Statistics of Unexplained Infertility That You Should Know

by | May 7, 2020

With unexplained infertility, the frustration and confusion may leave many couples feeling hopeless and completely out of control when it comes to conceiving.

Many couples struggling to deal with this diagnosis  may find themselves saying  “If I knew something was wrong with me then I could fix it.“ But with unexplained infertility, there’s no exact answer to what is wrong. Which makes this diagnosis not only frustrating but lonely for couples.

a couple

However, they may be hope for couples in the future as we look for more ways to explain unexplained infertility.

In this article, we will talk about how many couples struggle with unexplained infertility, the possible treatment, possible answers, and ways to deal with this diagnosis.

How many couples are affected by unexplained infertility?

Depending on where you look for your answer, the numbers may vary.

A study done in 2015, found that worldwide around 30% of couples struggle with unexplained infertility. While this diagnosis seems almost hopeless, it can actually be a blessing disguise says some experts.

Why?

Some experts say after couples have the appropriate testing done and there are still no answers to why they can’t conceive, it could be just a matter of time for couples.

What are the chances of getting pregnant with unexplained infertility?

For some couples, the diagnosis of unexplained fertility doesn’t have to mean you’ll never conceive. Not only are treatments available to couples, some couples eventually go on to conceive naturally.

Studies have been done to track the success of couples that choose to try to conceive with fertility treatment and couples who choose to try to conceive without.

In these studies, couples that chose to conceive without any fertility treatment are referred to couples under expectant management.

A 6-month study was done with couples were divided into two groups. The first group consisted of couples that wanted help conceiving with the use of the fertility treatment intrauterine insemination IUI.

The second group consisted of couples under expected management.

In the group of women who received with IUI (intrauterine insemination) 33% of women successfully conceived.

In the group of women that did not receive any treatment, but were under expectant management 32% got pregnant on their own.

Another 6-month study was done in Scotland that included 580 women that were diagnosed with unexplained infertility placed these women into three groups. The groups were divided into women using:

  • Treatment with Clomid
  • IUI
  • Expectant management.

 

At the end of this study the live birth rate for each group was:

  • 14% for women treated with Clomid
  • 23% for women using IUI
  • 17% for expected management.

 

Based on this study, experts suggested that IUI or Clomid were no more effective than expected management.

Whether or not you choose to use fertility treatments or to go at it without any fertility treatment couples with unexplained infertility do have the possibility of conceiving.

Your doctor will help you decide which option will be best for you while taking into consideration your age, and overall health.

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In the future, unexplained infertility may finally be explained.

As scientists continue to advance hopefully unexplained infertility will be a thing of the past.  As technology allows us to uncover possible answers. There are a couple theories from different studies.

There are several studies that suggest that damage to sperm could be the cause of unexplained infertility to many couples.

One study performed by the American Journal of Human Genetics, a gene by the name of SYCP2 could be the cause of 50% of cases of unexplained infertility. Researchers found that this specific gene could have chromosome damage resulting in missing parts of the chromosome, duplication or being completely moved around.

Another article suggests up to 80% of couples diagnosis with unexplained fertility can be explained with damaged sperm. The article talks about high sperm DNA damage, explaining that up sperm being damaged 25% or greater can lower a couple’s chances of conception.

This article suggests that in- vitro fertilization (IVF) would be more suscessful for couples dealing with sperm damage.

This article that focuses on possible causes when it comes to women suggests in most cases being diagnosed could be a cause of unexplained infertility.

  • Mild endometriosis – Sometimes even during laparoscopy, endometriosis can be overlooked. Undiagnosed is missed cases of endometriosis can make it hard for some couples to conceive.
  • Tubal damage – The article above states that tubal disease is commonly misdiagnosed as well, which ultimately leads to women and couples being left without answers.
  • Premature ovarian aging – Naturally it’s known as a woman ages her egg quality will decrease. With premature ovarian aging, this happens sooner than it should. This overall impacts fertility and lowers chances of conceiving.
  • Immunological infertilitySome scientist questions whether or not autoimmune diseases could affect a couple’s fertility. There’s not enough answers to say for sure whether there is any correlation, but some feel there’s reason to question if this does cause fertility problems.

 

The studies above can finally shed light on some of the issues some couples are actually facing. Finding a medical professional that is willing to do thorough and appropriate testing can help couples on the search to find the answers they are looking for.

How should couples with unexplained infertility use this information?

This article can hopefully bring hope to couples that previously felt there was little to no hope after being diagnosed with unexplained infertility. As science continues to advance, many couples and scientists hope that unexplained diagnosis can and will be finally explained.

Couples that are diagnosed with unexplained infertility may still have a greater chance of conceiving even if they choose not to use fertility treatment. Consulting with your doctor will help you decide what’s best for you and your family.

Unexplained infertility may in fact be explainable. The types of tests performed and how they are performed can make a big difference in the diagnosis a couple can conceive.

✔️ Medically Reviewed by Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG

Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOGBanafsheh Kashani, M.D., FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN and specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Eden Fertility Centers, and has been treating couples and individuals with infertility since 2014. Prior to joining Eden Centers for Advanced Fertility, she was practicing as a top fertility specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County and Reproductive Fertility Center. Dr. Kashani has received numerous awards throughout her years of study and medical training. 

Dr. Kashani has conducted extensive research in female reproduction, with a specific focus on the endometrium and implantation. Additionally, Dr. Kashani has authored papers in the areas of fertility preservation, and fertility in women with PCOS and Turners syndrome. She also was part of a large SART-CORS study evaluating the trend in frozen embryo transfers and success rates.

Dr. Kashani is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In addition, she is a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and an active member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS). She is also a member of the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).

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