Fertility specialists are usually gynecologists or urologists who have received additional training to treat reproductive organ problems.
There are a variety of reasons why your doctor may refer you to a fertility specialist, some of which include:
Difficulty conceiving for more than six months if you are 35 years or older , or for more than one year if he is younger .
I had two or more miscarriages .
Starting to try to conceive with risk factors knowledge or symptoms of infertility , What the irregular cycles , genetic disorders or previous sexually transmitted infections (even if they have already been treated).
Barbie or Ladies with a cancer diagnosis who need guidance on how to maintain fertility before treatments or those who are ready to conceive after treatments.
Men or women interested in permanent contraceptive options such as tubal ligation or vasectomy.
While your primary care physician or gynecologist may begin the evaluation process and may even prescribe basic treatments such as Clomid , you may need to consult a fertility specialist for tests and treatments beyond the basics.
Doctors specializing in fertility
Reproductive endocrinologists (sometimes called ER) are what most people consider fertility specialists. A reproductive endocrinologist is a gynecologist who has additional training in treatments for infertility and fertility; treats both male and female fertility problems.
Reproductive endocrinologists administer, perform and prescribe a variety of test and treatments from fertility , inclusive IUI and IVF . When external specialists are needed in a particular case, the reproductive endocrinologist is usually the main consultant.
They can also help cancer patients maintain fertility by working with an oncologist to coordinate fertility conservation before starting cancer treatments that endanger fertility.
Andrologies are urologists who have completed additional training in male fertility. Andrologists can assess and treat male fertility problems alone or with a reproductive endocrinologist. They can look further to find the cause of low or no sperm and, if possible, treat the problem so that the couple can conceive without IVF.
An andrologist can also perform a testicular biopsy. for use in testicular sperm extraction (TESE). It also treats reproductive infections, erectile dysfunction, testicular torsion and non-descending testicles.
Another type of fertility specialist is a reproductive surgeon . While reproductive endocrinologists also perform surgeries, reproductive surgeons have even more training in surgical procedures and can treat patients for problems beyond trying to have a baby.
For example, reproductive surgeons may remove fibroids or surgically treat endometriosis. A reproductive surgeon may perform or reverse vasectomies and tubal ligatures, and their main training may be in gynecology or urology.
Reproductive immunologists combines knowledge of immunology and reproductive medicine. A reproductive immunologist may be consulted in case of recurrent miscarriage, infertility inexplicable or repeated IVF failure without explanation .
They may also be asked if the woman has endometriosis or an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Reproductive immunologists can be doctors or scientists and usually work with a reproductive endocrinologist to treat infertile couples.
Clinics and fertility specialists
The most of fertility clinics They are led by a reproductive endocrinologist or a team of reproductive endocrinologists. Some clinics, but not all, have andrologists.
Reproductive immunologists are even less likely to be on staff, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work with you in special cases. (However, some aspects of reproductive immunology are new and not all fertility specialists agree with the latest immunology-based treatments.)
In addition to fertility physicians, a fertility clinic may also have nurses, embryologists, sonographers, and other laboratory technicians from reproductive medicine staff. Some clinics may also have acupuncturists , nutritionists and councilors .
In addition to medical specialists, clinics often have financial advisors to help you understand your payment options and take care of your insurance (if applicable).
Having a large staff does not make a clinic great, just as having a small staff does not make a clinic less than great. When choosing a fertility clinic, you should consider your specific fertility needs and situation.
For example, some clinics refuse to work with women over the age of 40 unless they agree to use the early donor’s eggs, while other clinics specialize in helping women over the age of 40. Another example could be if you are dealing with male infertility , in which case a clinic with an andrologist would be ideal.
Can you continue with your regular OB / GYN?
Switching to a fertility specialist can be emotional and (sometimes) practically overwhelming. Fertility clinics may not accept insurance (which means you will have to apply for coverage outside the network yourself) or your insurance does not cover fertility services at all. You may also not live near a fertility clinic. Depending on your location and the size of your city or town, consulting a fertility specialist can mean taking a day off from work. (Or sometimes they even need an overnight trip.)
You may be tempted to stay with your regular gynecologist for as long as possible. It is a good idea? Depends.
If you are young people and basic fertility tests (for both you and your partner) return to normal, you’ll probably be fine with your regular OB / gynecologist for another six months. Also, if basic fertility tests show «mild» fertility problems and it would be very difficult to go to a clinic, it is probably best to stay with your regular doctor for another six months.
However, if you are over 35 or fertility tests detect a more serious problem (such as blocked fallopian tubes , primary ovarian failure or very low sperm count ), then it is better to consult a specialist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment could reduce the chances of a successful fertility treatment.
A word from Verywell
A fertility clinic is as good as its doctors. Before choosing a fertility clinic, make sure you meet the staff. Take the time to interview your potential doctor. Find out if doctors have experience with your fertility problems and how they plan to work with you. If you decide to have tests and treatments, it is possible to work closely with the clinic for a long time, so you want a staff that not only cares, but also knows how to help you the best.