Learn about doctors who are fertility specialists and how to choose the right doctor to help you.
As you start on the road to overcoming infertility, it’s important to find a doctor who can be your guide. As a first step, a woman can see her gynecologist, and her male partner can visit his family doctor. These doctors can probably do the initial testing needed to diagnose infertility.
Once the diagnosis of infertility has been made, your next step should be to find a doctor who specializes in infertility. This is especially important if you are 35 or older.
What kind of doctor should I see for infertility?
The doctors who are most qualified to treat infertility are reproductive endocrinologists. These are gynecologists who have had years of special training in diagnosing and treating infertility in both women and men. They are trained in special surgical techniques and high-tech treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Look for a doctor who is board-certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Ask your gynecologist to refer you.
A man who has a fertility problem may be referred to an andrologist. This is a urologist who specializes in treating male infertility.
How can I choose the right doctor?
Factors you should consider include:
- Training. Some gynecologists have experience treating women with fertility issues. Your usual doctor may be able to help you if there’s a simple fix for your problem. But infertility can be a complex problem. It’s often best to consult a reproductive endocrinologist who works at a fertility clinic that offers a full range of infertility treatments.
- Personal connection. Infertility is a very intimate issue. It’s important to find a doctor you feel comfortable with. A good doctor should listen to your concerns, let you ask questions and take time to explain things in ways you can understand. You should feel respected and supported. A doctor who doesn’t listen or who pushes you into treatments you don’t want is not the right doctor for you.
- Insurance coverage. Find out if your insurance company covers infertility treatment. If so, you will probably need to pick a doctor who is part of your plan’s network. Check with your insurance company to find an in-network fertility specialist.
Where can I get more information about fertility specialists?
Some sources of information about doctors and clinics that treat infertility include:
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Their Web site (www.asrm.org) has a “For Patients” page with a “Find a Doctor” tool. ASRM provides these listings for information only. It does not recommend or endorse specific doctors.
- Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI). Only doctors who have been board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology with a subspecialty of reproductive endocrinology and infertility can join SREI. Search for a member at www.socrei.org.
- Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). Look for a clinic that is a member of SART. The Web site (www.sart.org) gives contact information for several hundred fertility clinics in the U.S. It also lists their success rates and gives information to help you understand what these rates mean.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All clinics that offer in vitro fertilization and similar procedures are required by law to report their data to the CDC. The CDC publishes a report on clinic success rates every year. You can find the latest report on the CDC Web site at www.cdc.gov/ART.