Around 20-30% of infertility cases are diagnosed as "unexplained."
Unexplained infertility gives women and couples the perception that there is no reason for their infertility.
However, unexplained infertility is not as common as it’s thrown around.
Majority of the time it is “unfound” infertility - meaning not enough has been done to find the cause.
So many women come to me frustrated and confused with this diagnosis, believing they’ve had “all the tests done and everything is fine.” As I start to unravel what tests have been conducted, I find its typically routine bloodwork and maybe an ultrasound and sperm test. This is not a thorough enough investigation to give anyone an unexplained infertility diagnosis.
As I start to ask questions regarding a woman’s menstrual cycle I often hear, “I have painful periods, I can be crippled on the floor in pain on the first day” or, “my periods are very light and only last 3 days” and, “no I don’t notice any mid cycle fertile mucus.”
Your menstrual health is pivotal to your fertility and these sorts of symptoms are massive clues into your fertility and tell us what warrants further investigation.
The body also gives us clues in the form of other medical conditions such as thyroid and autoimmune issues, candida, dermatitis, anxiety, depression and bacterial infections.
If the body is not functioning optimally, making a baby is not going to be at the top of your body's priorities.
If you have been referred to an IVF specialist, often they use your first cycle as diagnostic.
It is not until you have failed rounds of IVF that further investigations tend to be completed.
But this doesn't suit everyone - for many, the expense, painful injections, synthetic hormones and the heartache of failed rounds can be too much to bare.
If you've been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, there is more in depth testing that can be completed including investigating things such as Thrombophilias, Immune dysfunction, Antibodies, Infections, Sperm DNA fragmentation and Nutritional deficiencies.
If your specialist won’t investigate these issues and you aren't comfortable with an unexplained diagnosis, change specialist. It is your money and your body.
Herbalists and Naturopaths who focus on fertility can be a great place to further your search and get to the root cause of what could be preventing you from falling pregnant.
In order to give yourself the best chance of IVF working the first time (a successful pregnancy and some spare high quality embryo’s in the freezer) you want to first determine what your fertility issues are, so you can treat these prior to commencing IVF. The healthier you are, the healthier your eggs (and sperm) are.
At the completion of a thorough fertility investigation, a number of women will still receive an unexplained diagnosis and IVF may still work for them.
IVF is an amazing, magical science which is evidently giving women and couples the opportunity to have families which would not have been possible otherwise, however the term “unexplained infertility” is thrown around too often and far too many rounds of IVF are completed prior to investigating some of the more complex fertility issues.
Your fertility is yours and you don't have to settle for an unexplained diagnosis after a routine blood test and an ultrasound.
Sara Laharnar is the owner of Tree of Vida Acupuncture, a womens health clinic on the Mid North Coast close to Forster & Taree. She is a passionate acupuncturist/herbalist dedicated to womens health, fertility and pregnancy support.