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Genetics and Unexplained Infertility

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Could genetic abnormalities give us an explanation for unexplained infertility? 

As a reproductive medicine specialist, it is not always possible to determine why a couple cannot conceive. We routinely do a work up for a number of the known causes for infertility including ovarian reserve, determining if the fallopian tubes are open, evaluating the sperm and confirming ovulation. Oftentimes, these tests do not lead to a definitive answer.

When this happens, we refer to it as unexplained infertility. Still, despite how commonly unexplained infertility is diagnosed, most doctors and patients find it hard to believe that most of this "unexplained" infertility is not really unexplained. Researchers from Cornell University think there may be a genetic explanation at least half of these couples difficulties. They are looking at SNPs, small genetic variations to see if certain of these SNPs are found more frequently in couples with unexplained infertility. Only time will tell if their theory is correct, and more cases of infertility can be explained.