Midwest Reproductive Center

Unexplained Infertility

Unexplained Infertility Explained at Midwest Reproductive Center

Couples often visit fertility specialists like Dr. Dan Gehlbach after they have trouble getting pregnant. Understandably, they want an explanation about what the potential causes and treatments could be. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.

When Dr. Gehlbach meets with new patients, he performs a comprehensive fertility evaluation that assesses whether the most common causes of infertility might be affecting the couple. In many cases, the testing included in this evaluation will indicate where the likely cause is, allowing Dr. Gehlbach to design a plan to overcome the challenge through fertility treatments, lifestyle adjustment or a combination of the two. In other cases, the fertility tests don’t give definitive answers – this is called unexplained infertility.

Unexplained infertility affects more than 30% of couples having difficulty trying to conceive

Just because a cause can’t be determined through current fertility testing doesn’t mean there is no cause – or that it can’t be determined eventually – it just means there’s no available explanation at that time.

There is a very long chain of events that must occur for successful conception and pregnancy to occur. The reproductive system is perfectly calibrated down to the molecular level and there are many, many essential links for the success of this chain. When one or more of those links doesn’t work properly, the whole chain is affected. Finding out which link needs assistance can be a difficult task.

Couples with unexplained infertility may have problems that are challenging or impossible to diagnose with current testing technology. These include issues with:

  • Egg quality in women
  • Fallopian tube function in women
  • Sperm function in men

Unexplained infertility and advanced maternal age

Though many things aren’t known about unexplained infertility, some patterns have emerged in the research. One such pattern is that as a woman’s age increases, so do her chances of having unexplained infertility. For example, while unexplained infertility can happen in 50% of couples with a female partner under age of 35, 80% of couples with a female partner at age 40 or over can experience unexplained infertility. Researchers believe that this is because women’s egg quality diminishes over her lifetime and there aren’t yet tests that are sensitive enough to measure all of the important aspects of egg quality.

Finding the path forward with unexplained infertility

Without a diagnosis, infertility is more difficult to treat but this doesn’t mean there are no treatment options. Board-certified fertility experts like Dr. Gehlbach are specially trained to design treatment plans even for couples where the likely cause of infertility is not understood.

Fertility treatments available for couples with unexplained infertility include:

  • Fertility drugs: There are several fertility medications that might be recommended to give conception a boost. They include: clomiphene citrateletrozole, and dexamethasone.
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): In this procedure a woman goes through an insemination procedure that places the sperm directly inside the uterus at the time of her ovulation.
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): If no pregnancy occurs within three to six treatment cycles, IVF may be recommended. With IVF, embryos are created in the lab and then transferred into the woman’s uterus.

Get informed fertility answers to make your fertility plan

The best way to understand your unique fertility situation is by consulting with a board-certified fertility specialist like Dr. Gehlbach at the Midwest Reproductive Center. Getting a full fertility evaluation is the best path to pregnancy success to overcome fertility challenges. Contact our friendly team to schedule an appointment to get started.