Unexplained infertility is infertility whose cause remains unknown. It is a very unsettling diagnosis to receive and affects about 8% to 28% of infertile couples worldwide.
What it is
Unexplained infertility is a diagnosis made when a couple or a woman has been unsuccessful in trying to conceive for 12 months, or more of regular unprotected sex and all common causes of infertility of both partners have been ruled out.
Potential causes of unexplained infertility include:
- Undiagnosed underlying medical problem
Conditions such as untreated celiac disease, diabetes, undiagnosed thyroid disorder, and autoimmune disorders can cause infertility.
- Anatomical abnormalities
There are many possibilities. One is that the fallopian tubes are unable to pick up an egg. Another is that prostaglandins produced in high levels may affect the passage of the egg within the tube. Inflammation of the womb lining and multiple fibroids can cause scar tissue which may interfere with the implantation of a fertilised egg.
- Abnormal eggs
The ovaries may produce eggs of poor quality. These may result due to older age, structure deformity, chromosomal abnormalities, underlying medical condition, or some unknown cause.
Also, there could be a release of immature eggs from follicles before they mature.
- Poor sperm quality
Sperm with poor shape, movement or DNA issues can cause infertility. Old age can be a contributing factor.
Other potential causes suggested are mild endometriosis, hostile cervical mucus, trapped eggs, and problems with the endometrial lining and development of fertilised eggs.
Following the diagnosis of unexplained infertility, couples are usually referred for assisted reproductive technology (ART) and other choices. These include:
- Expectant Management
For some couples, all that is needed is support and guidance to continue trying to conceive naturally. Some may need to undergo lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, reducing alcohol intake and quitting alcohol.
- Tubal Flushing
This is performed to assess blockages in the fallopian tube, and it improves the chances of pregnancy.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
This procedure involves directly injecting washed, concentrated sperm from the male partner (donor) into the womb. This ensures more of the highest quality sperm is injected, and chances of conception are increased.
- In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
This procedure starts the fertilisation process outside the body where a number of the woman’s eggs are mixed with sperm in a laboratory dish. At other times, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is done where there may be low sperm count or sperm abnormalities.
You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.
This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.