Unexplained infertility is an issue affecting many couples trying to start or grow their families. While some causes of infertility can be identified and treated, many causes remain difficult to detect or treat. This can be frustrating and emotionally strenuous for men and women who want to achieve their dream of becoming parents.
What Is Unexplained Infertility?
Unexplained infertility is a diagnosis given to couples who have been trying to conceive without success. Even after a thorough medical evaluation and many tests, the cause remains unknown. This can leave couples feeling helpless and unsure of what to do next.
Infertility can occur in both males and females, but it is more common among women. While it can be difficult, treatments are available to help you overcome this issue. Knowing more about potential causes can help you make an informed decision.
What Are the Potential Causes of Unexplained Infertility?
This is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While the exact cause or causes are unknown, many potential causes have been theorized. They range from genetic or hormonal abnormalities to lifestyle factors. Below are some of the possible reasons females may experience infertility.
Potential Causes in Females
1. Endometriosis- Endometriosis is a condition in which tissues on the uterus lining grow outside the uterus. This affects the function of reproductive organs. It may cause infertility due to blockages of the fallopian tubes and ovulation issues.
2. Age- As women age, their chances of conceiving naturally decrease. This is due to a decrease in ovarian reserve and egg quality.
3. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)- It is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It can cause irregular menstrual cycles and difficulty getting pregnant. This is due to abnormal ovulation or blocked fallopian tubes.
4. Uterine abnormalities- Abnormalities in the structure of the uterus, such as fibroids or polyps, can cause infertility. This is due to an inability to carry a pregnancy or implantation difficulties.
5. Tubal damage or blockage- Damage to the fallopian tubes, either from infection or surgery, can cause infertility. This is due to an inability of the egg and sperm to meet or implant in the uterus.
6. Cervical issues- Issues with the cervix, such as cervical mucus hostile to sperm, can lead to infertility. This is due to an inability of the sperm to travel through the cervix to fertilize the egg.
7. Lifestyle factors- Poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and drug use can lead to infertility.
Diagnosing Unexplained Infertility
One of the most effective ways to diagnose unexplained infertility is with a diagnostic test, performed on an endometrial biopsy. It determines whether a woman has an inflammatory condition most often caused by endometriosis.
Endometriosis is the presence of inflamed uterine tissue on the outside walls of the uterus. It can interfere with fertility and egg implantation. Some tests can detect the presence of a protein called BCL6 in the patient’s uterine lining. A positive test result indicates that there is an increased likelihood of endometriosis. A negative test result suggests that endometriosis is unlikely to be the cause.
This test can help couples get to the root of their infertility and move forward with the best treatment. It can also predict the chances of a successful transfer and successful pregnancy.
Treatment Options for Unexplained Infertility
If infertility is a likely cause for failed conception, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a common treatment. IVF is a procedure where eggs are collected from the woman and fertilized with sperm in a lab setting. The fertilized eggs are then transferred to the woman’s uterus for implantation.
Other possible treatments include medical and alternative approaches. Here are some of the treatments that might be effective:
1. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – In this treatment, sperm is placed directly in the woman’s uterus. It increases the number of sperm that reach the egg, boosting the chance of fertilization.
2. Medications- Your doctor may prescribe various medications, including hormones, to help induce ovulation. They may also help support an existing pregnancy.
3. Surgery- Surgery may be recommended to repair the reproductive organs if blockages are identified as a cause of infertility.
4. Lifestyle changes- Making lifestyle changes may help improve fertility. These include reducing stress levels, quitting harmful substances like alcohol or tobacco, and exercising regularly, among others.
5. Improved timing of intercourse- Tracking your ovulation cycle and having intercourse at optimal times may increase your chances of conception.
Other treatments may include assisted hatching, donor sperm/eggs, fertility drugs, or acupuncture. Speak with your doctor to discuss the best available treatment options for your needs.
Coping With Unexplained Infertility
Unexplained infertility can be an emotional and stressful experience. Couples may feel sadness, disappointment, frustration, and even anger. It can be a difficult journey to navigate, but there are healthy ways to cope with the frustration. Here are some methods that may help:
• Get active - Take the time to focus on activities that make you feel good. Such activities may include exercising or engaging in your favorite hobby. This will help you reduce stress levels and keep your mind occupied.
• Connect With Others - Connecting with others going through similar experiences can help find support and empathy. Reach out to friends and family members, or even join a support group. Talking to someone who understands can provide helpful validation.
• Practice Self-Care - Taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally can positively impact your ability to conceive. Eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and engage in activities you love.
• Seek Professional Help - If needed, seek help from a mental health professional. A therapist can help you process your emotions.
Find an Effective Treatment for Your Unexplained Infertility Diagnosis
While there is no single cause of unexplained infertility, it can still be treated effectively with the right approach. Testing is recommended to get a better understanding of what is causing infertility, so you can make informed decisions about the best course of action.