Infertility is tough year-round, but it’s particularly difficult during the holidays when so many festivities center on family and children. There are countless ways to cope with feelings of sadness, your own or that of a loved one, this time of year. One of the most rewarding and effective things you can do is take action.

Cary L. Dicken, MD of Sher Fertility Institute New York in New York, New York suggests five things you can do to provide fertility support throughout the holidays and make it a #DecembertoRemember. Depending on your situation, you may want to choose one or tackle all five. No matter what you do, you’ll feel the glow that comes from giving and knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.

RESOLVE to Make a Difference
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is a patient advocacy organization dedicated to serving and supporting anyone who finds themselves challenged as they strive to build their family. You may decide to support RESOLVE with a financial donation to further their support, education, and advocacy programs in local communities like New York.  Or you might want to become a RESOLVE volunteer – there are a number of meaningful ways you can give your time to make a difference. Volunteers are key to everything from support groups to fundraisers to advocacy and more. Visit RESOLVE.org to see how you can become a member of their fertility support movement.

If You Hear Something, Say Something
We’ve all heard the well-meaning, but insensitive comments people make regarding the topic of baby making. “Just relax, it’ll happen” and “What are you waiting for? You’re not getting any younger” are a couple that consistently rear their ugly heads. While the person offering this sage advice probably has good intentions, it can be quite painful for the person on the receiving end to hear. No matter how much good advice someone thinks they have to share, the person experiencing infertility has heard it all, and then some.

So, what can you do? Cary L. Dicken, MD of Sher Fertility Institute New York suggests you jump right in! If you overhear something that makes a loved one uncomfortable get in there and change the subject, steer the offending advisor away, or shove a hors d’oeuvre in their mouth. Or you can simply let them know how insensitive their comments are and that your friend has every right to keep her reproductive plans to herself.

Be There
Sometimes one of the best things you can do for a friend going through infertility is to just be there. Your comforting, non-judgmental presence can help tremendously. Talk if she wants to talk, or just listen. Be a shoulder to cry on. Join her to binge watch her latest Netflix obsession. Get her mind off things with a fun holiday movie or trip to the spa. Let your friend know you’re there for her no matter what, and will be throughout her journey to parenthood.

Be Selfish
On the flip side, if you’re struggling to conceive you may find the best thing you can do this holiday season is take time for yourself. Many of the things that bring great joy this time of year can be quite painful; family gatherings and cherished traditions are often excruciating reminders of what you don’t yet have. Give yourself permission to skip out on the traditional merrymaking in favor of soul-replenishing activities to get you through the season. Friends and family will understand your need to break with tradition and try something new this year.

‘Tis the Season to Give
Egg donation is one of the greatest and most generous gifts you can give. Recipients who receive help through egg donation are truly grateful, and will feel the impact of your gift for the rest of their lives. Providing someone with the chance to become a parent is an amazingly rewarding feeling and exceptional way to provide fertility support to those in need.

While a joyous season for many, the holidays are often a trying time for those struggling with infertility. If you’d like more fertility support ideas, call Sher Fertility Institute New York at (646) 792-7476 to speak with one of our team members.