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Possible Causes of Unexplained Infertility

You may be diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” if you have been actively trying to conceive for a year or more and, following a comprehensive medical evaluation, no obvious problems, such as blocked fallopian tubes, are found. This diagnosis does not mean that your journey to parenthood is over. Numerous people in such circumstances have been the subject of extensive research, which has shown that many of them eventually become pregnant successfully, either naturally or with the use of fertility therapies.

 

What does unexplained fertility mean?

So, when you hear the term “unexplained infertility,” it’s like hitting a bump in the road on your journey to parenthood. It’s frustrating because you and your partner have gone through all the tests, but everything seems fine on paper. Yet, for some reason, you’re not getting pregnant. What many folks don’t realize is that getting pregnant isn’t as easy as it seems. There’s a whole lot of timing and chemistry involved. Even for couples who don’t have any issues, the odds of conceiving each month aren’t super high – it’s only around 18 to 20 percent. So, when you’re dealing with unexplained infertility, it’s like being in a bit of a mystery novel. You and your partner are trying to figure out what’s causing the roadblock, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer. But remember, you’re not alone in this – there are plenty of others on the same journey, trying to crack the code and start their family too.

 

Which factors affect fertility in men and women?

When it comes to fertility, there’s a myriad of factors at play for both women and men.

For women

  • Age is a pivotal consideration. The chance of getting pregnant declines with age, with women in their late 30s and later years likely to have more difficulties.
  • Additionally, conditions like endometriosis, a painful disorder where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the womb, can hinder fertility.
  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, lupus, and hypertension may also impact reproductive health.
  • Hormonal imbalances further complicate matters, disrupting the delicate balance necessary for ovulation and conception.
  • Environmental factors, ranging from cigarette smoking to exposure to workplace hazards or toxins, can exert a significant influence on fertility.
  • Even body weight plays a role, with both excess and insufficient body fat potentially affecting reproductive function.
  • Past medical interventions, such as cryosurgery for abnormal Pap smears, may still have lingering effects on fertility.

For men

  • For men, fertility concerns extend beyond reproductive health to encompass various aspects of their well-being.
  • Genital health is paramount, with issues like prostatitis, genital infections, or sexually transmitted diseases potentially impairing fertility.
  • Occupational hazards, including exposure to radiation, chemicals, or high temperatures, can also impact sperm quality and quantity.
  • Lifestyle choices, such as smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, or drug use, can have detrimental effects on male fertility.
  • Past medical history, including hernia repair or undescended testicles, could still be relevant factors affecting fertility.
  • Moreover, certain medications, particularly those affecting the central nervous system like opioid-like medicines used to treat mental illness, may interfere with reproductive function.
  • Genetic or congenital factors, present from birth, can further complicate the fertility journey for both men and women.

 

Should I lose hope when diagnosed with unexplained fertility?

Having unexplained infertility doesn’t mean you’ll never get pregnant. It’s actually quite common – over 10 percent of couples dealing with fertility issues receive this diagnosis. What it does mean is that despite thorough testing, the cause of your difficulty conceiving hasn’t been pinpointed. But don’t lose hope! Many couples with unexplained infertility do eventually conceive, either naturally or with the help of fertility treatments. If you’ve been trying for over a year without success, it might be worth exploring treatment options to boost your chances of getting pregnant. Don’t hesitate to seek support and guidance from fertility specialists who can tailor a plan to fit your unique situation.

 

What to do to improve fertility?

Boosting your chances of conceiving isn’t just about luck – it’s about understanding your body and making healthy choices. Here are some tips to help improve your odds of getting pregnant:

 

Perfect Timing

Your window of opportunity for conception each month is narrow. Pregnancy can only occur if you have intercourse during the three days leading up to ovulation or on the day of ovulation itself. Tracking your ovulation cycle can be key. Look out for signs like changes in vaginal mucus, which becomes clear and slippery – resembling egg whites – a few days before ovulation. When you notice these changes, it’s prime time to get busy!

Prioritize Health

Both partners should aim to be in the healthy weight range, as being under or overweight can impact fertility. Quitting smoking, maintaining a balanced diet, and exercising regularly are crucial steps. Women should consider taking a folate and iodine supplement to support reproductive health. And it goes without saying – alcohol should be avoided. Also, be mindful of exposure to toxic chemicals, whether at work or at home, as they can affect fertility.

Get a Pre-conception Health Check

Ensuring both partners are in optimal health before trying to conceive is essential. Schedule a pre-conception health check with your GP to address any potential concerns. This check-up can also confirm that your vaccinations are up to date, providing immunity against infections that could harm a developing baby.

Manage Stress

High levels of stress can interfere with reproductive hormones, making it harder to conceive. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy, can be beneficial for both your mental and reproductive health.

Limit Caffeine Intake

While a cup of coffee here and there is generally okay, excessive caffeine intake can negatively impact fertility. Consider reducing your caffeine consumption to boost your chances of conception.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for hormone regulation and overall well-being. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to support your fertility journey.
By incorporating these lifestyle changes and being proactive about your reproductive health, you can increase your chances of achieving the dream of parenthood. Remember, every small step you take brings you closer to your goal of starting a family.

 

What are the options if nothing works?

If you’ve tried various methods without success, there are still options available to explore with your fertility specialist. In some cases, intrauterine insemination (IUI) may also be recommended to enhance the chances of fertilization by placing sperm directly into the uterus. If needed, more advanced treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) could be considered, although it’s typically reserved as a last resort. IVF can serve both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, providing insights into your specific situation while improving the likelihood of pregnancy. By evaluating factors like egg quality, fertilization, and embryo development, IVF offers a comprehensive approach to addressing infertility.

Ultimately, being diagnosed with unexplained infertility doesn’t mean your journey ends. It’s important to remain hopeful and explore all available options with the guidance of your healthcare team.

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