In this day and age of message boards, Facebook, Twitter and text messages, support can be found just about everywhere! It helps to know what everyone is talking about and more importantly how to communicate.
I personally belong to six different private primary and secondary infertility groups on Facebook. And because members are from all over the world, a compassionate ear is always available. For me, posting to one of these groups is the safest place to share the frustration, heartache and confusion that comes with fertility. No question is ever too out there or too personal and I never feel out of line or like I'm alone in this fight. Plus, there is something really fabulous about being in your pajamas in the comfort of your own home baring your soul.
Where to go for online support
Online infertility support groups are available as email lists, newsgroups, chat rooms, blogs and social networking sites. Here is a list of some of the more popular sites:
- Pink Pad, a free menstrual and fertility tracker and social health network.
- BabyBump, a free comprehensive pregnancy app and social network for expecting parents.
- Fertility Community, a general infertility support, as well as support through treatments, adoption support, pregnancy loss support, a "cycle buddies" area and more.
- Fertile Thoughts, designed to provide support to women, men, couples and singles who are building their families. We provide forums on infertility, adoption, pregnancy and parenting. Launched in 1996, and acquired by Fertility Authority in 2010, Fertile Thoughts is the world's largest social networking site focusing on fertility and infertility.
- TTC Dreams, created to provide the information that you may need to help you conceive your baby. Besides information on fertility and infertility, you will find message boards and links to support groups.
Decoding the language of online infertility sites
One of the first things I noticed when visiting these online groups were the acronyms, abbreviations and slang. It was very confusing to follow along and I still find it overwhelming. When all else fails, just ask, but to help get you started, in alphabetical order, here is a list of a few commonly-used acronyms:
- 2WW: two-week wait; the time between ovulation and period
- AF: Aunt Flo (menstruation)
- AH, AZH: Assisted Hatching
- ART: Assisted Reproductive Technology
- BA: Baby Aspirin
- BBT: Basal Body Temperature
- BCP: Birth Control Pills
- BD: Baby Dance (sex)
- BFN: Big fat negative on a pregnancy test
- BFP: Big fat positive on a pregnancy test
- C#: Cycle Number
- CB: Cycle Buddy
- D&C: Dilation & Curettage
- DE: Donor Eggs
- DH: Dear Husband, Darling Husband or Damn Husband (depending on your mood)
- DI: Donor Insemination
- DOR: Diminished Ovarian Reserve
- DP3DT: Days Post 3-Day Transfer
- DPIUI: Days past IUI
- DPO: Days past ovulation
- DPR: Days Post-Retrieval
- DPT: Days Post-Transfer
- Dx: Diagnosis
- EDD: Estimated Due Date
- ENDO: Endometriosis
- EPT: Early Pregnancy Test
- ER: Egg Retrieval
- ET: Embryo Transfer
- FET: Frozen Embryo Transfer
- FF: Fertile Friend
- FM: Fertile Mucus or Fertility Monitor
- FSH: Follicle Stimulating Hormone
- FTTA: Fertile Thoughts To All
- FV: Fertile Vibes
- Fx: Fingers crossed
- hCG, HCG: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
- HPT: Home Pregnancy Test
- ICSI: Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection
- IF: Infertility
- IPS: Imaginary pregnancy symptoms
- IUI: Intra-uterine Insemination
- IVC: Intra-vaginal Culture
- IVF: In Vitro Fertilization
- LAP: Laparoscopy
- LMP: Last Menstrual Period (start date)
- LP: Luteal Phase
- LSP: Low Sperm Count
- MC, m/c, misc.: Miscarriage
- MF: Male Factor
- O, OV: Ovulation
- OC: Oral Contraceptives
- OPK: Ovulation Predictor Kit
- OPT: Ovulation Predictor Test
- P4: Progesterone
- PGD: Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis
- PI: Primary Infertility
- PIO: Progesterone in Oil
- PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome
- R-FSH, R-hFSH: Recombinant Human Follicle Stimulating Hormone
- RPL: Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
- SA: Semen Analysis
- SART: Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology
- SI: Secondary Infertility
- TET: Tubal Embryo Transfer
- TRH: Thyroid Releasing Hormone
- TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
- Tx: Treatment
- US, u/s: Ultrasound
- V: Vasectomy
- VR: Vasectomy Reversal
- WBC: White Blood Cells
- WNL: Within Normal Limits
A word of caution
- Be careful when you're involved in internet support groups, as they are sometimes used to prey on vulnerable people and that is the last thing someone struggling with infertility needs to deal with!
- Wherever you are on the internet, use caution when revealing personal information, such as your full name, address or phone number.
- Never take what you read in an online support group as gospel; always, always, always consult your doctor! Every body is different.
- Never let online support lead to isolation from your in-person social network.
Online support can be key to your infertility journey. Sharing your feelings with other women experiencing the same situations and issues you have might provide exactly the comfort you need, as well as advice and resources.
More about infertility
The worst questions you can ask someone facing infertility
Join the movement: National Infertility Awareness Week
How to find the humor in infertility