Infertility itself takes a toll on a couple’s mental well-being. So, it is a no-brainer that struggling with unexplained infertility makes the situation worse. Despite all the tests and imaging, finding out that there is nothing “medically” wrong with either individual is not an answer anyone anticipates.
The primary reason couples (and individuals) seek professional help is to get answers to their problems, especially when it comes to getting pregnant. It becomes difficult to gauge the cause of unexplained infertility, leading to trouble finding the ideal treatment for the shortcoming.
This article will discuss everything there is to know about unexplained infertility and if you need IVF or IUI to support your pregnancy journey.
Also Read: Menstruation problems: Causes, Treatment, and When to see a doctor
In this Article
What does Unexplained Infertility Actually Mean?
Despite being a medically viable diagnosis, the concept of unexplained infertility is quite controversial. Ideally, this is a diagnosis of elimination. This means that the doctor has listened to your problems, prescribed the necessary tests and imaging, and has found nothing odd with the reports.
Typically, some fertility specialists rule out “unexplained fertility” as a diagnosis saying that the patient hasn’t been evaluated yet. Only a complete fertility evaluation test can ascertain whether the couple is infertile or not. The complete evaluation includes tests like:
|Complete Fertility Evaluation|
|For Female Patients||For Male Patients|
|Routine gynecological exam||Routine urologist exam|
|Tests for STDs||Semen analysis|
|Blood tests for hormonal balance, thrombophilia test, anti-phospholipid test, etc.||Blood tests for hormone levels
|Ultrasound imaging||Tests for STDs|
|Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)||Ultrasound imaging|
|Endometrial biopsy||Post-ejaculatory urinalysis|
|Diagnostic laparoscopy||Semen function tests|
Besides these individual testing, there are a few couple fertility tests that both partners have to undergo. These include genetic testing, post-coital testing, etc.
Do You Need IVF or IUI for Unexplained Infertility?
Once all the tests are done, and the reports are in, the fertility specialist will thoroughly read the reports to look for anomalies. If nothing seems out of the ordinary, they might forward their patients to a mental health professional to check for underlying stress or emotional traumas that could prevent a successful pregnancy.
Ideally, a specialist won’t flat out suggest In-vitro fertilization (IVF) or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) as the first resort. If there are no medical reasons behind your infertility, the specialist will suggest trying again for a few months.
Besides trying to conceive naturally, the specialist will also advise a few other changes to one’s lifestyle and dietary habits.
Lifestyle changes – involves losing weight, leading an active lifestyle, and quitting bad habits like smoking and alcohol.
Medications – Certain medicines like Clomin and gonadotropins are prescribed to the patients.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) – procedures like IUI and IVF are the last resort if the couple fails to conceive naturally.
IUI vs. IVF – Which is Better for Unexplained Infertility?
If you have tried for an additional six months after getting diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” your doctor will then opt for ARTs. These assistive procedures support the couples’ conception journey and enable them to overcome unknown roadblocks.
Typically, IUI is the first choice of treatment. This is because it’s less expensive and less invasive too. During IUI, the female patient is monitored for their fertile window. Once that hits, a washed and treated sperm from the male partner is directly placed into the uterus to ensure a successful conception.
The procedure is either done as part of the natural process or in conjunction with fertility medications like clomiphene citrate. The washed sperm used during IUI is more potent and has a higher motility rate to fertilize the egg.
Patients undergoing IUI are injected with hormones and medications to ensure ovulation each month. This can often increase the chances of twins or multiples after the procedure.
IUI is a good stepping stone for couples struggling with unexplained infertility. However, IUI is not always successful. In such cases, the last resort is IVF. The IVF procedure is expensive and involves invasive treatments. So, being prepared for the same physically and mentally is crucial.
IVF involves surgical removal of the mature eggs from the ovary after ovulation. These retrieved eggs are then fertilized outside of the body with the sperm from the male partner (or donor).
The fertilized embryo is then sent for genetic testing, and the healthy embryo is implanted into the female patient’s uterus to ensure successful implantation and pregnancy.
Which of the Two is the Best?
Ideally, the answer to this is subjective to the patient’s needs. Some couples notice a successful pregnancy right after IUI, while others don’t. Consult your fertility specialist to get a comprehensive roadmap to the treatment approach and get the answers you are seeking.
Unexplained infertility is frustrating and highly demoralizing for couples. Not only do you have trouble conceiving, but you also don’t know why that’s happening. Remember that every patient is different, so what works for someone else might not work for you. So, ask questions to your specialist and get proper answers before you set on a journey towards parenthood.