Dealing with Unexplained Infertility
When men and women come to our fertility clinic, Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health, to address fertility issues, we start care by performing fertility testing. Fertility tests evaluate the key aspects of the male and female reproductive system to determine the most likely cause of fertility problems. While fertility tests can provide valuable answers, sometimes our patients are diagnosed as having unexplained infertility.
Understandably, this can be a frustrating diagnosis because it doesn’t seem to provide any answers. Our fertility specialists help patients from Scottsdale, AZ, Gilbert, AZ, and surrounding areas understand what an unexplained fertility diagnosis tells us, and the treatments that are available to help them conceive.
What Does an Unexplained Infertility Diagnosis Mean?
An unexplained fertility diagnosis essentially means that, while we have been able to rule out many issues that could be a cause of infertility, we are unable to explain why a couple is having trouble conceiving. There are numerous things that can compromise a couple's infertility, and several tests and exams that must be performed before unexplained infertility can be diagnosed.
An unexplained infertility diagnosis tells us that a thorough fertility evaluation has been performed and results show:
- A female patient is ovulating regularly
- The ovarian reserve is good (meaning there are sufficient eggs)
- Fallopian tubes are open and healthy
- The uterus appears healthy and free of obvious issues
- The male semen analysis was normal (meaning sperm count, movement, and shape were all good)
It is important to understand the distinction between unexplained infertility and idiopathic infertility. Unexplained infertility means that we have been unable to determine why the patient is infertilie. Idiopathic infertility means there is a diagnosed source of fertility issues (for example, irregular ovulation or abnormal semen analysis), but we don’t know why the patient suffers from those issues.
Possible Causes of Unexplained Infertility
If attempts to conceive have been unsuccessful for a year or more, and a patient is diagnosed with unexplained infertility, the assumption is that there are problems present that we simply have no way of evaluating or measuring. Possible causes, or explanations for, unexplained infertility include:
- Underlying non-reproductive medical problems
- Mild endometriosis with no obvious symptoms
- Hostile cervical mucus that interacts negatively with sperm
- Problems with the endometrium (the lining of the uterus)
- Poor egg quality
- Problems with embryo development
Treating Unexplained Infertility
Typically, fertility treatment is personalized to address each of our Scottsdale patient’s specific fertility issues. However, even without having an exact explanation for why a patient is struggling with fertility, we can offer treatment. Fertility treatments that may be effective for individuals diagnosed with unexplained infertility include ovarian stimulation along with intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Rarely, if these treatments are not successful, patients may need to consider donor eggs or sperm, or IVF treatment with a surrogate.
If your attempts to conceive have been unsuccessful for 12 months or more, it is time to consider a fertility evaluation. To learn more about fertility testing and the comprehensive range of fertility treatments offered at Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health, send us a message online or call our fertility clinic at (623) 469-3992.