Treating Unexplained Infertility
Because treatments for unexplained infertility are not specific to a particular cause, they are called empirical. In 1998, a retrospective analysis of 45 studies on unexplained infertility was published. The findings are as follows:
- Without treatment, the monthly chance of conception was estimated to be about 2 percent (1.3-4.1%).
- Treatment with intrauterine insemination (IUI) alone did not raise this conception rate significantly (3.8%).
- Treatment of unexplained infertility with Clomid plus IUI increases chance of conception per cycle 2-3 fold (2% - 8.3%).
- Treatment with gonadotropin injections plus IUI raises the conception rate even further to 17 percent per treatment cycle.
- Lastly, in vitro fertilization (IVF) conception rates for unexplained infertility are typically among a center's highest, usually at least 50 percent with the transfer of two embryos.
Causes of Unexplained Infertility
There are a number of possible explanations for unexplained infertility and we can't always discover them but we can increase the odds of overcoming them.
In every woman a healthy egg is not always released, the tube does not always pick up the egg, the sperm does not always fertilize the egg, and a healthy embryo is not always formed. Increasing the number of eggs released, through use of fertility drugs, and the number of sperm to meet the eggs, through IUI, enhances fertility in a given cycle. If a woman's tubes never pick up an egg, IVF will be needed to achieve conception. If a man's sperm is unable to fertilize his partner's eggs, IVF (often with intracytoplasmic sperm injection, ICSI) will be needed.
Empirical treatment of unexplained infertility is often very successful.