What is unexplained infertility?
The term unexplained infertility is defined as failure to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse and despite thorough investigations of both partners no apparent cause for the infertility was found (no identified male or female cause). This ia a frusterated diagnosis for the couple
How common is unexplained infertility?
Approximately 10-25% of infertile couples, the cause of infertility is unexplained. However, the actual figure depends upon the extent of investigations undertaken.
What are the possible causes of unexplained infertility?
- Defective fimbriae; despite test showed tubes to be opened, the fimbriae are unable to pick up the egg at ovulation.
- Defect in the normal transport of eggs and sperm in the Fallopian tubes ( no test for this is currently available)
- Sperm lacking the fertilizing capacity.
- Poor egg quality
- Defective endometrium which does not allow the embryo to implant.
- Luteinized unruptured follicle syndrome when, the follicle fail to release the egg at ovulation and thus the egg is trapped inside the corpus luteum.
- Up to 40% of women with unexplained infertility may be due to immune problems (Putowski et al 2004).
Choi and colleagues from Columbia University Medical Centre (Journal of Reprod Med. 2011) , reported increased rates of celiac disease in women who present with unexplained infertility (5.9%). Though the study numbers are small, the findings suggest that, "Diagnosing celiac disease in an infertile woman would be beneficial if the low-cost and low-risk therapy of a gluten-free diet could improve chances for conception.