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Unexplained Infertility...are the odds any good for sucess with IUI or IVF?

(35 Posts)
ChoChoSan Tue 02-Sep-08 09:47:59

Hello everyone!

Well I have been TTC for 28 months now, and I am on my last cycle of Clomid, but still no pregnancy.

The consultant has recommended that we go for IUI next followed by IVF, but I am beginning to feel a bit hopeless.

As it is unexplained infertility, I suppose they don't really have any idea if treatments will work, whereas with a known disorder one can treat it with things known to be effective?

Does anyone have any positive stories for me, as I am giving up hope, and although I was pretty stoic for the first 2 years, I am getting really upset now.

Sorry to be a moany drag - I will probably feel much better later!!

MrsFluffleHasAWuffle Tue 02-Sep-08 09:50:24

I'd be inclined to ask if I could go straight to IVF actually as then they can see if there are any fertilisation problems, whereas IUI it's all blind.

How old are you?

ChoChoSan Tue 02-Sep-08 11:15:23

I am 36, 37 in November, and my current PCT only offers assistance until 39.

Perhaps I should ask consultant if I can go straight to IVF - do you think I would have a good case, especially with the length of waiting lists- having IUI might leave me too old for IVF later on.

heron22 Tue 02-Sep-08 11:47:12

hi, have you heard of natural IVF? this is how it works. instead of taking a cocktail of drugs to make you superovulate, then harvesting the eggs, they wait for you to naturally ovulate and prior to you actually ovulating, they will collect the egg and then fertilise and put back.

this method has no bad hormonal effects on your body and you can do it month after month.

also the cost is a lot less. IVF costs around £6k per cycle and this costs only £1k.

there is a reputable clinic at harley street who does it. not sure of the name though. check it out on google if you're interested. good luck !

CantSleepWontSleep Tue 02-Sep-08 12:21:13

Have you and your dh tried things like making dietary changes? Cutting back on refined products and avoiding much soya? Poss some supplements too? Cutting out alcohol and caffeine (dh can still have a little caffeine) can help too. I presume that neither of you smoke?

It took 3.5 yrs for us to conceive the first time (nothing found to be wrong with me. Dh wouldn't go for testing hmm), but we improved our diets and took supplements before we got successful.

Unfortunately we lost that baby, but conceived again in 7 months, and then took 14 months of trying to conceive number 2.

Swampster Tue 02-Sep-08 12:53:03

Big fan of IUI here.

I had unexplained subfertility - after about seven years of TTC with no joy, I took Clomid for six months and felt progressively madder each month.

We were told we could get funding for one course of IVF or one course of IUI so had IUI while on the waiting list for IVF - We paid for it (around £500, MUCH cheaper and less invasive than IVF).

Got lucky and it worked first time. I was 36 when DS1 was born.

The letter telling us that we could proceed with IVF came through when DS1 was about six months old (we were, of course, no longer eligible)

DS2 was born - with no fertility treatment - about two years later.

DC3 is now on the way and afterwards I really must do something about birth control for the first time in more than a decade!

Good luck, ChoChoSan, whichever route you choose.

mum2ds1 Tue 02-Sep-08 13:01:13

i too have unexplained infertility
we ttc for years on clomid, iui and eventually ivf
i must admit i didnt think iui would work as my periods were pretty irregular at the time how were they gonna get it right!
we went on to ivf which we had to fund ourselves. the first attempt failed and was heartbreaking as we had initially produced loads of embryos 2 were used and the others were not viable
we jumped straight back on the rollercoaster and had another shot funded by ourselves again
this time less embryos but sucsess we now have a beautiful son age 5
i would dearly love another but we cant fund it ourselves again so it wont happen
we r both still unexplained .
i used to use a web site called fertility friends when ttc and doing the treatment etc i must say i found it a great help.
good luck hun and

thelittlestbadger Tue 02-Sep-08 13:09:40

I had 8 courses of IUI followed by one of IVF in which I got pregnant. I hated HATED HATED IUI. It involved loads of hospital appointments to check whether I was ovulating (3 or 4 scans some weeks) followed by the actual insemination which was another day off work. EAch time it failed so like natural TTC, I had to pick myself up and start again.

