The Unexplained

March 6, 2014

Recently [this post has been sitting as a draft for some time but that doesn’t really matter since this topic recurs on a regular basis] there was a discussion in the IF corner of the Twitterverse about whether it is better or worse to have an explanation for your infertility. This is an old topic that surfaces every now again – usually when someone who has unexplained (or not well-explained) infertility decides to stop treatments. She knows that stopping is the right choice for her but she still doesn’t know WHY fertility treatments didn’t work. It seems to be frustration piled on top of anger piled on top of heartache.

My infertility is explained – thrice over. Well…explained may not be the best word for it. But I have diagnoses. I can give a name to the cause of my infertility if not a name to the cause of the cause. Giving a name to a thing can give you power over it – or a sense of power. I have names I can bandy about: Diminished Ovarian Reserve, Endometriosis, Adenomyosis. I have test results like AMH, FSH, countless ultrasounds, MRIs and now a pathology report that validate those diagnoses.

In the end, no one can tell me why I have these issues. No one can tell me what caused them. Not even one of them has a known cause in my case.

But I have names to call out and curse. Unfortunately they are all too long to produce any catchy battle cries. “Curse you, Diminished Ovarian Reserve!” just doesn’t have a good ring to it.

Am I lucky? Maybe. Probably. Most days I think so because I’m a person who likes to know things. Also, in the world of fertility treatments I am a rare bird. I didn’t have to make the difficult choice to stop fertility treatments. My RE broke up with me and said your uterus is Swiss cheese please stop the madness. Most people who have gone through IVF don’t have such concrete evidence of what is wrong with their reproductive organs.

And so I am somewhat lucky. I can’t imagine not having a name for what is wrong with me or having doctors that say, “It’s just bad luck, why don’t you try again?”

Actually I CAN imagine not having a name for what’s wrong with me as I did go through that before getting the endometriosis diagnosis. For any health issue, fertility related or not, it can be mentally and emotionally debilitating to have symptoms and no diagnosis. Doctors start giving you that look. That look that says maybe it’s all in her head. And after a while you start to believe it, too. But for those of you with unexplained infertility your only symptom may be empty arms and a broken heart.

And for you I have a proposal. I have names but no ultimate causes. A name is just a word given to something. Why don’t you name your infertility? Give it a name. OWN IT. That’s why I named my uterus. Maybe it won’t work for you, but for me it has helped to actually embrace it, own it…then beat it the fuck down. I got to do that literally through surgery, but words can work too (The pen is mightier than the sword and all). So give your infertility some manner of -osis and start yelling at it.

Just pretend you’re Meredith Grey and invent something like “Hostile Uterus” (OK it’s not entirely made up). Or be cheeky and call it Raymond – because everyone does NOT love him – or some other name you dislike. I can see how screaming at George or Shirley that s/he’s an ugly sonofabeach and should get the fuck out could be therapeutic.

Or not. You decide.

[DISCLAIMER: In case it wasn’t glaringly obvious to you, it is not my intent to poke fun at people with unexplained infertility, merely to have fun with what could be a therapeutic process in dealing with it.]

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2 Responses to “The Unexplained”


  1. Not gonna lie, my lack of diagnosis is one of the leading causes for my breakdown a few months back. My psychiatrist repeatedly told me that my issue is the fact that my lack of a diagnosis makes me fixate on it and try to find a solution. I can’t control it, but I desperately try to. I just add it to the pile of things I am now bitterly jealous of others over. Which of course makes me such an angry person. At this point I just feel like /i have no idea what to do about it =(.

    • Fox Says:

      :,-( I’m so sorry if this post was triggering for you. Would you like me to make up a name for you?


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