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What is an Infertility Specialist?

A medical specialist who treats patients with infertility is known professionally as a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Training in Reproductive Endocrinology requires four years of college followed by four years of medical school. The physician must then complete a four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN), during which the physician receives broad training in general Obstetrics and Gynecology. The final course of training is a two or three year Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology. Fellowship training concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of infertility and related syndromes. This training includes experience in microsurgery, laparoscopic and hysteroscopy surgery, in vitro fertilization, sonography, and ovulation induction. In addition, the physician spends a large amount of time completing clinical or laboratory research.

Upon achieving a Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology, a specialist seeks Board certification, a multi-step process. To become Board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology, the physician must first obtain Board certification in Obstetrics and Gynecology. This requires successful completion of both the written and oral examination. The entire certification process takes several years to complete. Only a physician who has successfully completed a Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and passed the examinations can become Board certified as an infertility specialist.

When seeking an infertility specialist it is often quite difficult for a patient to determine whether or not their physician is an infertility specialist. Some physicians have gained skills through experience outside fellowship training, and some physicians successfully complete fellowship training and do not obtain Board certification. However, Board Approved is the only standard by which patients can measure a physician's official qualifications.

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