Common Question #1: What is a reproductive endocrinologist?
Reproductive Endocrinologists are doctors that specialize in the following fields of study:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Hypothalamic pituitary dysfunction
- A congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Tubal factor infertility
- Male factor infertility
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Fertility preservation
- Congenital uterine anomalies
- Other disorders of the female reproductive tract
Common Question #2: What’s wrong with seeing an OB-GYN?
Not all OB-GYNs are bad. In fact, reproductive endocrinology is a subspecialty of obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN is short for OBsterics and GYNecology). The difference is that:
- In order to become an OB-GYN, a person has to do 4 years of medical school then a 4-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. I
- n order to become a reproductive endocrinologist, a person has to do 4 years of medical school, a 4-year residency in Obsterics and Gynecology, AND a 3 year fellowship in reproductive endocrinology. (source)
While OB-GYNs do cover infertility during residency, the coverage is not extensive. Reproductive endocrinologists, on the other hand, only focus infertility. Everyday, they deal solely with patients dealing with infertility and are able to see more instances of what results in success or failure, you have more of an idea of what will be successful or a failure. Reproductive endocrinologists also dedicate more time to learning about fertility. Your urologist will not spend her free time reading studies about the correlation between uterine fibroids and infertility. Your gynecologist will not spend her free time reading about recent trends in semen analysis. And your primary care physician isn’t likely to do either. The reason being that this is not the area of study for each doctor: reading about these types of things are less likely to help their patients because these aren’t issues their patients typically come to them for. Your reproductive endocrinologist, however, is likely to read about all of those. This is why patients of reproductive endocrinologists have more success.
Furthermore, standard OB-GYNs are not equipped to treat patients with IVF or IUI. IVF and IUI requires extensive monitoring. Some women throughout a cycle of IVF will find themselves going to the doctor to have bloodwork and an ultrasound every single day for a week. This bloodwork is time-sensitive and needs to be processed within the day. The offices of doctors not specializing in fertility are generally not equipped for this level of monitoring.
Common Question #3: What about a urologist or primary care physician?
Read the answer for Common Question #2.