Is Unexplained Infertility the Worst?

Dawn Davenport

10

coping with unexplained infertility

There are many causes for couples or singles being unable to get pregnant—hormonal imbalance, endometriosis, “old eggs”, low sperm count, etc. But up to 30% of infertile couples never know the reason. They are ultimately diagnosed with unexplained infertility.

For so many reasons, I think unexplained infertility is the hardest to handle.

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Unexplained Infertility=Nothing to Google

I don’t know about you, but Dr. Google is my favorite doctor. She is always available, is fully covered by my insurance plan, and is infinitely patient with my many questions and late night hours.

The only problem with Dr. Google is that she needs a diagnosis. Oh, you can Google symptoms all you want, but when your primary symptom is “can’t get pregnant”, your search results rank in the millions and none of them are specific to you. Without a concrete diagnosis you are stuck reading general advice that likely doesn’t apply to you.

With unexplained infertility there is nothing to Google, nothing to read up on, and nothing to make a plan of treatment for. It feels like everyone, including your infertility doctor, is just guessing.

I am action oriented—I want to make lists, call for appointments, and put dates on my calendar. Unexplained infertility is infuriatingly unactionable.

Harder to Move Forward

One of the cruelest parts of a diagnosis of unexplained infertility is that no one can tell you your odds of ultimately conceiving a baby. Each month feels like a crapshoot–maybe you’ll get pregnant, maybe not.

All this not knowing makes it hard for patients to make educated decisions. Should they try another cycle of IVF? Would PGD make a difference? Should they save their money for donor egg or adoption?

Even if you decide to shift your focus to becoming a parent through donor conception or adoption, the possibility of achieving your dream of pregnancy is always lurking in the back of your mind. Someone from our online support group said it so well:

I think [unexplained infertility] makes it harder to “resolve” your infertility. If we had a diagnosis, even if it meant we knew we could never have bio kids, at least we could close that chapter. As it stands now, we could possibly get pregnant someday, but there’s just no telling. It kind of always hangs overhead, even as we’ve become parents by adoption.

What has been your experience with unexplained infertility? Was it harder for you to resolve your grief. Were you ultimately successful in getting pregnant?

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Image credit: William Serson

28/09/2015 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 10 Comments



10 Responses to Is Unexplained Infertility the Worst?

  1. dr mustaque ahmed says:

    a significant portion of unexplained infertility is now thought due to subnormal sperm head morphology. ICSI sometimes needs to be done with higher magnification to select the best sperm(IMSI.. intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection ). sperm head morphology problem is not easy to detect as many sperms loose their necessary compacted state still containing a good shape. sperm head decondensation could be a candidate for unexplained infertility.
    a good sleep is often a medicine for proper compaction of sperm head. .

  2. Amanda says:

    I agree with the above commenter about all of it being difficult. We all have hope each cycle no matter what medical procedure. Modern medicine is not an exact science, and I always question why my body doesn’t get pregnant when I have done what the doctor said.

  3. jocelyn says:

    I dealt with “unexplained” for a couple of years before getting an endo diagnosis. Honestly, it was a relief. Endo sucks, but at least understanding why I wasn’t able to maintain a pregnancy allowed us to base our game plan off of empirical research rather than guesses.

  4. Rachel says:

    our unexplained infertility looks like this: we get pregnant on our own, then miscarry before we can ever find a baby on ultrasound. That leaves us with no tissue to test. I dutifully been through every test the doctors could think to put me through, still with no diagnosis. And I feel so hopeless, because the thought of just getting pregnant does not solve the issue. What point are fertility meds, IUIs, and IVF, if my body kills the baby? To say I feel hopeless is an understatement. We’re about to go back to our specialist, now that I am having my 5th loss, and see what else we can run. See what options they have for us. But it honestly feels like we’re just throwing money at them to leave without a child of our own in our arms.

    I can’t say if my experience is worse than others. You could argue that not getting pregnant at all would be harder. Or that having a diagnosis that absolutely meant that you couldn’t have kids would be harder. I’ve never been there, so I can’t say for sure.

    But I know that the question of “why is this happening to me” haunts me all the time.

    • dr mustaque ahmed says:

      dear rachel
      your eggs might allow the not that good sperms to fertilize your eggs. you could try IMSI and transfer more than two blastocyst which may help you carry the pregnancy to term at least with one baby.
      how is your and your husband,s lifestyle.
      avoid drinking and smoking
      have early sleep.
      what is your professions?

    • Monica says:

      Rachael – we are going through the exact same thing! I know you wrote this a year ago – where are you guys at with as far as answers?

  5. Anon says:

    Respectfully, I don’t think there is a “best” or “worst” fertility, it all sucks! I was technically “fertile,” but the odds of conceiving a healthy/normal baby were low. And a bit of googling showed me how very unlikely our condition was – it feels horrible to lose the statistical lottery so spectacularly. But I can see how it would be hard to have an unexplained diagnosis too. I just don’t think it’s fair to rank everyone’s particular situation.

  6. Julie says:

    I don’t know what it’s like to have other types of infertility, but unexplained was hard for me for the reasons mentioned above. I felt like it was difficult to know what to do and for how long. As a result I ended up doing a lot more IUI’s than I probably should have. When I moved on eventually to IVF, I only produced three fertilized eggs that made it to three days. Turns out that’s all I needed – now pregnant at 24 weeks with twins! My only regret is I didn’t do IVF sooner – would have saved money and time.

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