A friendly resource for women who want to lead better lives

Can IVF explain unexplained infertility?

Guest post by Dorothy Walas of Egg Donation Friends

Did you know that it is estimated that every fertile couple have only 10-20% chance of getting pregnant any given month they try to conceive? Most of them will become parents within the first year of trying. Others, in spite of feeling healthy, may take longer to achieve pregnancy or do not succeed at all.

And we are talking here about young women and men, under 35 years of age. If you are a woman and ovulate regularly, have good ovarian reserve, good hysteroscopy results, your tubes are healthy and open, and your partner’s sample shows no signs of abnormality (perfect motility, sperm shape and count), then unexplained infertility may be justified in your case. What does “unexplained” mean here? Nowadays fertility doctors are able to run tests that pinpoint major causes of infertility, but they certainly cannot identify the, so called, subtle reasons like low quality eggs, incorrect embryo development at the early stage or problems with implantation. Couples with unexplained infertility have only about 1-4% chance to have a baby without suitable treatment.

IVF as a diagnostic tool?

So what treatment is best for unexplained infertility? If you have already been through 3 unsuccessful cycles of Clomid and IUI (intrauterine insemination), IVF procedure may be a breaking point in your journey to parenthood. IVF gives you higher chances, faster results and it will cost you less if you calculate all the expenses.

Yes, IVF treatment can be a diagnostic tool and help doctors see what is happening with your reproductive cells. Even if you have excellent ovarian reserve, the embryologist may discover that you have poor quality eggs. They will be able to look at and assess your oocytes under the microscope at the time of your egg retrieval. Even if your partner’s sperm seems healthy and has great motility, his “swimmers” may lack in the “fertilization” skills. This again can only be seen under the microscope during IVF. Modern medicine allows various methods of in vitro fertilization like ICSI or PICSI which possibly solve the problem of unexplained infertility.

If you happen to have embryo implantation issues, there are also medical procedures that help your embaby to nest comfortably in your womb (assisted hatching). As you can see IVF has many diagnostic benefits – it can identify the subtle reasons for your infertility and deal with some of them.

Some of them. Unfortunately, IVF will not fix your low quality eggs or sperm. But still there is a solution to that. If the low quality of reproductive cells is the problem, your doctor may recommend you go for IVF with donor eggs and/or sperm. Egg or sperm donation program will give you much higher success rates for a healthy pregnancy and genetically healthy baby. If IVF with donor eggs is a new concept for you, before you make a decision about the treatment, research more info on the Internet, watch webinars with fertility doctors, check fertility forums and IVF closed groups on Facebook. Discuss with your partner if you prefer to have an open or anonymous egg donor.

As you can see the diagnosis of unexplained infertility is not the end of the journey to parenthood. It is just the beginning. And no matter if you go through this journey using IVF or IVF with donor eggs or sperm, you are definitely one step closer to making your dream a reality.

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