You may not have heard of fertility specialists before you began trying to get pregnant. They’re certainly not as common as other medical doctors, like dentists or dermatologists. But fertility specialists have an important job: they diagnose and treat fertility problems.
Fertility specialists, also called reproductive endocrinologists (RE), get extensive education and training before they can practice. They are board-certified in both obstetrics-gynecology and reproductive endocrinology, meaning they have completed four years of college and medical school, four years of an OB/GYN residency, and a three year fellowship in reproductive endocrinology, and have received passing scores on oral and written exams.
Fertility specialists are qualified to diagnose, treat, and help with fertility problems in the following ways.
- Perform tests for infertility: For women, these tests include reviewing their medical history, performing a physical exam, checking a woman’s fallopian tubes, ordering blood tests to monitor ovulation and hormone levels, and performing a pelvic ultrasound. For men, this involves semen testing at a laboratory.
- Determine treatment based on a diagnosis: A lot of different things can contribute to infertility, and many of these are treatable. Treatment options vary and depend on a diagnosis, as well as the possible side effects, cost, duration, and success rates of a type of treatment. Fertility specialists are qualified to weigh all of these factors and suggest the best course of treatment for a patient.
- Prescribe fertility medications: Reproductive endocrinologists have a medical degree and can prescribe certain fertility drugs to help women ovulate regularly.
- Perform insemination procedures: Fertility specialists can perform intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Women who have tubal damage, ovarian abnormalities, or endometriosis, or men with certain conditions of infertility, may be advised to try one of these forms of insemination.
- Perform certain surgeries: Fertility specialists can perform minimally invasive surgery to treat certain conditions, like endometriosis or uterine polyps. This includes removing tissue, restructuring parts of the reproductive organs, or reversing tubal ligations that could prevent a woman from getting pregnant.
- Fertility preservation services: A reproductive endocrinologist can assist with things like egg freezing, embryo freezing, and sperm freezing.
- Answer questions and help patients find support: For many people, infertility is an emotionally taxing experience. Fertility specialists are available to answer their patients’ questions, as well as refer them to counseling services that specialize in reproductive problems.
When it comes to your reproductive health, your OB/GYN can help in many different ways. But fertility specialists are uniquely qualified to diagnose and correct fertility problems.
To learn more about your infertility benefits, you can give one of Progyny’s Patient Care Advocates a call at 833-281-0069, or tap the button below to visit Progyny’s website.