Is Your Infertility Diagnosis Unexplained?

Infertility is a struggle that 1 in 5 adults faces that shows no signs of slowing down. Doctors define infertility as the inability to get pregnant naturally after at least 12 months of trying. There is usually an apparent, underlying reason for infertility. However, there are some cases, about 30%, where the cause is unexplained. For these couples, unexplained infertility can be a confusing conclusion. Yet, there are some assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods that can improve the chances of pregnancy.

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No clear explanation

An unexplained infertility diagnosis is not taken lightly. A reproductive specialist must exhaust all possible reasons for infertility before reaching this conclusion. Both women and men should undergo physical tests and hormone tests. A review of sperm and the woman’s ovarian reserve should also be reviewed. Infertility becomes unexplained if all these tests are positive and there are no underlying health concerns. This diagnosis does not mean that there is nothing affecting infertility but that the cause is unclear. Doctors will recommend techniques like intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) at this stage.

Can IUI improve pregnancy outcomes?

Intrauterine insemination is one of the first steps in improving the chances of pregnancy. A doctor or fertility clinic will manually insert a sperm sample into the woman’s cervix. First, the fertility team will prepare a sperm sample using washing. Sperm washing separates the healthiest sperm in the semen sample. When the sperm sample is ready, the doctor uses a catheter to place the sample in the cervix manually. In most cases, the woman will take prescription fertility drugs to improve the chances of pregnancy. With fertility drugs, there is up to a 25% success rate for pregnancy. However, this success rate declines with age.

What about IVF?

In vitro fertilization is an advanced form of ART. Doctors consider IVF one of the most effective methods of pregnancy for those with infertility. IVF is a multi-step process that starts with a sperm and egg sample at a fertility laboratory. The clinic uses the samples to create healthy embryos. Furthermore, the woman will take specific hormone medication to stimulate egg production. Once the embryos are ready, a doctor will transfer one or more embryos into the uterus with a special procedure. Before then, more fertility medication will help to prepare the uterus for the embryo. Like IUI, IVF can occur over several cycles. Studies show that IVF has a high success rate for unexplained infertility cases.

Unexplained but not unsuccessful

An unexplained infertility diagnosis can be confusing and distressing. Patients want to know the exact cause of infertility and the way to fix the issue. However, these patients show excellent health in all essential reproductive markers, so finding the root cause can be difficult. Taking the brave step of fertility treatment can increase the chances of pregnancy. Both procedures are effective, with IVF helping in the event IUI fails.

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