Unexplained Infertility: Probability of Success
Up to 25% of all infertile patients will have a diagnosis of unexplained (idiopathic) infertility. This diagnosis means that, despite exhaustive fertility evaluation, there is no apparent cause of infertility.
In a recent NIH-funded study tracking hundreds of couples diagnosed with unexplained infertility, only 6.6% did not have a child over the course of their reproductive lifetime.
This study is a long-term follow-up to another NIH-supported study which demonstrated that a combination of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH, “fertility shots”) ovarian stimulation was of no added value in the treatment of couples with unexplained infertility compared with intercourse alone.
Couples who were treated (i.e., with In Vitro Fertilization) had a 92% probability of ultimately having a child. The majority of couples who tried to conceive spontaneously, rather than with medical assistance, were also successful (64%).
The researchers concluded that couples with unexplained infertility are highly likely to achieve a live birth from their treatment and at least one additional live birth subsequently, many of which without any treatment. In addition, they stressed that moving to treatment sooner allows for a larger family.
In Vitro Fertilization is the most common treatment for patients with unexplained infertility. IVF can also be used as an excellent diagnostic tool that will almost always establish the cause of one’s infertility and, at the same time, can often correct or bypass the problem and result in pregnancy.