Living with unexplained health issues can be uncomfortable.
For couples who have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, this can be particularly frustrating as it gives you no explanation as to why you may be struggling to start a family.
WHAT IS UNEXPLAINED INFERTILITY?
Unexplained infertility is diagnosed when a couple has been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for 12 months or more. As well as the inability to fall pregnant, other diagnoses have ruled out all other known explanations.
In general, infertility can be defined as the inability to get pregnant, carry a pregnancy to term and deliver a baby. Fertility can be a complex and mysterious process, but even those with unexplained infertility have treatment pathways they can explore.
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
There are many causes and risk factors related to infertility and your doctor will explore all of these pathways when making a plan.
Male Infertility Tests
For male infertility, specialists will look at factors that include:
sperm size, shape, number and mobility
the presence of varicoceles (enlarged veins in the scrotum)
blockages of sperm-carrying ducts
the presence of infections, cancer and STIs
risk factors such as excessive weight, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse and a history of fertility disorders
To diagnose male infertility, your specialist may undertake semen analysis, prostate examinations, scrotal ultrasounds, testicular biopsies, anti-sperm antibody tests and other examinations.
Female Infertility Tests
To diagnose female infertility, your specialist may look for:
premature ovarian failure
blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
an abnormally shaped uterus
weight gain, facial hair growth and lifestyle factors
To identify these symptoms, your specialist may undertake an x-ray or laparoscopic exam of the fallopian tubes, relevant biopsies, ovarian reserve testing (for egg quality) and other examinations.
INCONCLUSIVE DIAGNOSIS – WHERE TO NEXT?
Unexplained infertility is essentially a process of elimination. If your diagnosis remains inconclusive after a full investigation, there are still several options you can explore.
KEEP TRYING NATURALLY
If you want to keep trying to conceive naturally, you should consult with your fertility specialist for advice. In some cases, your age and other factors may indicate that assisted reproduction is the best option to start a family.
IVF AND OTHER PATHWAYS
For many women, even those with unexplained diagnoses, IVF remains an option for pregnancy and starting a family. IVF can be successful even when the exact cause of your fertility problems is unclear because IVF substitutes many aspects of fertilisation.
Other Assisted Reproductive Technology may be considered alongside IVF or as an alternative to the treatment. In many cases, IVF and other treatments may uncover the ultimate cause of your infertility, leading to answers and the opportunity of pregnancy.
YOUR NEXT STEP
If you have unexplained infertility or any symptoms of relating to your reproductive system you may require further investigation. We would advise that you see your general practitioner and possibly obtain a referral to see Dr Alexander.
Dr Alexander can offer specialised help, advice on a possible diagnosis, further investigations and suitable treatment. Contact his rooms at http://www.my-obgyn.com.au/contact/