If you are a supportive friend or family member who wants to give a meaningful gift to your loved one who is coping with infertility, then we have some suggestions for you.

Stop giving advice
Chances are your friends experiencing infertility have done their homework. They have researched the Internet to find information about the causes and treatment of infertility as well as to learn about clinics, doctors and the latest advances.

We know you mean well, but unless you work in the infertility field or have experienced infertility yourself, you should refrain from dispensing medical guidance. Your gal pals don’t need your advice about relaxation, adoption or the best sexual position. Believe us; they have considered most everything to resolve their infertility. However, they are looking for compassion and understanding.

Set aside your feelings
Please don’t feel bad if you receive a negative RSVP for your holiday party from the couple who recently experienced a miscarriage or a failed in vitro fertilization cycle. Because of their loss, they may not be in a celebratory mood or want to attend a party, especially one where children will be in attendance.

Refrain from asking intrusive questions
If you see your friends at a party, please abstain from asking questions about their baby-making plans. They will only elicit awkward responses and make everyone feel uncomfortable. If they offer an update, however, ask how you can make their life easier.

Start listening
Let your infertile friend lead the way for starting a discussion about her infertility journey. If she wants to talk, please listen and tell her how much you care and want to help.

Provide a shoulder of support
A shoulder to cry on and a hug go a long way when your friend is feeling blue and hurting. If you know she is undergoing a fertility procedure or going through the two-week wait before she knows her pregnancy results, be available to give aid and comfort.

Offer some fun distractions
Treat your friend or family member to a fun night out such as to a play, concert or massage. It’s okay to take her mind off her conception troubles for the evening or a weekend while showing you are with her for both the good times and the challenging ones.

Give the gifts of love, support and hope
There are many ways you can help those who are dear to you while they navigate their fertility journey. Giving love, support and hope rather than advice is always a good start. Another way is by donating to the fertility nonprofit of your choice, such as RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association (www.resolve.org), which provides education, support and advocacy, or the Baby Quest Foundation (www.babyquestfoundation.org), an IVF scholarship organization.

Happy Holidays from the staff of HRC Fertility!