Explaining Unexplained Infertility

After trying to get pregnant for at least a year without success, some women will be given a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. This diagnosis means fertility testing has been unable to find a cause for why pregnancy has not occurred. Women with unexplained infertility have a normal uterus, regular ovulation, good egg count, and adequate hormone levels, and the male partner has a normal semen analysis. Although pregnancy can still be achieved naturally, in many cases, couples with unexplained infertility will be encouraged to seek out fertility treatment.


Wait and try

Continuing to try naturally can appeal to younger, healthier women who may not be in a big hurry to have children. A diagnosis of unexplained infertility means pregnancy is more challenging to achieve but not impossible. With the right combination of pre-conception care, a healthy diet, timed intercourse, and a little luck, some women with unexplained infertility can become pregnant naturally. In some cases, women may be prescribed fertility medications called ovulatory stimulants to increase the chances of success while continuing to try naturally.

Seeking treatment

For other women, jumping straight to assisted reproductive technology (ART) makes the most sense once a diagnosis of unexplained infertility is received. This path to parenthood will likely appeal to women who have experienced infertility for some time, individuals who are of advanced maternal age (AMA), and couples desiring a child sooner rather than later. Different assistive reproductive technologies (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI), are available to help people with unexplained infertility have a baby. With IUI, the woman is given fertility medications to stimulate egg growth and a concentrated sperm sample is injected into the uterus at the perfect time for conception. IVF uses more advanced techniques to combine the egg and sperm samples in the lab. The resulting embryo is then transferred into the uterus in hopes of achieving a pregnancy.

Overall outlook

Although having a diagnosis of unexplained infertility can be helpful, the next question many women have is about the overall chances of pregnancy success. Studies show that women with unexplained infertility who pursue IUI have about a 25% chance of getting pregnant, while IVF is even more likely to result in a baby. However, exact rates can vary based on clinic expertise, patient age, and any other concurrent health issues. A fertility doctor should be able to evaluate the patient and give an individualized estimate of success.

Pregnancy is possible

Even with unexplained infertility, pregnancy is still possible. Some women will have luck continuing to try naturally, while others will require fertility treatment to conceive. Regardless of the route chosen, the diagnosis doesn’t have to be a complete roadblock to parenthood.

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