When an individual or couple has difficulty conceiving, or if they suspect that it may be difficult to conceive because of a known problem, a woman will often discuss it with her OB/GYN. The OB/GYN will typically review the medical history and perform an examination. They may recommend an evaluation to determine the cause of the problem. The results of these tests will guide treatment. While some OB/GYNs will initiate treatment, it is not the primary focus of their practice.
Reproductive Endocrinologists (RE) are OB/GYNs who receive two to three years of additional training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. An RE devotes all of his or her time and attention to the treatment of infertility. As ovulation doesn’t take a vacation, an RE must be available 365 days a year. In addition, availability of appropriate laboratory equipment and staff must exist to handle the timing and coordination of potentially complex testing and treatment. Studies have shown that infertility care is most cost effective and more likely to result in pregnancy when delivered by an RE. A recent survey found that over 90% of individuals receiving infertility care felt that they should have seen an RE sooner.