The Hilarity that is Sitting in a Fertility Clinic Waiting Room

In fertility world, the line between comedy and tragedy is impossibly thin. There is no greater example of this than sitting in the fertility clinic waiting room…

Infertility is incredibly serious and can trigger the deepest shades of depression, shame and resentment.

That said…

Some parts of this journey are pretty freakin’ hilarious. There’s checking your cervical mucus. The whole needles-in-the-ass thing. And don’t forget about semen analyses. Oh man, endless jokes!

For me, the funniest moments have come from nervously sitting in the fertility clinic waiting room amongst other stressed out, hormonal couples…it’s just so damn awkward. It’s not so much an elephant in the room, as it is a giant neon-painted spaceship. We’re all there for one reason. We all know that reason. And it’s deeply personal. Yet, we’re all strangers. Below are the funniest parts of sitting in a fertility clinic waiting room:


No One Talks. It is dead silent in the fertility clinic waiting room. There could be 10 different couples waiting to get their blood drawn or ovaries poked and it’s like they’ve forgotten how to talk. No one talks to each other…let alone to anyone else…

The Smallest of Talk. If by some miracle of the infertility gods someone near you does talk to you, it’s the smallest of small talk. It’s not about why you’re there. How long you’ve been there. Nothing real or honest to cut the awkwardness. Not even, do you like your doctor? You are forbidden from talking about anything real. The only acceptable snippets of dialogue are about being late for work. Or crappy weather. This has maybe happened to me one time out of, hmmm…50 times?

No One Makes Eye Contact. You’re also not allowed to look at anyone. You can’t try to mentally guess their age or try to read if the husband wants to be there at all. You can’t even check out the brand of their handbag. You are only allowed to look at your phone. Or maybe an old lifestyle magazine with water ring stains from 2005.

The Men are Dead Inside. While the women are silent, their faces are loud. You can see the worry and the fear manifesting as they scroll through their phones. They fidget. They cross and uncross their legs a million times. Maybe they’re taking a photo for their private IG account. But the men…they are haunted soulless shells. Robotic mannequins. Their souls have physically escaped their bodies. I’ve never seen anything like it…their ability to mentally teleport should be studied by science.

The Music. I have died everyday waiting for you…I have loved you for a thousand years…these are actual lyrics from an actual song that was playing in an actual fertility clinic waiting room. For some reason, every fertility clinic in the United States must have their waiting room music set to a Pandora station called “Sad Infertile Music to Cry Alone to.” How about some damn Ariana Grande or something? Anything with a beat. I cannot handle all the Phil Collins muzak. It’s too damn sad. And yet…it’s also hilarious.


Fertility clinic waiting rooms would certainly make an interesting anthropological experiment. It’s fascinating how humans can give one another emotional space, while being in the same physical space. There’s a vulnerability in sitting in a fertility clinic waiting room…you’re “out” even if it’s just temporary….

What were some funny waiting room stories or interactions you’ve encountered?

Elyse Ash is the founder and CEO of Fruitful Fertility. It took her and her husband Brad three years, two rounds of IVF and one frozen embryo transfer to see their first positive pregnancy test which brought them their daughter, born in March 2018. Elyse lives in Minneapolis and loves poetry, hockey, social justice, Beyonce and pretending she’s into yoga.
  1. Meredith


    That one time I was in the middle of a bad IVF run, and this overly excited, happy go lucky couple was leaving after her transfer. The husband ordered breakfast on his cell phone, then, on his way out of the IVF waiting room, he loudly proclaimed, Good Luck Ladies! I wanted to punch him or squeeze him by the balls. But in hindsight, it was pretty funny.

  2. Ashley


    or, you know, when you see them men waiting to enter "that" room. You know the one.
    If would be hillarious if it wasn't so sad.

  3. Sara


    Just want to say thank you for this excellent article. Humor is the only way to get through this MF-ing time. I had serious LOLs from the comments too. Please continue with the biting sarcasm and witty commentary.

  4. Kome


    That song?!! A Thousand Years by Christina Perri is on constant rotation EVERYTIME that I step into the clinic. Well, I guess 'Girls just wanna have fun' muzak version would be worse…

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