stories is a collection of stories about stillbirth. The experiences span five decades from the 1960s to the present day. When I experienced a stillbirth I found other people’s stories about their experiences and how they’d coped a source of strength.
- Sands provides an online community for people who have experienced still birth and neonatal death.
In-person infertility support groups
Would you also value meeting people face to face? There are a number of in person infertility support groups that meet in person up and down the country. The Fertility Network UK has a list of fertility group meetings from Liverpool to Dundee.
The groups are run by a wide range of people with either lived experience of fertility problems or who work in the fertility space.
If after attending a group you are inspired to set your own group up, you could set up your own group.
Male infertility support groups
Research finds that men also find find online support groups helpful. Research finds men can find much needed support, with themes such as “so much of this story could be me.”
Mensfe is an online support group for male infertility. 105668 people accessed this group in February 2019 alone.
There are a number of online meetups – some of them are connecting you to people with similar experiences others provide educational information. We’re very proud that Adia has our own digital meetup, we’re passionate about providing you with all the information you need to navigate your fertility journey with confidence.
- Fertility meetups – on meetup.com you can find over 60 groups related to different topics to do with fertility.
- Adia Talks – is a series of meetups with specialists in women’s health where we are creating a safe space to talk. No subject is too taboo. Just empowering conversations.
Our next Adia Talks is all about periods. Join our Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jess Farren, to talk all about periods. What is a normal period? What does PCOS mean and is there anything you can do? How can contraception help? What does all this mean for fertility? To hear more sign up to our women and health page for the Adia Talks.
Jess currently practices as an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Imperial College Healthcare Trust, and is passionate about periods. Jess believes nobody should consider heavy or painful periods part of the course of being a woman!