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"I'm sorry." And leave it at that.

Yesterday someone found this site by searching for the term:

appropriate response when a friend's IVF is unsuccessful

Thank you, anonymous searcher, for having the sense and kindness to know that there are appropriate things to say. (Contrast this with the preponderance of jackasses whose outpourings of wisdom resemble nothing so much as a broken sewer main.)

As a rule of thumb, I will say that funny hats and noisemakers are probably not in order.

But you may need more detail than that. Always eager to please, I will make a short list of some comments that might be appropriate:

  • "I'm so sorry."
  • "Oh, God, you must feel rotten. How are you holding up?"
  • "Do you want to talk about it?"
  • "FUCK. I was really hoping this would be the one!"
  • "What can I do to help? Cook you dinner? Take care of your pets for a few days while you're feeling low? Bring over a fifth and get you really, really shitfaced?"

And, ever the completist, I will list some comments that will not be helpful in the slightest:

  • "I know how you feel." No, you don't. You couldn't possibly, no matter how eager you are to share my burden. (Note: Even if you've been through several failed IVFs of your own, this is not the time to shift the conversation to yourself.)
  • "It just wasn't meant to be." Thanks for the help, Nostradamus. Now shut your couplet-spouting trap.
  • "You can always try again." You know what? At $15,000 a pop, maybe I can't.
  • "Maybe you should just accept the situation and move on." Hey, great idea! *smacking forehead* I'll just accept the situation. Why, as soon as I set my mind to it I'll be over my grief in a jiffy! I'll move on. Now why didn't I think of that? Who needs the worthless baggage of lifelong dreams, anyway? Thanks! I feel much better now.

I'm sure this has been helpful.