Fertility specialists, or reproductive endocrinologists (RE), are a subspecialty of OB/GYN that is devoted to treating infertility in both men and women. Some OB/GYN’s are able to provide limited infertility treatment to the patients, but they are not always trained the some of the more advanced reproductive technologies that RE’s are. RE’s are highly trained medical physicians that receive 4-5 additional years of education and training beyond the required 4-year obstetrics and gynecology residency training and board certification.
When a patient seeks the help of a fertility specialist, it can be an emotional time. For this, it’s important the patient interviews more than one specialist before selecting the one. There are various reasons for infertility. According to one study, 22% of all cases of infertility are due to the woman, 47% are attributed to the man, 30% are attributed to both the man and woman, and 6% of all cases are medical mysteries.
What Causes Infertility?
Infertility can be caused by many things. Fertility specialists can help you narrow down the cause, and if possible treat the cause.
For a woman infertility may be caused by:
- Multiple previous miscarriages
- Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
- Low body fat
- Endometriosis or tubal damage
- Chronic medical conditions or diseases
For a man infertility may be caused by:
- Low sperm count
- Undescended testicles
- Testes exposed to high temperatures
- History of genital infection or hernia repair
- Having had mumps after puberty
Benefits of Seeing a Fertility Specialist
There are numerous benefits you can attain if you choose to see a fertility specialist during your crisis. These doctors are dedicated to understanding your particular situation and cause for the infertility. Here are some of the benefits you will receive by seeing a fertility specialist:
- Administer more complex therapies such as ovulation induction with FSH
- Administer the most appropriate treatments early in the course of therapy
- More cost effective
- More likely to result in pregnancy
- Can educate you on various fertility subjects
- Advise you on lifestyle and diet habits
How Long Should We Try Before Seeing a Fertility Specialist?
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex or, when the woman is 35 or older, after 6 months of unprotected sex. If a woman has had two or more spontaneous miscarriages, she should see a fertility specialist. Infertility is said to affect 15% of all couples (about 2.4 million people) at some point during their reproductive lives. Before seeking the help of a fertility specialist, you should also consider other options you and your partner have. For example, adoption is always an option. But you don’t necessarily have to adopt a child. There is a new form of infertility treatment known as embryo adoption. If, emphasize if, the problem was due to the woman not reproducing eggs, a consideration could be embryo adoption. Briefly, embryo adoptions are similar to regular adoptions, only differing in a way that the couple can experience the pregnancy and birth of their child.