Which Kind of Fertility Doctor Is Best for You? (2022)

Fertility specialists are typically gynecologists or urologists who've had additional training to deal with issues surrounding the reproductive organs. There are a variety of reasons your doctor may refer you to a fertility specialist, including:

  • Difficulty conceiving for more than six months if you're age 35 or older, or for more than a year if you're younger
  • Having had two or more miscarriages
  • Starting to try to conceive with known risk factors or symptoms of infertility, such as irregular cycles, genetic conditions, or prior sexually transmitted infections (even if already treated)
  • Interest in permanent birth control options, like tubal ligation or vasectomy
  • People with a cancer diagnosis who need guidance on how to preserve fertility before treatments, or those ready to conceive after treatments

While your primary care physician or gynecologist may be able to begin the process of evaluation, and even prescribe basic treatments like Clomid, you may need to see a fertility specialist for beyond-the-basics testing and treatment.

Doctors Who Specialize in Fertility

There are a variety of doctors who specialize in fertility. The best one for you will depend on your particular medical history and needs.

Reproductive Endocrinologists

Reproductive endocrinologists (sometimes referred to as REs) are what most people think of as fertility specialists. A reproductive endocrinologist is a gynecologist who has additional training in infertility and fertility treatment; they treat both male and female fertility issues.

Reproductive endocrinologists manage, carry out, and prescribe a variety of fertility tests and treatments, including IUI and IVF. When outside specialists are needed in a particular case, the reproductive endocrinologist is usually the primary consultant.

They can also help cancer patients with fertility preservation, working with an oncologist to coordinate fertility preservation prior to the start of fertility-threatening cancer treatments.

What to Expect During Fertility Tests

Andrologists

Andrologists are urologists who have completed additional training in male fertility. Andrologists may evaluate and treat male fertility issues alone, or along with a reproductive endocrinologist. They may look further to find the cause for low or absent sperm counts and—if possible—treat the problem, so the couple can conceive without IVF.

An andrologist can also perform a testicular biopsy for use in testicular sperm extraction (TESE). They also treat reproductive infections, erectile dysfunction, testicular torsion, and undescended testes.

Reproductive Surgeons

Another kind of fertility specialist is a reproductive surgeon. While reproductive endocrinologists also perform surgery, reproductive surgeons have even more training in surgical procedures and may treat patients for issues beyond trying to have a baby. Their primary training may be in gynecology or urology.

For example, reproductive surgeons may remove fibroids or surgically treat endometriosis. A reproductive surgeon may also perform or reverse vasectomies and tubal ligations.

Reproductive Immunologists

Reproductive immunologists combine the knowledge of immunology and reproductive medicine. A reproductive immunologist may be consulted in cases of recurrent miscarriage, unexplained infertility, or unexplained repeated IVF failure.

You might also consult a reproductive immunologist if you have endometriosis or an autoimmune disease, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Reproductive immunologists may be physicians or scientistsand usually work with a reproductive endocrinologist to treat infertile couples.

(Video) How to Find the Right Fertility Doctor? Top Questions to Ask when Picking Your Fertility Clinic

What to Do After IVF Failure

Fertility Clinic Staff

Most fertility clinics are directed by a reproductive endocrinologist or a team of reproductive endocrinologists. Some, but not all, have an on-staff andrologist.

Reproductive immunologists are less likely to be on staff, but that doesn't mean the clinic won't collaborate with one in special cases. (However, some aspects of reproductive immunology are new, and not every fertility specialist is on board with the latest immunology-based treatments.)

In addition to fertility doctors, a fertility clinic may also have nurses trained and experienced in reproductive medicine, embryologists, sonographers, and other lab technicians on staff. Some clinics may also have acupuncturists, nutritionists, and counselors. Besides medical specialists, clinics usually have financial advisers who will help you understand payment options and deal with your insurance (if applicable).

Having a huge staff doesn't make a clinic great, just like having a small staff doesn't make a clinic less-than-great. When choosing a fertility clinic, you need to take into consideration your specific fertility needs and situation.

