For couples who have been trying to get pregnant for months or even years, hearing they have a ‘diagnosis’ of unexplained infertility can seem like a double blow, both physically and psychologically. Please keep this in mind:
You’re not alone
Unexplained infertility affects approximately 15% of couples. It is defined as the lack of an identified cause for a couple’s inability to conceive after 12 months (or six months for women 35 and older), despite evaluation of: tubal potency and a normal uterus; adequate ovulation; and, a normal semen analysis.
There are many treatment options
Though you may not receive an official diagnosis with unexplained infertility, it does not mean that unexplained infertility is untreatable. The prognosis for unexplained infertility is directly dependent on the female partner’s age.
Treatment options include Clomid combined with IUI. If that is not successful after three for four cycles, IVF is generally recommended. In fact, results from FASTT*, the fast track and standard treatment randomized clinical trial, showed that it made more sense financially and emotionally to refer patients with unexplained infertility to IVF after failed IUIs versus advising more IUIs with injectable hormone medications.
In addition, laparoscopy will be offered to patients with symptoms suggestive of endometriosis or pelvic adhesions.
IVF can be a diagnostic tool
Once a patient undergoes IVF, we might discover factors we did not know about previously, such as poor egg quality, embryo development or implantation. Having the ability to look at these variables under laboratory conditions can help us assess a reason for your infertility.
Having no diagnosis can be frustrating
Having no diagnosis is often stressful and very frustrating. People generally do better knowing that there is an identifiable reason for their difficulties, and that there is a solution for it. Unexplained infertility is associated with a lot of uncertainty and creates typically high stress and frustration, more so, of course, when treatment fails.
You can optimize your fertility
In addition to standard courses of treatment, many patients feel better emotionally and physically when they take steps to live a healthier and more mindful lifestyle, which also may benefit their fertility. Eating healthy, exercising, and incorporating mind/body techniques can help you feel more in control.
As always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this or another fertility topic.