Evidence-based treatments for couples with unexplained infertility: a guideline

Academic Article


  • Objective: To provide evidence-based recommendations to practicing physicians and others regarding the effectiveness and safety of therapies for unexplained infertility. Methods: ASRM conducted a literature search, which included systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, and prospective and retrospective comparative observational studies published from 1968 through 2019. The ASRM Practice Committee and a task force of experts used available evidence and informal consensus to develop evidence-based guideline recommendations. Main Outcome Measure(s): Outcomes of interest included: live-birth rate, clinical pregnancy rate, implantation rate, fertilization rate, multiple pregnancy rate, dose of treatment, rate of ovarian hyperstimulation, abortion rate, and ectopic pregnancy rate. Result(s): The literature search identified 88 relevant studies to inform the evidence base for this guideline. Recommendation(s): Evidence-based recommendations were developed for the following treatments for couples with unexplained infertility: natural cycle with intrauterine insemination (IUI); clomiphene citrate with intercourse; aromatase inhibitors with intercourse; gonadotropins with intercourse; clomiphene citrate with IUI; aromatase inhibitors with IUI; combination of clomiphene citrate or letrozole and gonadotropins (low dose and conventional dose) with IUI; low-dose gonadotropins with IUI; conventional-dose gonadotropins with IUI; timing of IUI; and in vitro fertilization and treatment paradigms. Conclusion(s): The treatment of unexplained infertility is by necessity empiric. For most couples, the best initial therapy is a course (typically 3 or 4 cycles) of ovarian stimulation with oral medications and intrauterine insemination (OS-IUI) followed by in vitro fertilization for those unsuccessful with OS-IUI treatments.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Penzias A; Bendikson K; Falcone T; Hansen K; Hill M; Jindal S; Mersereau J; Racowsky C; Rebar R; Steiner AZ
  • Start Page

  • 305
  • End Page

  • 322
  • Volume

  • 113
  • Issue

  • 2