For various reasons, miracles, adoption, surrogacy ect are unlikely scenarios for her now, and of course I would never suggest them.
I do understand she will have to go through a grieving process. She is one of those people who has always wanted children, and would be a brilliant mother.
She has been dealt various blows in the past, so it was only in her late 30's she was in a position to consider having a child. I won't go into details, even though I've name changed, as I don't think it would be fair to discuss her finer details on the internet, but she really has been given a very raw deal.
This happened to me recently although not a lot of people in work know but friends who had stories of 'so and so was told that now they have kids', 'they get it wrong miracles happen'. Comments like these really pissed me off at the time because on one hand you struggle to come to terms with and accept the bad news and on the other hand everyone wants you to be hopeful that a miracle will happen. I think the best approach is Just to acknowledge that the your friend has been dealt a raw hand and it is totally shit news because she has.
Rhona above is right about not offering advice. Fertility/adoption is a total mine field with so much criteria to meet health wise/financially etc her head will be spinning with it as well as grieving, she's lost her whole future (as she thought it would be).
Solars is right. You will help her by listening and following her lead as to how she wants to play it. The key thing is to acknowledge the importance and devastation of her loss and not to minimise it ('having children is not all it's cracked up to be', 'at least you'll keep your figure', 'children can be such hard work' etc.) - just let her know that you think it's shit and dreadfully unfair that she is placed in this position and that you support her in whatever she does. I would also advise not offering any advice ('have you thought about adoption?', 'what about a surrogate?' etc.) as I can guarantee you that any advice/solution that you can think of she will already have thought of ten times more thoroughly than you can imagine.
Also I would avoid passing on anecdotes, you know the kind of thing, 'my aunt thought she couldn't have kids and then, after standing on her head and drinking special tea, she conceived aged 50'. Such stories just used to make me feel even more of a freak for being unable to conceive. Infertility is random and cruel and no reflection whatsoever on her value as a human being.
You sound kind and very supportive. I think it's a good idea to send her an email or whatever just saying you're thinking of her and if she needs to talk, a shoulder to cry on, you're there for her. Doesn't matter that you're not 'best friends', often it's the people we're least close to who offer the most support.
This is very difficult to answer Angi as every one can react differently to that kind of news. Sometimes they just want to be left alone other times want to pour their hearts out and those emotions will change, I think what I'm trying to say is maybe you have to let your colleague tell you how to be if that makes sense. Perhaps if you sent her a message, via email, text etc that you're thinking of her and that you're there for her if she ever needs it, may be a good start. Good luck and its great you're being a lovely colleague.
She was planning on IVF, but now knows this will be pointless. She isn't in work atm, and won't be for a few weeks, I would imagine.
I know people are telling her "there are options" and "she can adopt", but if someone said these things to me if I were in her position I would want to punch them.
I'm worried that I might be all "How are you, nice weather, going anywhere nice on your holiday?" while ignoring her pain, which I don't want to do. I really want to hug her and cry, which would be stupid in a public work environment. So I was wondering whether I should invite myself round to her house with a bottle of wine (we're not best friends, and I wouldn't usually!)
I so want to do the right thing, but don't know what that is....