Unexplained infertility really, really sucks! When embroiled in it you spend a lot of time wishing for a reason to appear or for the situation to just magically resolve itself. I thought once we crossed that bridge to a ‘reason’ things would get easier.
I guess ‘explained infertility’ has the benefits of more targeted treatments. When they work this is an awesome thing. But what I have discovered is that 'explained infertility' can be just as unknown as unexplained infertility.
If the treatment is not working, often the answer is the same one you have heard so many times before - we are not sure why.
Having been on both sides of the fence I've come to the conclusion that all forms of fertility challenges are equally hard.
The first half of our TTC to date was spent in the world of unexplained infertility.
Right when we accepted it was time to see a fertility specialist we got pregnant.
Yes we were that couple you hear about that books the appointment and then BAM!
This was a natural pregnancy, and unfortunately an ectopic. The silver lining appeared to be that we now knew why it had taken us so long to conceive – I had a blocked tube.
From there cue the end of unexplained infertility! Woohoo........right??
My remaining tube was blockage free and we were doing IVF - seemed like a lock! Sure enough we got pregnant first go. Another ectopic.
We thought with my tubes gone our problems would be solved. But on and on we went and nothing happened…..
More tests and examinations uncovered a list of things - So:
- Surgery for my endometriosis and ovarian cyst - CHECK!
- Change in vitamin and supplement routine for my MTHFR gene mutation- CHECK!
- Increased boost cycles for my low AMH – CHECK!
- Immune suppressant routine for my autoimmune issues (Natural Killer cells) and our allo-immune issue (partial DQ Alpha match with hubby) – CHECK!
- Total medication and information overload freak out - CHECK!
- 18 months later - Pregnant yet? - NOPE!
When in the unexplained category we are seeking certainty - we want to know what the problem is. Not knowing is torture.
But my experience of explained infertility has taught me that having answers can be just as overwhelming.
It can confirm blame you have been silently assigning to yourself (see, I knew this was my fault!)
It can crush hope and lead to a feeling its too much to overcome.
It can get more expensive as most of the treatments aren't covered by IVF's regular cycles.
It can lead to feelings of failure when the “treatments” don’t work
So What Are My Tips For Dealing With Explained Infertility?
Don’t compare yourself to others
Been there done that. Why did the treatment work for them and not me?
How long is a piece of string?
Trust me – it’s not worth it. We are all different, we all respond to things differently. We don’t really know what is going on for someone else – its pointless to compare.
Their success doesn’t actually impact you at all – other than to give you hope it can work!
I learnt the hard way doing the “oh- awesome we have these reasons and these treatments” and cramming it all into one cycle thinking it was the silver bullet!
Result – got overwhelmed, got the flu, got cranky, got sad. Pretty much all I didn’t get was pregnant!
Lesson learned was it’s not a race (though it feels like one sometimes!). I needed to be ok with taking it slow and tackling it bit by bit so it wasn’t too much for mind, body and spirit!
Sort Out Your Head
If you are struggling emotionally - carrying guilt, blame or judgement or feeling angry and disconnected from your body it’s only going to be harder! Talk to people who can help – eg fertility coach, counsellor or support groups/forums.
You are not alone in this – support is there, you just need to reach out for it!
What has your experience of explained infertility been like? Any advice?