When all other explanations for infertility have been ruled out, a patient is diagnosed with unexplained infertility. This does not mean that no reason for the infertility exists; instead it means that the reason is not readily identified by initial tests performed by a physician. Between 10 and 15 percent of couples undergoing fertility treatments will be diagnosed as having unexplained infertility.
In women, a standard fertility evaluation usually includes a physical examination, a medical history review, the testing of ovarian function and blood hormone levels, and an x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). In addition, minimally invasive surgery such as laparoscopy may be used to look at the condition of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus in order to exclude endometriosis or adhesions as the cause of the infertility.
In men, a traditional fertility evaluation consists of a thorough physical examination, a medical history review, hormonal testing, and semen analysis.
Other factors that need to be considered in the evaluation and management of unexplained infertility are the age of the female partner and the length of time the infertility has been present.
A young, healthy, and fertile couple has approximately a 20 percent chance of conceiving each month with regular intercourse. On the other hand, an otherwise healthy couple with a history of unexplained infertility may have spontaneous conception rates as low as one or two percent per month.
The odds of getting pregnant are also reduced as a woman ages. Infertility evaluation and treatment is recommended for couples in which the female is over age 35 and who have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for six or more months, or who have a history of fertility problems such as irregular periods or endometriosis.
The most frequently recommended treatments for couples with unexplained infertility are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF), often with fertility medication. Using either approach, research shows that pregnancy rates are equal to or higher than pregnancy rates for couples with other infertility diagnoses.
With nearly two decades of experience building families, Colorado Reproductive Endocrinology is a leading fertility clinic in the Denver area. If you are unable to get pregnant, please call us at (303) 321-7115 or request an appointment to schedule an evaluation.