With IVF I found some things which really helped (Apart from getting pg obviously!) - firstly, you can see which stages are working - i.e. look my body is producing eggs, they retrieved some, they formed embryos, the embyros are good quality etc. You also have a break between cycles so you can be incredibly virtuous in the run up to IVF about eating, drinking etc knowing that if it goes horribly wrong you are ont jeopardising the next attempt by drowning your sorrows. I would suggestr seeing if you can get straight onto IVF waiting lists at least.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 02-Sep-08 13:34:38


What tests have you both had done to date?. Sometimes tests can be missed out.

Unexplained infertility is infact no diagnosis at all; it simply means that they have failed to date to find out what is wrong. Sometimes this "diagnosis" is also given to couples when not enough investigation in terms of tests has been done.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 02-Sep-08 13:50:33

The most common tests that tend to be omitted are:-

Adequate x-rays of the uterus which may show abnormalities not otherwise seen at laparoscopy.

Hysteroscopy - telescope inspection of the inside of the uterus which may occasionally show abnormalities not seen otherwise

Repeated sperm counts over several weeks and months to make sure there is no subtle abnormality

Testing the sperm in special media such as swim up testsvelocity testing. However, when they are done, they often uncover a hidden cause for the suppposed unexplained problem

Thorough hormone tests to detect abnormalities of male hormone or early falls in progesterone

Scanning of the ovaries to see if follicles really are developing and there are no sign of polycystic ovaries.

hobnobs Tue 02-Sep-08 14:34:44

I had unexplained fertility as well (am 39) and we decided to try IUI (with Clomid) privately while progressing through the NHS system for IVF. I know the statistics aren't great but I was keen to try something that was less invasive to start with (it's also a lot cheaper privately), as there was no real reason why it wasn't happening. We were lucky - it worked first time and I'm now just over 7 weeks smile. My cycle is pretty regular so I didn't need that many scans to work out when I was going to ovulate.

If I'd had the three sessions of IUI we'd planned for before moving to IVF, I realise I might not have been so positive! It might be worth finding out if you can have IUI (on the NHS) while you're on the waiting list for IVF so you don't waste too much time. The statistics for IVF are much better but the treatment is also longer and more time-consuming.

Good luck with whatever you decide. I'd still love to know what was stopping us conceiving natually but I'm not sure it's that easy to have all these extra tests.

Upwind Tue 02-Sep-08 14:46:20

I think that there is only a point to additional tests if they will change treatment. I assume you both have a healthy lifestyle and you've been charting at some point?

Have you also had a hysterscopy and laparoscopy? They can be done together, and my gynae claimed it was the only way to really check the tubes and uterus for problems. He was not keen on IUI for unexplained infertility, claiming that studies and his experience had both shown it to be little use. I fell pregnant naturally in the end.

ChoChoSan Tue 02-Sep-08 14:50:38

Thanks for all your responses everyone! And it's good to hear some good luck stories. I will ask the consultant if I can have iui whilst waiting for IVF...I think he might do that, as he forwarded my details to the hospital I would have IUI in sometime ago, even though I have not finished with Clomid yet.

I have had blood tests to confirm ovulation, and I am regular as clockwork really, though I ovulate CD17 or 18 and have a short luteal phase (though this has extended 2 days with Clomid).

I have had the hysterosalpingogram and everything was fine, but fuck me did it hurt?!! My PCT don't do follicle scanning, even when you are on Clomid, which is really bad practice.

DH has had his swimmers tested twice, but just for quality/motility etc.

I eat healthily, don't smoke and I now don't drink much. If I go for IVF, I think I would like to try the natural approach. We had hoped to start out with NHS and then go private, but I might be tempted to 'slot one in' before then...would this affect my options on the NHS?

