(Canceled) Check, Please

A Falling Out Between Friends Struggling With Infertility Has The Internet Torn

A woman who previously struggled with fertility gave her friend $12,000 for IVF. She cancelled the check after her friend made an insensitive joke.

A woman injecting herself with hormones for IVF. A woman struggling with fertility took to Reddit to...
Emilija Manevska/Moment/Getty Images

Fertility struggles can put even the strongest of relationships through the wringer. A woman who “tried everything to have kids” with her now ex-husband is having a difficult time navigating what another friend going through IVF treatments said after the woman gifted her friend $12,000 for the next round of IVF treatments.

“I (F35) am infertile. My ex husband and I tried everything to have kids but it just never happened. He divorced me, went and married someone younger who was able to give him a kid and from what I gather, they're expecting a [second] child together. It hurts like hell seeing someone else have what I couldn't,” explains the OP.

“I get frustrated with myself sometimes and with family blaming me for basically everything. I turn to my friends for support, Especially ‘Alessia,’ she's in the same ‘infertility boat’ as me but she and her husband are currently trying IVF hoping it'd work.”

It’s true that having a strong support system, especially one that involves people going through similar situations, can be wildly helpful. Unfortunately, Alessia, who again, is also dealing with fertility issues, vented about it to another friend, who sent the screenshot to the OP. And what Alessia said felt very pointed to the OP.

“The very next day, I got a sudden message from a mutual friend ‘Carol’ with a screenshot of the conversation she had with Alessia. Turns out she and Alessia were talking about the next IVF cycle, and Alessia said she hoped the cycle would work because ‘she didn't wanna end up divorced, and having her husband go marry someone younger and have a baby with them and another one on the way! While she's alone and without a family at 35! (She's 32).’”

Given how the OP went through a divorce after failed fertility treatments (and her now ex has two children with a different, younger woman), it’s easy to see how this was interpreted as a slap in the face. “I was stunned and...hurt, I knew she meant me here,” OP wrote. Instead of confronting her friend, however, she opted to cancel the check she had gifted her for IVF.

“In the evening, Alessia called to ask why I cancelled the check and I told her. She went batsh*t saying she didn't mean it that way and that she thought that this was somewhat an ‘inside joke’ between ‘desperate infertile women.’ She came over with her husband the next day begging I write another check but I refused. An argument ensued and her husband thought I wasn't being supportive of her like when she supported me throughout my struggles.”

The whole ordeal did not end well. “She left crying and we haven't talked since then. Her husband keeps reminding me (while repeatedly calling Carol a toxic snake) of the date of the next cycle saying they can't have it after I took the money that was supposed to pay for it back!”

Some friends think that the OP is being “oversensitive” to the situation. After all, we all have different ways of dealing with grief and trauma, and for some people, it is some form of joking. Alessia didn’t say this directly to the OP, she said it to another friend, presumably in confidence.

Still, it feels like a good rule of thumb not to joke about something that could be interpreted as a personal attack on a friend who just gifted you $12,000. Reddit was mostly on the OP’s side.

“Husband is not too bright. Carol is the solid friend and Alyssa is the toxic snake. Imagine the gall and general a-h*ley-ness of talking sh*t about anything behind your friends back who just GIFTED YOU 12k to make your dreams come true. Now take it further and imagine the gall of that sh*t talking being cruel jabs and mocking her about her shattered dreams...the dreams she's literally gifting you the chance to have. WHAT?!?!?!” reads one popular comment.

“The ONLY things that should be coming out of that witch's mouth would be praise sung about op and what a saint she is. This friendship would be dead and permanently over to me and f*** that husband sending dates and trying to pressure op into giving back the money. NTA,” the commented concludes.

“$12,000 is a very valuable lesson to learn that you don't sh*t on your friends,” added another. Many others pointed out that the idea of an “inside joke” doesn’t really count if one of the people allegedly inside said joke aren’t part of the conversation. “Your friend said cruel things that were not a joke and is angry because she got caught. You were being kind and generous and she threw all of that away,” noted one Redditor.

A lot of posters also validated OP by reiterating the fact that her value (or any woman’s value) is not inherently tied to her ability to conceive and bear children.

“To the people saying that worth kinda is tied to children (especially as a woman): no it's not. Anyone telling you any different is just wrong. You decide what your contribution is to this world, what your legacy is, and from what I hear, OP has the biggest kindest giving heart while still having strong moral values. That makes her worth A LOT in my book. Anyone who doesn't see that is just blind and oblivious,” reads one comment with over 40,000 upvotes.

At the end of the day, people cope with infertility in different ways. But it seems like common sense to not “joke” about your husband leaving you just like the woman who gifted you five figures for IVF treatments, especially via text. Even if that is a real fear of the OP’s friend, choosing to talk about it in that way doesn’t seem like the smartest route.