Explaining Unexplained Infertility

Explaining Unexplained Infertility

Unexplained infertility?  Says Who!?

1 in 5 couples struggling to conceive have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Unexplained? Says Who!?

It is estimated that 1 in 5 couples struggling to conceive have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility. At least one doctor is now stepping forward to say how unacceptable those numbers are.

Infertility has an explanation, always. The diagnosis of unexplained infertility is not an indication that there is some mysterious underlying cause which cannot be discovered; it is an indication that you have a doctor who simply hasn’t been able to find the truth. In that case, according to Dr. Norbert Gleicher of the Center for Human Reproduction, it is time to get a second opinion.

In his practice, Dr. Gleicher claims to have virtually no cases of unexplained infertility taking up his patient files. He maintains there is always an answer, and that finding that answer sometimes simply involves delving deeper than the standard fertility evaluation would go.

According to Dr. Gleicher, there are generally 3 main overlooked explanations for unexplained infertility:

    1. Premature Ovarian Aging: Also known as diminished ovarian reserve, this condition is marked by follicle stimulating hormones or anti-Mullerian hormone levels being lower than they should be in consideration of the patient’s age. Dr. Gleicher explains that this issue is often overlooked because it can occur in young women who have regular periods and appear, at first glance, to have normal hormone levels. When compared to other women their age, however, it is often discovered that those levels are lower than they should be, or are exhibiting other abnormal signs which should raise concerns.

    2. Tubal Disease or Endometriosis: According to Dr. Gleicher, not all hysterosalpingograms (a test for determining tubal efficiency) are conducted or read correctly. In some cases, there is a tubal issue which goes undiagnosed because the radiologist performing the test may not have known exactly what to look for. Often these difficult to detect tubal blockages can be an indication of endometriosis, which can only be diagnosed with surgery and is therefore routinely overlooked as a possibility when there are no other symptoms to observe. Both conditions can inhibit fertility, even when they are in the earliest stages.

    3. Immune Issues: Autoimmune conditions can occasionally result in a woman’s body rejecting pregnancies at an early point, meaning she may experience chemical pregnancies while still going on to have her period on time. Doctors don’t always think to look for immune issues in these cases, despite the fact that an autoimmune panel could grant a clear understanding of what is happening.

Each of the three conditions Dr. Gleicher routinely sees in association with the unexplained infertility diagnosis have available treatments for improving fertility when they are discovered. As long as they go undiagnosed, however, there is no way for an appropriate treatment plan to be formulated.

This is why it is so important to obtain a second opinion when you have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility. There is always an explanation; you just have to find the practitioners willing to seek those explanations out. Even when western medicine seems to have hit a dead end, consider consulting with Natural Fertility Specialists or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners who may be able to give you an alternative view of the problem.

The key is to discover the true explanation for your infertility. Once you have those answers, a plan of action can be formulated for combatting the problem. Don’t be afraid of seeking out second, third, and even fourth opinions until you can get to the root of the issue. Push until you find a practitioner willing to dig deeper, and do your own research when possible so that you can go into appointments fully equipped with ideas and an understanding of the possibilities.

In no other realm of medicine would a diagnosis of “unexplained” be so readily accepted or handed out. Don’t allow “unexplained” to be the final word in your fertility journey either.

There is always an explanation. You just have to find it.


Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

Related Articles


Let your voice be heard... Leave a brief comment or question related to this article.

 characters available
[-] No Responses