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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Unexplained Infertility

I have at long last come to the very last in the series of my posts on causes of infertility. Fertility specialists have a set of tests that includes checking at least the semen analysis, tests to confirm ovulation and tests to confirm tubal patency. In 15-30% of infertile couples no cause can be found on investigations.  In these couples the delay in conception may either be a chance delay or there may be a subtle or as yet undetected cause. It is a little disconcerting to get this diagnosis of course. But there is a silver lining here. The couples in this category have the best chances of conceiving!

On an average only about 20% of women get pregnant in a monthly cycle. At the end of one year of regular relations, approximately 85% of couples achieve pregnancy. The 15% that remain are advised to seek advice. These are not necessarily infertile though they may have some degree of subfertility or it may be a chance event. In the latter case trying for a little while longer will enable the couple to conceive. Of note is the fact that 60% of couples will achieve a pregnancy in the second year of trying, but if you have been trying for three years or more, the chances of a conception are very low at 1-2%.

The message that I am trying to convey is that the course of action that you take is up to you. If you are anxious you can seek help at the end of a year of trying. It may be better if you at least get investigated to ensure that there is no obvious cause for the delay and then continue to try on your own for the next year. However, if you have already been trying for several years, it would be highly recommended to seek help with a fertility specialist immediately. Many infertility units would recommend IVF if you have failed to achieve pregnancy after cohabiting for more than 3 years! 

Do not despair, there is hope!

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