Unexplained Infertility

Gisborne Museum- wall 2 white figures

Approximately one in six couples experience infertility (Taylor, 2003; Cox, 2003) and of this group 40 percent is caused by a male factor, 40 percent is related to a female factor and 20 percent is a combination of both male and female factors. (Cox, 2003; Salleh, 2001; McLachlan et al., 2001)

While there has not been exhaustive data collected on the subject, experts in the field suggest that approximately 10 – 45% of infertile couples are given a medical diagnosis of ‘unknown cause’. , meaning, all the medical tests and scans that a couple undergo, find no reason for a couple’s infertility.

Best evidence is still inconclusive, but it is thought that the following issues are commonly related to a diagnosis of ‘unknown cause’:

  • Progesterone weakness
  • Fallopian tube infection
  • MTHFR gene mutation
  • Sperm mucus intolerance
  • Natural killer cells
  • A male factor that is overlooked
  • Genetic and hereditary factors

References
Cox, S. (Presenter). (2003, August 21). Infertility: dealing with the inconceivable. [Radio broadcast transcript]. Health Online Special Series. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio National. Retrieved August 28, 2003 from http://www.abc.net.au/healh/features/infertility.
McLachlan, R. I. and de Krester, D. M. (2001) Male infertility: the case for continued research. Medical Journal of Australia, 174, 116-117.
Salleh, A. (Presenter). (2001, February 5). Male infertility is not just a sperm problem. [Radio broadcast transcript]. Science online, Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio National. Retrieved February 12, 2001 from http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s241290.htm.