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