Some clinics refuse to work with women over 40 unless they agree to use donor eggs from the start, while other clinics specialize in helping women over 40. If you know you're dealing with male infertility, a clinic with an andrologist on staff would be ideal.

Working With Your OB/GYN

Switching to a fertility specialist can be emotionally (and sometimes practically) overwhelming. Fertility clinics may not take insurance (which means you'd need to apply for out-of-network coverage yourself), or your insurance may not cover fertility services at all.

Also, you may not live near a fertility clinic. Depending on your location and the size of your city or town, getting to a fertility specialist may mean taking a day off of work. (Or, sometimes, even require overnight travel.)

Given these drawbacks, you might feel tempted to stay with your regular gynecologist for as long as possible. Is that a good idea? It depends.

If you are young and basic fertility tests (for both you and your partner) come back normal, staying with your regular OB/GYN for six more months probably is fine. Also, if basic fertility testing shows "mild" fertility challenges, and going to a clinic would be very difficult, staying with your regular doctor for six months more is also probably okay.

However, if you are over age 35, or your fertility testing finds a more serious problem (like blocked fallopian tubes, primary ovarian insufficiency, or very low sperm count), then it's better to switch to a specialist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment could reduce the odds of fertility treatment success.

What Is Primary Ovarian Insufficiency?

(Video) The First Appointment with a Fertility Doctor: What you Need to Know

A Word From Verywell

A fertility clinic is only as good as their doctors. Before you choose a fertility clinic, be sure to meet the staff. Take time to interview your potential doctor. Find out if the doctors are experienced with your fertility problems, and how they plan to work with you. If you decide to pursue testing and treatments, you may be working closely with the clinic for a long time—so you want a staff that not only cares but also knows how to best help you.

15 Infertility and Fertility Treatment Myths

5 Sources

Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Quaas A, Dokras A. Diagnosis and treatment of unexplained infertility.Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008;1(2):69-76.

    (Video) How do I pick the right fertility doctor? | Infertility TV

  2. Barbieri RL. A renaissance in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Fertil Steril. 2005;84(3):576-577. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.02.047

  3. Mas A, Tarazona M, Dasí Carrasco J, Estaca G, Cristóbal I, Monleón J. Updated approaches for management of uterine fibroids.Int J Womens Health. 2017;9:607-617. doi:10.2147/IJWH.S138982

  4. Bitler MP, Schmidt L. Utilization of infertility treatments: The effects of insurance mandates.Demography. 2012;49(1):125-149. doi:10.1007/s13524-011-0078-4

  5. Cahill DJ, Wardle PG. Management of infertility.BMJ. 2002;325(7354):28-32. doi:10.1136/bmj.325.7354.28

Additional Reading

Which Kind of Fertility Doctor Is Best for You? (1)

By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about women’s health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.

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(Video) 5 THINGS YOUR FERTILITY DOCTOR WANTS YOU TO KNOW

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(Video) How To Pick the RIGHT Fertility Doctor

FAQs

What doctor do I go to to see if I'm fertile? ›

A visit to an OB/GYN is generally the first stop in the fertility treatment journey. Your gynecologist can perform a preliminary fertility evaluation, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Which fertility clinic has the highest success rate? ›

PFCLA's success rates are among the top in the nation, with a 53.1% live birth rate per embryo transfer than the U.S. average of 37.8%. That means intended parents coming to PFCLA have a 40% higher chance of taking home a baby than the national average.

What is the difference between gynecologist and fertility specialist? ›

Your fertility doctor can diagnose both female and male patients for issues that cause infertility, while an OB/GYN only focuses on women's reproductive health. Reproductive specialists can also create a more individualized plan for fertility treatments, depending on what is causing infertility.

