Unexplained infertility is a diagnosis given to couples who have been trying to conceive for at least one year without success, and all standard infertility tests have been normal. This means doctors cannot identify a specific cause for the couple's inability to conceive.
Unexplained infertility accounts for about 15-30% of all infertility cases. It is more common in older couples and couples who have been trying to conceive for a long time.
What are the causes of unexplained infertility?
The exact cause of unexplained infertility is unknown. However, several possible factors may contribute to it, including.
Egg or sperm quality problems: Even though standard fertility tests may be normal, there may be subtle problems with egg or sperm quality that are not detectable with these tests.
Uterine or fallopian tube problems: There may be minor problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes that are not visible on imaging tests.
Immune system problems: The immune system may attack and destroy sperm or embryos.
Other medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as endometriosis, thyroid disease, and celiac disease, can interfere with fertility.
Lifestyle factors: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity can all reduce fertility.
What tests are done to diagnose unexplained infertility?
A couple will typically undergo a thorough fertility evaluation to diagnose unexplained infertility. This may include:
Semen analysis: This test evaluates the quality and quantity of the male partner's sperm.
Ovulation testing: This test confirms that the female partner is ovulating regularly.
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): This X-ray test checks for blockages in the fallopian tubes.
Transvaginal ultrasound: This imaging test can assess the uterus and ovaries.
Blood tests: These tests can check for hormonal imbalances and other medical conditions affecting fertility.
If these tests are normal, the couple will be diagnosed with unexplained infertility.
What are the treatment options for unexplained infertility?
There are several treatment options available for unexplained infertility. The best treatment for a couple will depend on their circumstances and preferences.
Treatment options include:
Lifestyle changes: Couples may be advised to make lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, and eating a healthy diet. These changes can improve overall health and fertility.
Timed intercourse: Couples may be advised to have sex on specific days of the menstrual cycle when the female partner is most fertile.
Ovulation induction: Couples may be given medication to help them ovulate more regularly.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI): This procedure involves placing sperm through a medical procedure directly into the uterus during ovulation.
In vitro fertilization (IVF): IVF procedure involves fertilizing eggs with sperm in a laboratory and transferring the fertilized embryos to the uterus.
What is the prognosis for unexplained infertility?
The prognosis for unexplained infertility is good overall. Many couples with unexplained infertility can conceive and have conceived with or without treatment.
The chance of pregnancy depends on several factors, including the couple's age and the duration of infertility. Couples under 35 with unexplained infertility have a 60-70% chance of conceiving within a year of trying treatment.
Couples who have been trying to conceive for a long time or over 35 may have a lower chance of pregnancy. However, many teams in these categories can still develop with treatment.
If you struggle with unexplained infertility, you must talk to your doctor. They can help you with suitable options for you.