How To Chose A Good Fertility Doctor
A fertility specialist, also referred to as a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), is not simply an ob-gyn. These specialists have credentials that set them apart from other doctors. Although many ob-gyns can perform an initial fertility evaluation and provide very basic infertility treatment, seeking assistance from a specially-trained infertility expert is most helpful in determining the causes of infertility, and may wind up saving you and your partner time.[1.Sherbahn, R. (2015). “When to See a Fertility Specialist; How to Choose a Good Fertility Doctor.” Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.advancedfertility.com/choose.htm]
If you ever need to search for an RE, you should seek out an individual who is a fellowship-trained fertility specialist. Ask whether he or she completed a fellowship in RE and infertility. This consists of three years of specialized training after the doctor has already completed the required four years for ob-gyn training.[2.Sherbahn, R.; see above.] In the U.S., The Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility offers these official three-year programs for doctors through a select number (about 40) of colleges and universities.[3.American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. (2015). Retrieved November 29, 2015, from http://www.socrei.org/uploadedFiles/Affiliates/SOCREI/Fellowships/REIFellowshipPrograms.pdf]
In previous chapters, we discussed how women who are 35 or older may want to see a fertility specialist after 6 months because fertility declines at a quicker rate beyond this age; whereas younger women may try to conceive for a period of a year before considering a visit with a specialist. Beyond those individuals, there are some other women who may want to meet with an RE either before or while TTC. For instance, women who have moderate to severe endometriosis, blocked fallopian tube(s), any other tubal issues, or polycystic ovary syndrome may want to see an RE before TTC. Likewise, if the father-to-be knowingly has a low sperm count or motility, it may be a good idea to seek out advice from an RE.[4.Sherbahn, R.; see above.]
Once an appointment is made with a specialist, patients should prepare before the visit by knowing what to expect. During the first visit, a doctor will meet with the patient and review medical history (thus, patients should bring medical records or be prepared to discuss health history). If the patient has already had fertility testing done prior to the appointment, the RE may be able to discuss treatment options upon this initial visit. If not, the doctor may wait to provide options until the couple has been tested.[5.Beall, S. (2013 November 20). “When Is it Time to See a Fertility Doctor?” The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-beall-md-phd/when-is-it-time-to-see-a-_b_4297867.html]
Most often, an RE will recommend initial diagnostic testing which could consist of options ranging from blood tests to a semen analysis. Depending on the patient’s specific medical history, an RE may also request imaging studies such as ultrasounds and special X-rays. Some REs may also recommend genetic testing at this time to screen for recessive disorders before moving forward with pregnancy efforts. At a subsequent appointment, an RE would review test results with you.