How to Cope with Unexplained Infertility
When you’re trying to get and stay pregnant, it can seem like everyone around you is either having a baby, just had a baby, or their family is “complete”. And then you get the vague diagnosis of unexplained infertility (UI). Despite the miraculous advances in medicine and technology, the doctors can’t tell you what’s wrong. They just don’t know.
Unexplained infertility means that all the infertility tests are normal (egg testing, fallopian tube checks, and ovary and sperm analysis). Your doctor can’t put his/her finger on why you can’t get pregnant.
Your initial response might be confusion, anger, or depression. Or maybe you’re hopeful because you haven’t been trying for years and maybe it’s just timing. Whatever your reaction, there are several healthy ways to cope with what might feel like a sucker-punch diagnosis.
If You Want to “Do” Something About it
If prior to your UI diagnosis you were tracking your Basal Body Temperature, Luteinizing Hormone (LH) surge and mucus consistency, and you were timing your sex and taking prenatal vitamins, then your first response might be a proactive one. You are not someone who just wants to hang out and wait.
So, make sure your doctor has tested your prolactin and vitamin D levels, as well as your thyroid. Low vitamin D levels can be treated with a daily supplement, and elevated prolactin levels—and a malfunctioning thyroid can be treated with medication.
When looking at your thyroid test, Dr. Allison Rogers, an endocrinologist and OB-GYN specializing in infertility, cautioned listeners on the Beat Infertility podcast to make sure their thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) measurement was less than 2.5. She said when you’re dealing with unexplained infertility, you want to make sure your thyroid is functioning on the high side of normal.
In addition to vitamin D, it’s also recommended to take a CoQ10 supplement. CoQ10 is an enzyme that helps the mitochondria in our cells function properly, and since eggs are the largest cells in women’s bodies, CoQ10 is believed to be essential to the development of healthy eggs. Especially for women over 40, CoQ10 is associated with better quality embryos and higher pregnancy rates.
If You Want to Escape it
Crystal Meredith and her husband went through four rounds of Clomid, IUI and IVF, before finally becoming pregnant. “Between the daily injections and having to have sex every day and the vaginal suppositories, I was mentally exhausted. It felt like insanity!” she said, before adding, “But you gotta shake it off.”
To cope, Meredith began going to acupuncture and she continued to work out with her dogs which gave her a much-needed break from the stress and anxiety of trying to get pregnant. “I got endorphins from the exercise and it was a good way for me to something for myself.”
If You’re Feeling Isolated
Infertility is a hard thing to understand if you’ve never gone through it, so your friends and family might not be as supportive as you need them to be.
Brooke Ray found it hard to talk to her friends who had kids naturally. “They don’t understand,” she said, “and a lot of times they will try to tell you the things they did to get pregnant, but it’s not helpful.”
Ray found solace in seeking out other women who had dealt with infertility in the past or were currently going through it. “The crucial thing for me was to have a really good support system both in my significant other and in the women, I reached out to.”
You can find support in our Mira Facebook Community.
If You Need a Cathartic Release
After two years of trying everything under the sun to get pregnant, Alexis DiChiaro started to withdraw from her own life. She stopped talking to friends and left perfectly good jobs.
“The feeling of isolation was immense,” she said. “I was so overwhelmed with sadness I couldn’t do anything.”
So, she started blogging. She created What the Fertility (WTF, get it?) website and community because she was tired of answering the same questions over and over and in the writing, she found her cathartic release. She could process her feelings, her anger and disappointment, in a way she couldn’t do before.
DiChiaro also found blogging was a way to connect with other women. “You’re isolated, ashamed, depressed but you are not alone, there’s other women out there who are going through the exact same thing.”
As hard as it is, DiChiaro and Dr. Rogers recommend trying to stay positive. Dr. Rogers implores her patients to see UI as a good prognosis. “Most people want us to find something so we can fix it. The problem is that sometimes the things we find are not fixable. If we don’t find anything, it actually gives you a very good chance of moving forward and being successful.”
After four years of different fertility treatments including three failed rounds of IVF, a doctor told DiChiaro she would never get pregnant. He said it was impossible. She was angry and upset, but DiChiaro and her husband started down the path to adoption. And then a week after meeting the birth mom of the child they would adopt, she found out she was pregnant.
“It was a miracle,” she said. “If you want to be a mom, if it’s the thing you want more than anything in the whole world, you will make it happen. You will adopt, you will foster, it may not be the miracle that happened to me, but it will happen in one way or another if you want it to.”
Learn more about the Mira Fertility Analyzer and App.
The contents of this blog were independently prepared, and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the views of any other party. Individual results may vary.