How to Cope with Unexplained Infertility
If you have not become pregnant despite trying for a while, you may start to wonder if something is stopping you from conceiving. Common causes of infertility in women include problems with ovulation or conditions such as endometriosis. In men, abnormalities with sperm production or abnormalities within the testes may make it harder to conceive.
However, in around a quarter of couples being investigated for infertility, no specific cause will be found to explain the difficulties conceiving. This is known as unexplained infertility.
Diagnosing Unexplained Infertility
When you are trying for a baby, it can be disheartening to either get your period or see negative pregnancy tests month after month. If you have been having regular unprotected sex for six months or more, and have not become pregnant, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor.
Both you and your partner will need to have been assessed by a doctor to get a full picture of your fertility as a couple. They may recommend investigations including blood tests, scans of the ovaries or uterus, and semen analysis. If these tests appear normal, a diagnosis of unexplained infertility may be made.
Our Recommended Coping Strategies
Some couples find it hard to accept a diagnosis of infertility when no obvious cause is found. You may feel anxious, frustrated, or disappointed. However, there are ways you can manage the emotional impact of this diagnosis.
1. Remember that treatment is still available
If you decide to undergo fertility treatment, you may still be offered the same treatment options as someone who has had a specific cause of infertility diagnosed. Depending on factors such as your age, the regularity of menstrual cycles, scan results and semen analysis, a fertility specialist may talk to you about:
- Continuing with regular unprotected sex for longer
- IUI (Intrauterine insemination)
- IVF (in vitro fertilization).
You may feel relieved to know that fertility treatment is available for couples for whom a specific diagnosis has not been found.
2. Talk it out
Both you and your partner might be experiencing a range of emotions. Rather than bottling it up, try to talk openly with each other about how you feel. This may help to avoid anger, frustration or fear from building up into an argument that could have been avoided by an earlier heart-to-heart.
3. Make time for friends
Although you might be tempted to hide away, making time to see friends and family can be a welcome distraction and help to give your mood a boost. Try to avoid becoming isolated while you face unexplained infertility.
4. Consider professional support
Getting professional advice when you’re going through a difficult time is a healthy way to support your mental and physical wellbeing. Book an appointment with a counsellor or specialist fertility therapist to talk through all the emotions you are feeling.
5. Embrace self-care
Try to make time for the things that make you feel better. This might include seeing friends, going for a run, having a long soak in the bath, writing in a journal, re-reading your favorite novel, or lighting candles in the evening and watching a movie.
Managing infertility and undergoing fertility treatment can put a huge strain on you and your partner. However, whether the cause of your fertility has been identified, or remains unexplained, adopting some coping strategies could help you to get through this difficult time.
If you or your partner are yet to have semen analysis performed in a laboratory, you can check your motile sperm concentration at home with a YO Home Sperm Test.