Infertility is a couple’s inability to get pregnant even after they’ve had 6-12 months of well-timed, unprotected sex. Infertility also describes the situation for a woman who has multiple miscarriages. About 12% of couples have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant.
Infertility has many causes, such as polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis in women, and poor sperm quality or quantity in men.
About 30% of infertility is due to male factors, 30% is due to female factors, and 20% is caused by problems in both partners. However, even after going through a thorough medical work-up, approximately 20% of couples have no explanation for the cause of their infertility. This is known as unexplained infertility.
Unexplained infertility can be excruciatingly frustrating. However, treatment options can help couples with unexplained infertility to still conceive a baby and have a successful pregnancy. Dr. Anna Le and our team at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care in Annandale and Alexandria, Virginia, have extensive experience helping patients with infertility.
First, a thorough evaluation
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, your first step is to make an appointment with Dr. Le. Many causes of infertility are treatable, but it’s important not to wait longer than six months (if you’re over 35) or a year (if you’re under 35) to consult Dr. Le. The earlier you seek help for infertility, the better, especially if you’re over 35.
We give you a thorough evaluation to determine whether you have a diagnosable cause for infertility. If we discover a problem such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, uterine fibroids, or uterine cysts, we can provide you with treatment for these conditions.
For example, Dr. Le may recommend minimally invasive surgery to treat endometriosis or uterine fibroids.
We can also advise your partner on testing available for men.
Lifestyle and age
We also talk with you about lifestyle factors that could affect fertility. For example, stress can impact your ovulation patterns. Other lifestyle conditions that could contribute to infertility include being overweight, smoking cigarettes, or taking certain medications.
Unexplained infertility is more likely to occur in women over 35. As a woman ages, her ovaries release fewer healthy eggs.The risk of miscarriage also goes up in older women.
Treatments for unexplained infertility
If we find no medical causes for your infertility, we talk with you about your treatment options. They include:
Dr. Le can prescribe medications that stimulate your ovaries to ovulate (release an egg). A variety of medications are available that work through different mechanisms; Dr. Le recommends the one that’s best for you.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a treatment that involves injecting your partner’s sperm into your uterus. Although this procedure is typically used for women whose infertility is caused by problems with cervical mucus, it can also help in cases of unexplained infertility.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a treatment in which your partner’s sperm is combined with your egg(s) in a laboratory. After an embryo develops, it is transferred into your uterus.
Learn more about unexplained infertility
If you have questions about infertility, Dr. Le and your care providers at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care can help. Call one of our offices in Annandale or Alexandria, Virginia, or book an appointment online.