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The HRC Fertility Blog is a resource for patients and those seeking infertility related issues and articles. Check back often or subscribe to this blog as it is changed weekly by the HRC staff.

Infertility at the Holidays

 by Jennifer Bright Reich


It is the holiday season. A time of year filled with family gatherings, well - meaning relatives and present exchanges. For most it is a joyous time of the year.


For some who will read this blog - it may not be.


It’s hard to shop for a couple who are struggling with infertility. There’s only one thing on the couple’s list: a healthy baby. However, their longing for the joy a baby would bring to their family is eclipsed by the reality- infertility.


While family members and friends cannot erase the empty feeling infertility may bring, there are some ways that those who care can help a couple weather the holidays with less distress.


Above all, a certain amount of sensitivity must be apparent. Although people often don’t mean to be insensitive they will blurt our phrases like, “Next year your baby will be in our family photo, too”.   While not intended to be hurtful, these verbal reminders sting.


Also, gift giving can be tricky. Which is why these healthy and stress-reducing ideas may be most appreciated.


            Fruit-of-the-month club: A low-fat diet filled with produce can support fertility. With a club membership, they’ll automatically send a box of fruit—such as nectarines, mangos, apples, pears, tangelos, plums, papayas, and kiwis—each month. This makes eating plenty of seasonal, delicious fruits easy.  


            Healthy cookbook: Studies have shown that being overweight or obese can affect your fertility and your chances of success with IVF. The meal that most couples have time to cook and eat together is dinner. So consider Cooking Light: The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook. It includes 350 healthy, delicious dinners, and the “weight loss” angle is overshadowed by the “delicious eating” one.

Tabletop tranquility fountain: Infertility is stressful, and stress certainly doesn’t help fertility. The soothing sound of water has a calming effect that counteracts stress. Plus, the water in a tabletop fountain adds moisture to the air. Table top fountains recirculate their water recycling it over and over again, and you don’t have to refill them.

Yoga set: Harvard Medical School researcher Alice Domar, PhD, found that women who participated in her program, which included relaxation and yoga, were almost three times more likely to get pregnant than women who didn't. Her results were published in Fertility and Sterility (Vol. 73, No. 4). For a yoga beginner, gift a yoga basics DVD and yoga mat. The HRC Fertility Pasadena blog has an article about yoga and infertility that would also be helpful. Check out the blog by clicking here.

       Tea set and teas. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who drank one-half cup or more of tea each day doubled their odds of conceiving, perhaps because of tea's antioxidant content. The tea in the study was also caffeinated, which will help to boost her energy as well. (Caution: Don’t drink red raspberry leaf tea because it’s linked to miscarriage.)

            While no gift can replace the love and joy that only a baby or adopted child can bring, these ideas can help with holiday madness by offering stress reduction, healthy eating and perhaps some tranquility to the couple waiting.


About the author: Jennifer Bright Reich is coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, cofounder of, and a mom of two sons, in Allentown, PA. She was compensated by HRC for this blog but feels so passionately about the topic would have written about it for free.


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