ChoChoSan Tue 02-Sep-08 15:11:58

Upwind...I have done tons of charting, but I am having a month off - very sure of Ovulation day by now though!

I'm not too sure about the IUI - it seems that it just gives the swimmers a 'leg up', but beyond that, it's no different from what we have been doing by ourselves for the past 2 years! [ cynical emoticon].

Anyway, hopefully, I will get lucky like you and just find I get preg naturally - I'd like some time left over to try for another one too, but maybe I am just being greedy!

Bringbackmybonnietome Tue 02-Sep-08 15:14:50

My DB and SIL have unexplained infertility.

They have had IVF three times and got pregant each time.

Now have 3 DC'ssmile.

there is definetly hope.

sadminster Tue 02-Sep-08 15:28:49

We were diagnosed with unexplained secondary infertility after ttc for 4 years after my dd was born. Did clomid which was vile then went straight for IVF - we were told chance with IUI was no greater than with well timed sex. We were given about a 60% chance of success with IVF & did get pregnant but had a second trimester miscarriage.

I then did an ovulation induction cycle (though I ovulate normally) & got pg with my ds. It was basically what you do with a stimulated IUI cycle - injectable FSH - but with just sex. So who knows what would've happened if we'd opted for IUI originally. Next pg was spontaneous although sadly I miscarried at 17 weeks.

ChoChoSan Tue 02-Sep-08 15:43:05

Well thanks everyone! I am going to do a bit of research on the natural IVF I think, and maybe discuss dropping iui with my consultant, unless he can do it whilst I am on the waiting list for IVF.

I think I will have to discuss the bank account with OH when I get home!

Upwind Wed 03-Sep-08 12:32:17

We had also reached the point where my consultant had said that the next step was IVF. There is a very long waiting list in our area, so we had planned to go to Sweden to have it done as it would have worked out MUCH cheaper than having it done privately here. A couple of weeks later I was shocked to discover that I was pregnant.

I used to get extremely frustrated and angry when told, "relax, and it will happen" but in the end it did happen when we had resigned ourselves to IVF.

Gmakes3 Wed 03-Sep-08 13:45:37

Had IUI after ttc 7 years (unexplained fertility), was 36 and worked 1st time. Now 38 and just had 1 cycle of IUI and again worked 1st time, much cheaper than IVF and suposedly less invasive, though feels invasive enough at the time, but only have good things to say of IUI with my expierience. 1 DD 22 months and now 5 weeks preg.

ClairePO Wed 03-Sep-08 13:48:44

Congrats !

With IUI do they do anything at all with the sperm before it is inseminated? Have I read that they can 'wash' it extract the best swimmers or have I been having odd ttc dreams and have made that up blush

ClairePO Wed 03-Sep-08 13:49:23

dunno what happened there but it was meant to say 'Congrats Gmakes3!'

Gmakes3 Wed 03-Sep-08 13:56:08

Hi. yes they do wash it first, I guess dh swimmers are lazy and need a leg up. V excited/nervous but have also been told may be twins as v high levels in blood preg test. Won't know for another 10 days.

sadminster Wed 03-Sep-08 15:48:07

Gmakes3 that's great news! Congratulations!

Was it a natural cycle IUI or was it stimulated? I don't suppose the NHS paid for it either.

hobnobs Wed 03-Sep-08 17:31:39

Claire. As GMakes says, they wash the sample (and it comes back pink!) Amongst other things, it increases the motility - in my DH's case, his motility (which was already pretty good) went up from 76% to 94%.

GMakes - congratulations! smile My blood test levels were so low they made me repeat them twice (all fine now) so I knew there was virtually no chance of twins!

Gmakes3 Wed 03-Sep-08 17:52:06

Thanks for the congrats. Sadminster it was stimulated both times. I was lucky to get NHS for the first as we got the GP to send a referral 2 weeks before I was 35. I say lucky because I did not know what the cut off points were. This time we had to pay but when it works its the best money ever spent.Always wanted a big family but if its 3 under 3 then its a bit of a challenge.

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