Those who have followed my story know that I came up with several reasons for my infertility, when I was TTC. I just couldn’t sit back and accept that there was no real explanation to why we were experiencing a delay! From tubal blockage, to adhesions, to PCOS, I needed something I could point at and blame for our infertility. For some reason, I felt that having something specific to attack not only made for a more efficient treatment plan, it offered me the consolation that getting it out of the way was all I needed to get my baby. So imagine my disappointment when I was told that; yes, my left tube was blocked…but that I should ideally be able to conceive normally with my right alone; yes, there were adhesions from my earlier fibroid surgery, but these had been successfully cleared at a recently conducted laparoscopy; and yes, whilst I did demonstrate a lot of PCOS traits, I was ovulating just fine. This could have been consoling news to anyone, but for me, it just added to my frustration! So, if all was so great, why on earth was I not getting pregnant!
And there are a lot of women in this situation! I remember when a good friend of mine, triumphantly called me on the phone, to let me know that their tests were all clear. They had been trying for a baby for about five years, and had only just commenced investigative tests. “Oh, that’s great!” I exclaimed “So, what are you guys going to do now?”. It was like that question lifted the veil for her, as she paused for a long time, before abruptly getting off the phone. She was later to tell me that the she was suddenly hit by the earth shattering question of what exactly would they do now??! Yes, they had been certified healthy, but what could they do now that they hadn’t been doing for the last five years?! She suddenly felt like she was in limbo! Their doctor refused to prescribe any ovulation inducing medication for her, as tests showed she was ovulating just fine. The best he could offer were monitored cycles, and even those were hardly any different from what she and her husband had been doing all these years. So yes, they were both fine…but then what next?
Another one of my TTC friends told me how, after her own tests had come back clean, she was almost wishing her husband’s test results would come back poor. “I needed to have someone to blame, Nicole!” she lamented “And since it couldn’t be me, I desperately needed it to be him!”. The fact that her husband vehemently refused to subject himself to any tests almost confirmed her suspicion. So much did she believe that her husband was the cause of their infertility, that she started researching ways to boost sperm count, and about the possibility of surgically retrieving sperm in cases of extremely low, or zero, sperm count. Imagine her shock when her husband finally agreed to get tested, and his sperm volume, motility, and mobility were super! She told me how he couldn’t understand her foul mood as they drove home.
You see, most people like to have a PLAN! A line of action. And I happen to be one of these people. I like to plan and organise my life. And if there is anything going wrong, if I don’t know how to fix it right away, I need to know the tools that will enable me fix it eventually! Unexplained infertility is often like walking around with a blindfold! You just have no direction. You are now subject to trying every, and any, type of fertility treatment…depending on the whim of the doctor you see. This one might think indefinite cycles of clomid will work for you, the other one might demand you commence other more aggressive treatment forms right away, and the other might suggest a TTC break, to allow your body rejuvenate itself. You are now faced with a wide, wide array of possibilities. All of which you usually try, and end up even more devastated than before. In the end, most couples throw in the towel, and decide to opt for IVF. 30% of IVF patients are those who have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility.
However, as much as people in this situation might not want to hear it, getting a clean bill of health is a good thing. Yes, it means that you’re still clueless about why you haven’t conceived yet. But it also means that you have no physical conditions that could be impeding it. It just might be a time and chance thing. I know too many couples that have conceived whilst waiting to start IVF. I have a friend whose pre-IVF bloodworm revealed she was already pregnant, and another whose pre-IVF routine scan showed that she was already 7 weeks gone. So, it might just be a case of changing your immediate circumstances, or the timing of your sex.
I will never be one to tell people to just “relax and wait, and it will happen” … well not if they have been TTC for a few years. I won’t do that, because I understand the impatience. I understand the feeling of throwing up your hands in defeat, and taking your destiny into your hands. The reason I didn’t use my regular Gynaecologist for my 1st IVF cycle was that he thought my situation did not quite warrant IVF. But after trying his method for a few months, I was already extremely impatient. I just could not wait a second longer! So off I went for my first IVF cycle. I have a feeling that after a few more cycles, I actually might have gotten a natural BFP!
So, if you have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, it is best to first of all listen to your heart. If it wants you to take a chill pill, then you do just that. But if it wants you to keep trying, have a sincere chat with your doctor about all your options, and work out a plan that works for you!
Good luck folks!