“Unexplained” Infertility

More than 15% of couples struggling to get pregnant receive fertility tests back with little to no abnormalities significant enough to explain why they can’t get pregnant. This diagnosis is often referred to as “unexplained infertility,” and may be the most frustrating of all infertility diagnoses, since it means that all of your testing has come back normal, yet you still are struggling to conceive. Physicians believe that unexplained infertility indicates more subtle problems with fertilization (how the egg and sperm interact with each other), egg quality, and implantation (how the embryo interacts with the uterus), may be to blame. Currently, science does not have tests sensitive enough to diagnose these issues yet.

Some couples facing this news decide to pursue less aggressive treatment like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and hope for the best, while others choose to take a more aggressive approach like IVF. Because IVF is a highly controlled process, it often helps uncover very subtle obstacles to conception for couples facing unexplained infertility.  Meanwhile, the fertilization techniques (ICSI) and ability to develop multiple embryos simultaneously will provide a significant improvement of pregnancy over other treatments for unexplained infertility.

Once a diagnosis of unexplained infertility is determined, the chance of spontaneous pregnancy each month is approximately 2%.  Without a clear cause of infertility,  a spontaneous pregnancy is still possible though the chance is very low.  IUI has pregnancy rates that range between 12 and 20%, while IVF has pregnancy rates of >70%, depending on the age of the female.

Your physician will help you consider your options so you can make an informed decision for how to move forward.