Resources

Unexplained Infertility

Why can’t I have a baby?

For those diagnosed with unexplained infertility, the journey to parenthood can be particularly challenging. San Diego Fertility Center acknowledges that not understanding why you are unable to conceive is a uniquely frustrating experience. Couples are left with unanswered questions about the cause of their inability to become pregnant and what, if anything, can be done to treat it.

Our compassionate team of fertility specialists works in partnership with individuals and couples who are looking to build their family when no definitive fertility issue can be identified. Unexplained infertility does not have to mean giving up on your dream of starting a family. In fact, many of our patients are able to successfully have a baby after trying just one treatment to help increase the likelihood of conception.

What is unexplained infertility?

For 20 to 30 percent of couples (and for up to 80 percent of women nearing age 40), fertility testing will result in a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.” This diagnosis is given after a full diagnostic workup fails to reveal a credible cause for a woman’s inability to conceive. The diagnosis implies that a problem does exist, but that doctors cannot find a definitive explanation or prescribe an exact treatment.

What are the reasons for unexplained infertility?

One of the most common causes of unexplained infertility is age. Women age 35 and over have an increased incidence of this diagnosis, and women over age 38 have an even greater incidence. In women over the age of 40 who are still ovulating regularly, unexplained infertility is likely due to egg quality issues that are not easily determined.

Because of the hundreds of molecular and biochemical processes that must happen perfectly in order for a pregnancy to occur, unexplained infertility is likely caused by a number of factors. Standard fertility testing focuses on obvious issues like ovulation irregularities and abnormal sperm counts.

How is unexplained infertility diagnosed?

A woman is diagnosed with unexplained infertility if she is unsuccessful in getting pregnant and all of the standard fertility tests for her and her partner come back normal. In such cases, this means that the following is present:

  • The physical exam shows no signs of abnormalities of the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries.
  • All ovarian reserve testing shows normal levels of egg supply.
  • The hysterosalpingogram (or HSG) shows a normal uterine cavity and fallopian tubes.
  • The man’s semen analysis shows adequate quantities of healthy sperm.
  • The woman’s ovulation activity is normal, or any ovulation disorders (like polycystic ovarian syndrome) have been successfully treated.
  • All male and female blood tests show normal results.

Your doctor will exhaust all standard testing options before providing a diagnosis of unexplained infertility.

Can unexplained infertility be treated?

San Diego Fertility Center is committed to giving every couple the best chance at having a baby by utilizing cutting-edge technologies to help improve pregnancy outcomes. Some of the ways we treat unexplained infertility include:

  • In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) – IVF has high success rates for women with unexplained infertility who have normal ovarian reserve testing.
  • Clomid and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – Clomid (clomiphene citrate) is a pill used to treat ovulation problems that has been shown to greatly improve fertility rates when used together with IUI.
  • Letrozole or Femara – this oral medication is sometimes used to stimulate the development of multiple follicles during infertility treatment.
  • FSH hormone shots and IUI – these injectable medications stimulate the development of multiple follicles during infertility treatment and is generally used together with IUI.
  • Clomid and intercourse – Clomid may be used with timed intercourse as a low level fertility treatment.

For more information about Unexplained Infertility, please contact a patient care coordinator at San Diego Fertility Center. We look forward to hearing from you.