What is unexplained infertility? - Fakih Fertility Center
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  • What is unexplained infertility?

    Monday, June 26, 2023

    Unexplained infertility is when fertility testing hasn’t found a cause to explain a person or couples infertility. It’s believed that issues stemming from unexplained infertility are often in relation to poor egg or sperm quality or possible problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes that are not seen during the standard testing.
    Estimates indicate that anywhere from 15-30 percent of couples experiencing infertility are diagnosed as having unexplained infertility.
    Dealing with an unexplained infertility diagnosis can be stressful, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Our doctors will help you determine the course of action you take next which often means additional testing or starting fertility treatment.

    Given that no specific cause of infertility has been identified, certain lifestyle changes could improve your chances of pregnancy. When trying to conceive, men and women should both strive to:
    • Healthy weight range.
    • Stop smoke.
    • Eat a healthy nutritious diet and exercise regularly.
    • Take a folate and iodine supplement (women only).
    • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
    • Avoid contact with toxic chemicals in work and home environments.
    • See a doctor if you suspect an infection or other inflammation.

    Causes of unexplained infertility

    The causes of unexplained infertility are unknown. It’s possible that a person or couple who are fertile may be diagnosed as having unexplained infertility because they have not been successful in reproduction after one year.
    The more likely causes of unexplained infertility involve:
    • Ovulation problems.
    • Poor egg quality.
    • Poor sperm quality.
    • Insufficient frequency of sexual intercourse or intercourse not timed to coincide with ovulation.
    • Problems with pelvic health, primarily with the fallopian tubes or uterus.

    Fertility testing

    There isn’t one fertility test that can diagnose all irregularities that cause infertility.

     The fertility testing should include:
    • A complete medical and sexual history.
    • A physical exam.
    • Blood tests to look at hormone levels.
    • Assessment of reproductive organs such as your ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. This may include ultrasound or more advanced imaging tests like a hysterosalpingogram or laparoscopy.
    • Semen analysis.
    • Ovarian reserve testing.
    • Checking your ovulation.          

    What are unexplained infertility treatment options?

    Once a diagnosis of unexplained infertility has been reached, your Fertility Specialist will develop a treatment pathway specific to your goals and individual circumstances. Factors such as your age, length of time trying, family goals and other circumstances are important will be discussed to decide the best course of action.

    Below are a few fertility treatment options involving assisted reproductive technologies.

    Remember that with unexplained infertility, a natural conception is possible at any time (even after years of trying naturally), so you should keep trying and keep the door open for something wonderful to happen. Couples with unexplained infertility can sometimes improve their chances of conception, through fertility drugs or assisted reproductive technology such as IUI and IVF.

    If you are under 35, we may increase your likelihood of pregnancy with fertility medicines, to stimulate ovulation. This can be done with or without intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUI places the sperm into the uterus, making the trip to the fallopian tubes much shorter and improving chances of fertilization. Because it is the most intensive, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is typically our last course of treatment.

    If you are over 35, we realize that we may need to proceed with a more aggressive treatment plan, potentially starting with ovulation medications and IUI or going more quickly to IVF based on your unique situation and desires.