Unexplained Infertility

About one-third of all cases of infertility are unexplained. These can be due to a combination of male and female factors or to unknown causes. Although unexplained infertility can be puzzling to most couples since the reason cannot be identified through diagnostic tests, successful treatment is still possible. Researchers continue to explore this topic, with the goal of improving implantation rates.

What Is Unexplained Infertility?

There are many different reasons why a couple might be experiencing infertility. It is a myth that infertility is always a "woman's problem." About one-third of cases are due to problems with the man and one-third are due to problems with the woman.
Other cases of infertility are due to a combination of male and female factors or to unknown causes. When the cause is unknown, it is called unexplained infertility.

Can It Still Be Treated?

Sometimes, a couple is told that their infertility is unexplained. This means that the reason can't be identified through diagnostic tests. Even in cases of unexplained fertility, however, it's still possible to treat it successfully.

Research on Unexplained Infertility

Researchers continue to look for clues that may shed light on unexplained infertility and improve treatment. In 2003, researchers reported the discovery that an embryo initially attaches to the uterine wall by using specialized molecules located on the surfaces of the embryo and the uterus.
The embryo is able to attach because of a sticky interaction with the uterine wall. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of the process that initiates pregnancy is the first step in devising therapies that will improve the rate of implantation.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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