What is unexplained infertility?

What is Unexplained Infertility?

2 min read

If you have ovaries and are experiencing infertility, you may receive a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. Here’s what that means.

Unexplained infertility is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that your team isn't able to determine what is causing your infertility. This could mean that your baseline testing has no come back with no clear indications or diagnoses. The truth is that fertility is complex and often optimizing what is in our control is the best way to move forward. This might mean investigating further medically, or it could mean dietary and lifestyle support.

Other factors that can influence fertility include:


Your doctor might send you for additional testing like Karyotyping which checks for the correct number of chromosomes in you and your partner. You can also be assessed for genetic SNPs or single-nucelotide polymorphisms. This is a cheek swab test that assess which versions of genes you have that influence your hormone metabolism and detoxification, your ability to absorb, transform and process nutrients, how well your body can get rid of toxins and handle oxidative stress and so much more.

Receptor function

Hormone receptors are the docking ports that our hormones are supposed to lock into, but sometimes they are less responsive, or our cells don’t make enough of them, so hormone signals don’t come through strong enough.

Autoimmune conditions

Autoimmune reactions in the body happen when your immune system attacks your own cells and tissues. Additional bloodwork can look for specific antibodies that can affect fertility.

Silent endometriosis

This is where there is endometriosis or adhesions inside the pelvic cavity, but in someone with no symptoms, who hasn’t had a diagnosis of endometriosis before.

Poor egg quality

Sperm quality is easier and less invasive to test for, but we currently don’t have a standard test for egg quality apart from visually assessing the internal organization of the egg cell during egg freezing or IVF, and even then, it doesn’t give us a full idea of egg quality.

Diet, lifestyle and metabolic factors

The health of our body’s cells, tissues and organs are highly influenced by our diet and lifestyle. Having too high of a body-mass index (BMI) or body fat percentage alone is associated with greater inflammation and insulin dysfunction. These can both affect reproduction. Smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption can also affect fertility, as can sleep deprivation (five hours or less per night) or keeping irregular sleep patterns. Now is a great time to speak with a naturopathic doctor or functional medicine doctor to support these areas and boost your health.