Infertility without a diagnosis

Infertility is almost always a bit of a puzzle. Many women spend years trying to avoid getting pregnant just to find it’s not as easy as they’d imagined. If you’re struggling with infertility with no diagnosis, it’s understandable to feel upset or confused. There are a few different possibilities that could account for your unexplained infertility.

Have you seen a fertility specialist?

For many couples with unexplained infertility, the answer could be as simple as seeing a provider. Fertility issues range from simple to very complex, but they’re always easier to navigate when you have help from a specialist. It’s possible that a specialist could identify the reason you’ve been having trouble getting pregnant, and help guide you through treatment. 

Do you have irregular periods?

Irregular periods can be a sign that you have an underlying condition that could be affecting your fertility. You need to ovulate in order to get pregnant, and an irregular cycle could mean that you’re not ovulating. If your hormone levels are off, it could affect your cycle and impact your fertility. If you had delayed puberty or don’t menstruate at all, that could also be an explanation.

Have you been screened for other conditions?

Even if you don’t have any diagnoses now, it might be a good idea to get screened for some conditions that commonly affect fertility. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disorder, or other conditions often have trouble getting pregnant. PCOS and endometriosis can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, and the symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Having knowledge of the conditions and their symptoms is often a good first step towards a potential diagnosis and treatment.

Has your partner’s fertility been assessed?

It’s possible that there could be a problem with your fertility, but if you have a male partner, it’s just as likely that there’s an issue with his. If he hasn’t yet, suggest that he see a fertility specialist to have his sperm count and motility assessed. Men with abnormal sperm production, ejaculation problems, or blockages often have fertility problems.

Are there other factors involved?

There are some risk factors for infertility that don’t involve any particular medical conditions or physical problems. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, or insufficient exercise can affect the fertility of both men and women. Being overweight or underweight can also be a problem, as can age.

The bottom line

About ⅓ of the time fertility issues come from women, and about ⅓ of the time they come from men. The other ⅓ of the time, both people have fertility issues or fertility issues are unexplained. If your fertility is unexplained for now, you’re not alone, and it’s possible that you’ll find a solution in the future. Consider talking with your healthcare provider to see what options or treatments might be available to you.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Infertility symptoms.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. August 2, 2016. Web.
  • Victoria Hopewell. “Why can’t I get pregnant? The emotional impact of unexplained infertility.” Resolve. Resolve: The National Infertility Association. 2011. Web.
  • Kara Nguyen. “Why unexplained infertility is sometimes explained during IVF.” Resolve. Resolve: The National Infertility Association. 2014. Web. 
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