Frequently Asked Questions answered by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Myths About Reproductive Endocrinologists
Myth: “If I see a reproductive endocrinologist, I’m going to need IVF.”
BUSTED! : IVF is actually one of the least common infertility treatments performed. It consists of less than 5 percent of all fertility treatments in the United States.
Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs) should reserve IVF for patients who absolutely need it. If there is a severe sperm problem, or if a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or absent, then IVF may be the only option for a woman to conceive. Some REs may pressure couples to proceed with IVF, even though other fertility therapies may lead to success. The most common include fertility drug therapy, IUI (intrauterine insemination) treatment, and surgical procedures, such as hysteroscopy and laparoscopy that correct anatomical problems. All of these treatments cost far less than IVF and are not as emotionally taxing – making all of this good news.
Bottom line: do not jump to the conclusion that you will need IVF treatment to have a baby. Only if you have a medical condition or other predisposing situation that makes IVF necessary should you go directly to IVF treatment. Otherwise less expensive and invasive options should be discussed first.
Myth: All reproductive endocrinologists are the same.
BUSTED! : Reproductive Endocrinologists are doctors who have completed an OB/GYN residency as well as a Reproductive Endocrine fellowship. Most REs and OB/GYNs are certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and have to re-certify yearly. This recertification means that your doctor is up to date with the latest medical science. You can inquire about board certification before your visit.
Every reproductive endocrinologist (RE) has his or her own style and it is important that you find one you are comfortable with. Good “bedside manner” can help reduce the stress of treatment, and can lead to a better outcome. You should also think about whether you prefer a male or female doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask about alternative treatments to IVF, and how success rates may compare over time.
And one last note: after you have begun to see a fertility specialist, if you feel like he or she isn’t the right fit for you after all, change doctors! You should not feel uncomfortable or worry that you will hurt other’s feelings. You owe it to yourself to create the best possible environment for you to have a baby.