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While there are many reasons for unexplained infertility in women, there are also many reasons for unexplained infertility in men. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that 1 in 6 couples are affected by infertility, with more than half of those cases being male-related.
This article will discuss some of the most common reasons for unexplained infertility in women and men. You’ll also learn how to find the source of your problem, find healthcare, and how couples can work together to overcome any fertility issues.
5 Common Reasons for Unexplained Infertility in Women
Some of the most common reasons for unexplained infertility in women include the following.
1. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
If you’re struggling with unexplained infertility and have had unprotected sex with multiple partners over the past year, one or more STIs may be causing your problems. STIs can reduce fertility by increasing inflammation in your pelvis—this inflammation can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause scar tissue build-up and infertility.1
2. Ovulation Problems
Irregular periods and ovulation problems can impact the likelihood of pregnancy. Therefore, women can track their periods or use ovulation kits to know when their chances of getting pregnant are at their highest.
Many hormones work together to induce ovulation, and hormonal imbalance can cause many infertility problems. However, female hormone testing can provide a clear and accurate window into your fertility, identifying any discrepancies causing ovulation irregularities. For an even closer look at your hormone balance, a follicle-stimulating hormone test can also provide insight into FSH–a hormone primarily responsible for egg and sperm production.
3. Blocked Fallopian Tubes
This condition can prevent sperm from reaching the egg or fertilizing it. Blocked fallopian tubes are sometimes caused by a blockage in your reproductive system, such as scar tissue. Rectifying this condition usually requires surgery to remove the obstruction.2
As we age, hormones such as estrogen decrease, making us less likely to get pregnant naturally. Additionally, age can affect how well an egg can implant into your uterus, limiting conception chances.
5. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal disorder that can cause irregular or long periods and small fluid collections in the ovaries.3 This disorder is usually caused by an overabundance of insulin or androgen, inflammation or heredity. Symptoms of PCOS may include excess hair growth on your face and body, weight gain, acne, or oily skin.
Treatment for PCOS can vary depending on the root cause. However, physicians may prescribe a medication that encourages the ovaries to release eggs.4
3 Common Reasons for Unexplained Infertility in Men
Many factors can contribute to infertile couples. However, it is essential to remember that infertility is not something that happens to a woman—it’s a condition that affects both partners in a couple.
So what causes unexplained infertility in men? The following includes three of the most common reasons.
1. Sperm Disorders
Male factor infertility is common among couples struggling with fertility issues. For instance, if the man has a low sperm count or poor semen quality (such as low motility), this might prevent pregnancy even though both partners are healthy otherwise. This happens because the man produces less than average sperm cells with normal morphology and shape.
2. Blockage or Obstruction
Blockage in the male reproductive system can prevent semen from leaving the body properly. This obstruction can also lead to problems with conception because sperm cells need to be able to travel through these tubes to reach an egg.
Varicoceles are growths on the scrotum that can cause blockage of the passage of sperm through the ducts of the testicles. Varicoceles can cause male infertility by restricting blood flow through these veins, affecting sperm production and movement within the testicles.5
If you’re struggling with unexplained infertility issues, take heart! You’re not alone. A few adjustments in lifestyle and diet can go a long way, and your primary care physician can help to identify any causes for concern. In addition, certain medications can help once the root cause has been identified.
“Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).” Mayo Clinic. April 30, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352594.
Claire Sissons. “Signs and symptoms of blocked fallopian tubes.” Medical News Today. April 6, 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321419#diagnosis.
“Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).” Mayo Clinic. Oct. 03, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/symptoms-causes/syc-20353439.
“Polycystic ovary syndrome – Treatment.” National Health Service. February 1, 2019. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/treatment/.
“What is Male Infertility?.” Urology Care Foundation. (n.d.) Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/m/male-infertility.