What is unexplained infertility? Here are some possible causes you need to know | Health

Unexplained infertility is when no apparent cause of a fertility problem is found out after the required tests and can be much frustrating for the couple going through the ordeal. Around 15-30 per cent of couples dealing with infertility have this condition also referred to as idiopathic infertility. Unexplained infertility most likely involves issues with poor egg or sperm quality, or problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes that aren’t identifiable during normal fertility testing. Whether it would resolve on its own or not depends on the underlying reason behind it.

“Unexplained infertility involves issues with poor egg or sperm quality or problems affecting the uterus and the fallopian tubes, which do not come to light during regular fertility testing. Most people diagnosed with unexplained infertility have been trying to get pregnant for at least one year (if the couple is younger than 35) or around six months (if the couple is 35 or older),” says Dr Usha.B.R, Proprietor, Gynecologist, Fertility Specialist & Laparoscopic Surgeon, Usha Specialty Clinic.

Can couples who have unexplained infertility become pregnant?

Although pregnancy by natural means might be difficult, infertile couples can have a child through fertility treatments.

“There has been tremendous advancements in fertility treatments and assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF (in vitro fertilization) that can go a long way in helping couples conceive. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 92 per cent of couples with infertility issues have ultimately succeeded in having a baby,” says Dr Usha.

What are some of the significant causes of unexplained infertility?

The root cause of unexplained infertility is difficult to explain as no tests can measure them. However, some possible causes can include the following:

An undiagnosed condition: The study of fertility is an ever-evolving discipline, and there are always multiple ways in which fertility/infertility can be affected. For example, celiac disease (a gluten allergy), diabetes and thyroid can lead to unexplained infertility in a couple.

Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus. It has been found that even mild cases of endometriosis can have an impact on a female’s ability to conceive.

Cervical mucus: The cervical mucus in the body helps sperm to swim up to meet the egg during ovulation. If the cervical mucus is too thick or contains certain ingredients, it can impact the journey of the sperm to the uterus.

Egg and sperm quality in a couple: The quality of the egg in the female and the quality of the sperm in the male can significantly impact the fertility cycle of a couple. However, not all tests can help to find the quality of the egg or the sperm, leading to a diagnosis of unexplained infertility.

Dr Usha says sometimes there is no specific cause to diagnose or treat unexplained fertility.

“As a lot of things need to happen in a particular manner for a woman to conceive, multiple items can disrupt the process,” says the expert.

What are some of the common treatments for unexplained infertility?

Two common treatments can help couples looking to conceive but cannot do so naturally. They fall under the following categories:

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): Popularly known as ART treatments, Assisted Reproductive Technology is a fertilization process in a lab. It involves two different methods. The first is intrauterine insemination (IUI) when the providers wash and concentrate sperm in a lab before injecting it into the uterus at ovulation. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the second process where embryos are created in a lab using the eggs of a woman and the sperm of their partner and then moving the embryo to the uterus to allow it to grow. During IVF, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is carried out where providers inject sperm directly into the egg. ICSI increases the chances of pregnancy in a couple, especially in cases where the sperm quality may cause unexplained infertility.

Medications: There are also a host of drugs that a specialist can prescribe in cases of unexplained infertility for couples that can help stimulate egg production and ovulation. Depending on the couple’s requirements, the healthcare provider can recommend a specific approach to increase the chances of having a baby.

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