Taking Action With Unexplained Infertility

After months or years of trying to conceive without success, many couples will seek out a fertility evaluation with a healthcare provider. Surely, there must be a reason for the inability to get pregnant, right? Not always. In some cases, couples can be diagnosed with unexplained infertility. When this happens, a discussion about moving on to the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) is often warranted. Navigate the unknowns with the following helpful tips.


What is unexplained infertility?

There are many reasons a couple may not be able to get pregnant. Older age, blockages in the tubes, fibroids or cysts in the uterus, certain medications, ovulation disorders, and health conditions like endometriosis can all make conception more difficult. In other cases, the cause of infertility may be deemed unexplained. This means that fertility testing has not found an obvious reason to explain why a couple has not become pregnant. Unexplained infertility can be a frustrating diagnosis, but the good news is that ART can help many couples have a baby.

Finding hope with ART

Assisted reproductive technology encompasses all fertility procedures where eggs or embryos are handled. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the best-known example, but surrogacy also falls under this header. During IVF, a woman is given medication to stimulate multiple eggs to grow in the ovaries. The eggs are then extracted and combined with a sperm sample in the lab to create embryos. The healthiest embryos are transferred back into the uterus in hopes of impanation. Although rates will vary based on the woman’s age and any underlying health conditions, many couples with unexplained infertility see success with IVF treatment.

Is surrogacy the answer?

If traditional IVF fails, some couples with unexplained infertility may consider moving on to surrogacy. A few options are available to couples who choose this route to parenthood. If eggs and sperm from the intended parents-to-be are available and healthy, the couple can create an embryo that is transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. In other cases, an egg or sperm donor may be needed to create an embryo that is then carried by the surrogate. There are many ways to build a family. Finding the right combination is the first step in bringing home a healthy baby.

Unexplained but not impossible

No individual wants to struggle to get pregnant, but the reality is that about 9% of men and 11% of women experience fertility problems. If a diagnosis of unexplained infertility is made, couples still have conception options with ART. Many people will see success with traditional IVF, while a smaller subset of individuals will need to seek out the help of a surrogate. In some lucky cases, people with unexplained infertility will go on to conceive naturally. Unexplained doesn’t mean impossible. Options are available for couples with infertility who desire a family.

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