Unexplained Infertility

According to RESOLVE (a public policy dispute resolution organization), up to 30% of all cases of infertility in women, and up to 25% in men, are due to idiopathic or unexplained causes. Unexplained infertility is a diagnosis based on exclusion. If no medical reason is found with standard fertility tests, a patient will be diagnosed with unexplained infertility. You may be said to have unexplained infertility if

  • you are ovulating normally
  • your Fallopian tubes are open and healthy
  • you have no pelvic adhesions
  • you do not have endometriosis
  • your partner has a high sperm count and good sperm motility
  • your postcoital test is positive

Chinese medical treatment of unexplained infertility

Chinese medicine offers a unique perspective with which to evaluate unexplained infertility. Subtle changes in blood flow, hormonal functioning or lifestyle can have a great impact on reproductive potential for both male and female patients.

Acupuncture is able to address many of the small imbalances that may be contributing to infertility, but are not detected through standard testing.

Herbal medication helps to correct subtle hormonal imbalances and improve egg and sperm quality.

Reproductive organ massage enhances blood flow to the reproductive system, causing an overall increase in its functioning.

Diet and nutritional supplements are important in the treatment of unexplained infertility, since poor nutritional status has a profound impact on conception.

Mind-body therapies and stress management techniques have been much researched for their beneficial effects on unexplained infertility. Depression has been linked to lowered pregnancy rates, while patients undergoing fertility treatments who participated in meditation classes had better outcomes than those who didn’t.

Causes of unexplained infertility

There are many factors that may be contributing to unexplained infertility, some of which are summarized below:

Abnormal Fallopian tubes: Unexplained infertility may be caused by problems with the cilia or fimbria of the Fallopian tubes. If the cilia are not able to move the egg within the Fallopian tube, or the fimbria are not able to sweep the egg into the tube, fertilization may be unable to occur.

Egg quality issues: If egg quality is compromised due to age, lifestyle factors, or chromosomal issues, conception and pregnancy may be impeded.

Luteinized unruptured follicle (LUF) syndrome: During ovulation, eggs may become trapped in the follicle that surrounds them. It is possible for a follicle to turn into a corpus luteum before rupturing, thus ovulation never occurs.

Immune problems: The immune system may become confused, causing it to attack egg or sperm cells, or impede implantation.

Infection: Infertility can sometimes be explained by the presence of infection in the body.
T-strain mycoplasma is a disease particle that is undetectable through exam, and can result
in infertility.

Weak sperm: In order to become fertilized, sperm must be able to break through the outer shell of an egg. Sometimes, healthy-looking sperm are unable to break through the egg’s outer layer (zona pellucida) in order to create an embryo.

Treating unexplained infertility

Couples diagnosed with unexplained infertility have a slightly higher than 30% chance of getting pregnant on their own, with no medical intervention. Fertility treatments can be used to help increase the chance of getting pregnant, and consist of the same treatments used to overcome other causes of infertility. They include:

  • Ovulation induction (use of fertility drugs)
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)