If your infertility is unexplained, it just means that a test hasn’t been developed that can pinpoint it yet.
If you want to have a baby, and every month you are
disappointed by no results, it can be enormously frustrating.
When you are
faced with a health condition that is stopping you from living the life that
you want, the first thing you look for is answers. But what if there aren’t
The most common cause of infertility is ‘Unexplained
If there isn’t a more frustrating diagnosis than this, I don’t
know what it is. Sitting in a specialist’s office and being told that your
condition has no explanation can be heartbreaking.
We can underestimate how
emotionally beneficial it can be to give a health condition a label, and therefore
a plan for combatting it.
You have gone through a seemingly never-ending series
of tests and examinations, including researching your family medical history,
to physical exams, blood tests, hormone tests, scans and more. And at the end
of all of that, there is supposed to be an explanation, and with it, a fix.
If there is no explanation, does this mean there is no
Not really. Why there is no treatment as such, there
are a great many things you can do to improve your chances of conceiving.
What is unexplained fertility?
It can be a difficult thing to hear, but a diagnosis
of unexplained fertility is actually a better result than some of the more
serious results you could be given.
Specialists say that this can be a good
prognosis, as there is much that can still be tried.
It just means a bit more investigation and guesswork
for you and your doctors. And a bit more of the hard stuff, like perseverance,
resilience and patience.
Between 20 and 30 percent of infertility patients will
be given the diagnosis of unexplained infertility. But it doesn’t mean that
nothing can be done, but means that any of your available options may work.
your infertility is unexplained, it just means that a test hasn’t been
developed that can pinpoint it yet. Some causes of infertility are very subtle,
such as poor egg quality.
Unexplained infertility also has a good success rate,
more so than some of the more serious or aggressive diagnoses.
Between 30 and
60 percent of women with unexplained fertility will get pregnant after three
years of minimal intervention such as tracking your cycle. While just waiting
it out can be a hard road to face, this is all that is needed for many couples.
Do you need IVF?
As we said above, having unexplained infertility means
that all of the options for fertility treatment are open to you.
has the highest success rate, it is the most expensive and intrusive of
fertility treatments, so you don’t need to jump in that fast.
Around 30 percent of people with infertility who seek
treatment are successful with minimal medical intervention, such as medications
and inseminations alone.
Following this, you can then try IVF, which has quite
impressive success rates, and can also pinpoint specific reasons for your
infertility that previous testing couldn’t pick up.
Through IVF treatment nearly half of the embryo transfers
for women under the age of 35resulted in live births.
While that percentage
does decrease with age, it’s still reasonably high for women between the ages
of 38 and 40, with nearly 30 percent of transfers resulting in live births.
Some things you can do to
increase your chances of getting pregnant
If your body would benefit from it, try to diet and
Adjusting your diet to put your weight more within the healthy weight
range can increase your chances of conception, as can adding some gentle
regular exercise to your routine. Exercise also has the added benefit of
helping your mental health as well.
Increase the amount of fertile foods you are eating
and add fertility focused supplements as well. Eat organic, grass-fed meat and
dairy, cold water fish, and foods that are high in fibre like whole grains and
leafy, colourful vegetables.
Increase your intake of iron and folate,
antioxidants and anything that can boost your immune system. You should be
trying to build the healthiest you that you possibly can.
A considerable number of women with unexplained
fertility, have this as a result of undiagnosed celiac disease.
gluten from their diets, these women have had excellent increases in their
rates of conception. Sometimes a simple fix like this is all that is needed.
Try a gluten-free diet (removing wheat, rye and barley) and you might see a
change for the better.
Rehydrate your body in better ways, by reducing or
giving up alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks. Switch to lots of fresh water,
smoothies that are high in greens, fruit and dairy, and green and herbal teas.
Look into alternative therapies that can assist with
reproduction, including acupuncture, naturopathy and reflexology.
Talk to an allergist and see if there is anything in
your diet or lifestyle that might be affecting your chances of getting
Look after your emotional
While it can be upsetting and frustrating to get no
specific answers when you first seek help for your infertility, being told that
nothing major is wrong is a good thing.
It means your options are more open,
and your success rates are more likely with some intervention and patience.
Adding anxiety and stress to your current state is not
going to help matters.
Although processing that you have no explanation for
your failure to conceive can be trying, working through this to a more positive
state of mind about things will make you feel better.
Some things that may help you
deal with it
Try to regain control of the situation,
instead of being led along on the path of the unknown. This internal concept of
having control over your own life is a powerful mental health tool.
Although this sounds hard right now,
working to reduce your stress can really assist you at this time. Try
investigating ways to improve your emotional health such as mindfulness or
meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, massage, and other relaxation techniques.
Work to remove negative judgements
about this situation, both those that you are having about yourself and any
about your partner.
Blame and guilt are not helpful right now, so try to go
through the process without adding extra judgements. Again a technique such as
mindfulness can be fantastic to help with this, for more information see:
Do nice things for yourself and
distract yourself when possible. Go out to the movies or to a market, do a
cooking class or take up a new craft. Consider other projects that will occupy
your mind such as planning a holiday or home renovation, landscaping your
garden, learning a new language or taking on some professional development to
further your career.
If you are facing this as part of a
couple, try to connect with your partner as much as possible. Check in with
them and encourage them to talk about how they are dealing with all of this.
Then go on dates and talk about other things than getting pregnant. Try to
regain your intimacy and sexuality as a couple rather than just as a
Write things down in a journal to help
process them, and to get them out of your head. Many people find writing to be
incredibly therapeutic, and it also makes a nice keepsake later when you are
through to the other side of this time. Some people even publish their writing
in blogs or their own books.
If you need to avoid dealing with
situations with lots of happy mums and babies, such as family gatherings. Cut
yourself a bit of slack and don’t put yourself through unnecessary stress or
social events. Feel free to make up an excuse not to go, or if you do go, to
not hold anyone’s new baby if you don’t want to. Making up that you have a cold
or gastro will always get new mothers moving away from you again.
You can get through this
When you first hear it, being told that you have
unexplained infertility can bring up lots of horrible feelings in you. Number
one might be a sense of overwhelming hopelessness (or at least that was the one
Allow yourself to feel bad and process that naturally, you don’t have
to buck up straight away and get on with it.
But when you look at the information, unexplained
fertility can be a good thing to hear. Your chances of getting pregnant are
still strong, and your options are plentiful.
You just need to pull from within
you the strength and drive to keep trying, and science, nature and a little
time will most likely get you there in the end.
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