Hello everyone! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world. Civilla Morgan here! I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life, although we could not, did not, have the children we so wanted.
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I’ve done episodes on various types of infertility disease states such as Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, PCOS, MRKH, Fibroids, to name a few. In the case of these diagnoses, you have just that, a diagnosis. Indeed, you have the proof that comes along with or proves the diagnosis. There’s the scar tissue of endometriosis, the constant not taking a baby to term in miscarriage, the cysts, the tumors. The ugly proof truth is there constantly. The side effects are there, and the surgery suggestions that come with some of these diagnoses. But what about when no one knows why you are not getting pregnant?
Welcome to episode 89–Unexplained infertility
I received the following message back in April:
‘While listening to your PCOS segment, I wondered if you have ever done an unexplained infertility seg. If you haven’t I would like to ask you to think about doing one because it is something that isn’t talked about often enough. I have unexplained fertility and I feel it is the greatest struggle of my life. It is a mystery disease that makes doctors shrug as there is no cure if there is no disease other than lack of pregnancy. I am currently fighting it by following a strict keto diet of low carb high fiber veggies, no sugars or processed carbs and fatty meats. I listen to your podcasts while at the gym because they make me feel less alone, and that you are fighting my disease with me. Thank you for your time.’—Diana.’
So, let’s talk about unexplained infertility…
Unexplained infertility, aka idiopathic infertility
According to a CDC article on Womenshealth.gov,
Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying (or six months if a woman is 35 or older). Women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant may also be infertile. About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant’.
Unexplained infertility and female age
According to https://www.advancedfertility.com/unexplai.htm
The likelihood of a diagnosis of unexplained infertility is increased substantially in women 35 and over – and greatly increased in women over 38. The reason for this is that there are more likely to be egg quantity and quality problems as women age. Since we do not have a “standard category” called egg factor infertility, these couples sometimes get lumped into the “unexplained” infertility category.
Most women over 40 who try to get pregnant will have difficulty, and fertility over age 44 is rare – even in women who are ovulating regularly every month. The point is that the older the female partner, the more likely that there is an egg-related issue causing the fertility problem. Unfortunately, there is currently no specific test for “egg quality”. (I did not know there was not a test for egg quality.)
Also mentioned on the same website…
Chance for getting pregnant on own – without fertility treatment – for couples with unexplained infertility
The duration of infertility is important. The longer the infertility, the less likely the couple is to conceive on their own. After 5 years of infertility, a couple with unexplained infertility has less than a 10% chance for success on their own.
One study showed that for couples with unexplained infertility and over 3 years of trying on their own, the cumulative pregnancy rate after 24 months of attempting conception without any treatment was 28%. This number was found to be reduced by 10% for each year that the female is over 31.
(Reference: Collins, JA, and Rowe, TC. Fertility and Sterility 1989;[52:15]-20.)
According to verywellfamily.com.
I found the following quite interesting, and I would strongly suggest you check out the site, but listen to this: they seem to believe there is a fundamental difference between two terms that seem to be used interchangeably:
Unexplained Infertility vs. Idiopathic Female or Male Infertility
It’s important to clarify that unexplained infertility is not the same as idiopathic female or male infertility.
Idiopathic means unexplained. But when a doctor talks about idiopathic male infertility, for example, they have already determined the man is infertile. His semen analysis results were not normal.
Why are the semen analysis results not normal? That may not be known. If the doctor can’t determine the cause, they may say he has idiopathic male infertile.
Idiopathic female infertility may occur when a woman isn’t ovulating regularly or normally, but it’s unclear why ovulation isn’t happening when it should.
In both of the examples above, it’s known why the couple can’t conceive—she isn’t ovulating, or his semen isn’t in the fertile range.
With unexplained infertility, the eggs are coming, the sperm are fine, but the couple still isn’t getting pregnant.
So that’s the bottom line with regards to the term or terms: unexplained infertility and idiopathic infertility. But as I researched whichever term you want to use, I will call it unexplained infertility to keep it simple, I started reading about secondary diseases that can cause infertility. Like Celiac Disease for instance! The link to that article is in the show notes.
So, if you are dealing with any other disease, or think you may be, it may be a great idea to speak with your doctor about the possibility of a secondary disease interfering with your fertility. And remember, get a second opinion.
The issue of Celiac Disease also came up in Heather Huhman’s HuffPost article. I put the link in the show notes. I am not going into detail on Celiac Disease here because the episode is not about that, but about unexplained infertility. But I strongly suggest you read up on it if you have been diagnosed or suspect you have the condition.
I’m listing the episode link below because some of my research for this episode included information from Heather Huhman:
Some other interesting things I found out in my research: Google
‘Not enough water, not drinking enough water — or drinking too many unhealthy beverages like sodas, coffee or alcohol — can lead to dehydration and negative effects upon your fertility… –Apr 21, 2015’
‘Ginger– Ginger is an incredible food that reduces inflammatory responses in the body (good for fertility) and encourages healthy, gentle, detoxification (good for fertility). It also helps in overall digestion, which increases your ability to nourish yourself. Mar 28, 2017’
There were more suggestions on foods, herbs, and nutrition in general. I will let you do the research on that as we are all different and different things work for different people. And I do not want to get bogged down in sounding like I am suggesting a cure for infertility.
Articles of note:
Articles on idiopathic infertility:
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Until next time! Bye!
‘To recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world.’
‘Spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life’.