Unexplained Infertility: Is There Hope?
The diagnosis of “unexplained infertility,” is not as daunting as it may sound. And – yes! There is hope. In fact, studies have shown that as many as 50% of couples with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility (UI) actually get pregnant within the following calendar year as a result of lifestyle changes, synchronizing intercourse at home with your specific fertile window, and with the help of oral fertility medications such as Clomid.
If you are 35-years old or older, or have been trying to get pregnant for far longer than that, more specific testing may help us isolate the potential issues or fast-track you to fertility treatments that make the most sense. It’s important to remember that egg quality – which cannot be tested for yet – is a large piece of the fertility puzzle, which is why maternal age is a primary fertility factor.
Focus on the Positives Associated with Unexplained Infertility
Believe it or not, there are some positives associated with a UI diagnosis. This diagnosis is handed out after getting the results of “basic” fertility tests, rather than comprehensive tests. The good news about at UI diagnosis is that key players in your fertility outlook are working exactly as they should.
An unexplained infertility diagnosis means:
- Your physical and medical histories panned out. After a full review of your family and medical history, we’ve determined you are healthy and there aren’t any pre-existing or potential health issues keeping you from conceiving.
- The semen analysis is healthy (make sure your semen analysis was performed by your fertility specialist. The results from a GPs lab are not always as accurate as those from experienced techs in an embryology lab). Your sperm count, shape, and motility are all good.
- You ovulate. We’ve taken an ultrasound peek at your reproductive organs to verify there aren’t any cysts or masses that may inhibit ovulation, and your ovarian reserve and AMH tests showed us your body has plenty of ready-to-mature ovarian follicles and eggs.
- You have a regular menstrual cycle. By “regular,” we mean that consecutive tracking of your menstrual cycle, combined with your own home ovulation prediction kit, and the Day 3 lab tests we’ve done here demonstrate you’re routinely ovulating.
- Your tubes and uterus appear normal. Your hysterosalpingogram (a test where a small amount of contrast dye is injected through a narrow and flexible catheter while viewing your uterus through an X-ray machine) checked out, which means the fallopian tubes are free of blockages and the uterus looks ready to nurture a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
If all those factors are in place but you’re still not getting pregnant – you’re automatically diagnosed with unexplained infertility. There was a time when these standard fertility tests were as good as it got. Fortunately, ART innovation has given fertility specialists more tools with which to delve deeper into the cause of UI.
We’ll Dig Deeper to Find a Solution
Diagnostic testing is designed to evaluate the factors most likely to cause infertility. If, however, those factors don’t seem to be factors in your fertility equation, we take infertility testing several steps further.
Now, we’re going to use things like:
- Blood tests to evaluate hormone balance. We’ll take blood tests to get a bigger picture look at your comprehensive hormone balance to make sure your key reproductive hormones are in the “normal” range.
- Preconception genetic screening. This is free or very low-cost testing that identifies whether your DNA carries chromosomal or genetic abnormalities that inhibit conception, implantation, or may cause miscarriages.
- Diagnostic laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is a mildly invasive test that allows us to get a closer look at your reproductive organs. In some cases, we may see endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus, which means you have endometriosis. One of the most common causes of female infertility, endometriosis typically causes some level of pain and discomfort, or irregular periods, but not always. If you’re asymptomatic, we’ll find out.
- Immunological testing and therapy. Unfortunately, (over)active immune systems or physiologically incompatible factors between the father and mother cause bodies to kill the sperm, attack a fertilized egg, or attack a newly implanted fetus. Rapid innovations in this department allow us to test for certain immune system-based fertility issues. In some cases, we can treat them.
Often, these tests reveal another component, and sometimes they don’t. If they do, we’ll begin working towards a personalized fertility treatment plan. If results come back and our conclusion remains “unexplained fertility”, we’ll discuss your options.
Dr. Brabec and the team at Reproductive Resource Center are diligent infertility sleuths, one of the reasons we’ve earned the reputation of the KC region’s #1 fertility clinic. We don’t shy away from a challenge and will do all we can to uncover the source of your infertility to find you a fertility solution. Contact our office to schedule a consultation or to learn more about your options.
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RRC has over 200 years of combined experience. As a leading reproductive health, infertility, and in-vitro fertilization (or IVF) center based in Kansas City, we're proud to have the highest level of expertise available to our patients.