Reproductive endocrinology and infertility is a surgical sub-specialty of obstetrics and gynecology in which physicians are trained in assisted reproductive medicine. An endocrinologist is trained to address hormone functioning as it pertains to reproduction and fertility problems. What most in the field focus on is treating infertility, evaluating and treating hormonal issues for males and females and all have specialty training in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN).
Reproductive surgery is a similar specialty where a physician trained as an OB/GYN or urologist and specializes in operating on anatomical fertility disorders in men and women. While many couples are able to conceive naturally, there are also a great many that will not be so fortunate. It is an instance where a couple is having trouble when trying to conceive, where a reproductive endocrinologist may be needed. However, when is the time for reproductive endocrinology and how will couples recognize when it is necessary to seek this type of assistance?
If a couple is struggling with infertility issues and trying to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term, it may be time to explore reproductive medicine. If unable to conceive a baby, the woman is under the age of 35 and cannot carry a pregnancy; it may be a problem that requires a diagnosis by a specialist. If any of the following criteria is experienced, a couple may want to seek a reproductive endocrinologist:
- Regular unprotected sexual intercourse for a period of one year, with no pregnancy.
- Trying to become pregnant for a period of six months and the woman is 35 years of age or younger.
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Exposure to DES, a miscarriage prevention drug given to women in the 1960's and 1970's.
- Two or more miscarriages (recurrent miscarriage)
- Male problems which could include damaged testicles, low sperm count, urinary tract infections or deformed sperm.
If any or all of the above criteria is met, a couple may need to consider the need for a reproductive endocrinologist. If there is any doubt about whether or not to engage a reproductive endocrinologist, consulting with a primary care physician or OB/GYN can be a good resource. Knowing when is the time for reproductive endocrinology can help many couples find out the reasons behind infertility, as well as help them to conceive the baby that have always wanted.