What are 4 causes for female infertility? ›

Risk factors
  • Age. The quality and quantity of a woman's eggs begin to decline with age. ...
  • Smoking. Besides damaging your cervix and fallopian tubes, smoking increases your risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. ...
  • Weight. Being overweight or significantly underweight may affect ovulation. ...
  • Sexual history. ...
  • Alcohol.
27 Aug 2021

How can I boost my fertility? ›

How to Increase Fertility Naturally: 9 Ways to Improve Fertility
  1. Stick to a fertility diet. ...
  2. Maintain a healthy weight. ...
  3. Eliminate alcohol and tobacco. ...
  4. Take prenatal vitamins. ...
  5. Stay hydrated. ...
  6. Manage stress. ...
  7. Monitor your ovulation. ...
  8. Get busy in the bedroom.
24 Apr 2020

How many times can you do IVF in a year? ›

The research suggests most couples will need approximately 6 embryo transfers before they achieve a pregnancy! There are no limits to the number of IVF cycles you can have. This decision is entirely up to you and the fertility specialists.

Is IVF covered by insurance? ›

No. The general health insurance policies in India usually do not cover IVF procedures. However, there are a few that do. As of March 2022, the only general health insurance covering IVF treatment expenses is the BMB Nirbhaya Scheme by Bharatiya Mahila Bank.

Does IVF success in first attempt? ›

The national average for women younger than 35 able to become pregnant by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) on the first try (meaning, the first egg retrieval) is 55%. However, that number drops steadily as the woman ages.

What questions should I ask my fertility specialist? ›

Fertility Consultation: 7 Questions to Ask at Your First...
  • What specific tests do you suggest for myself and my partner? ...
  • What types of treatments does your clinic offer? ...
  • Are there certain lifestyle changes you recommend? ...
  • How do you decide which treatment is right for me? ...
  • How much do your treatments cost?
31 Jul 2020

Which city is best for IVF treatment? ›

TOP HOSPITALS
  • World Infertility and IVF Centre, New Delhi.
  • Nova IVI Fertility Clinic, Hyderabad.
  • Neelkanth Hospitals, Gurgaon.
  • NOVA IVI Fertility, Mumbai.
  • ART Fertility Clinics, Mumbai.

What is the success rate of IVF? ›

Live births per first embryo transfer is 41.4%. With a later embryo transfer, the live births percentage is around 47%. It's also important to note that these statistics are all based on a woman using her own eggs.

How do I know if I'm fertile female? ›

If your menstrual cycle lasts 28 days and your period arrives like clockwork, it's likely that you'll ovulate on day 14. That's halfway through your cycle. Your fertile window begins on day 10. You're more likely to get pregnant if you have sex at least every other day between days 10 and 14 of a 28-day cycle.

Can gynecologist treat infertility? ›

While a visit to a gynaecologist is often the first stop for most women, it's not necessarily the right specialist to see if you are struggling to fall pregnant. An obstetrician/gynaecologist needs an additional qualification to effectively treat infertility.

Can you check your fertility before trying to get pregnant? ›

You can get a preconception checkup any time — even up to a year before you want to get pregnant. Some medical conditions, like depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and not being at a healthy weight can affect pregnancy and your fertility (your ability to get pregnant).

What is a good success rate for an IVF clinic? ›

Generally, IVF success rates range between 45-48%, considering that there are legal constraints on the maximum allowable number of embryos transferred during embryo transfer.

Where is the best place to have IVF? ›

The process typically includes removing an egg from the woman's ovaries and is fertilized by sperm in a laboratory.
...
Top 5 Countries To Get IVF Treatment
  1. Greece. Greece has one of the lowest costs of IVF treatment abroad. ...
  2. Czech Republic. ...
  3. Spain. ...
  4. Turkey. ...
  5. Denmark.
2 Jun 2021

Which city is best for IVF treatment? ›

TOP HOSPITALS
  • World Infertility and IVF Centre, New Delhi.
  • Nova IVI Fertility Clinic, Hyderabad.
  • Neelkanth Hospitals, Gurgaon.
  • NOVA IVI Fertility, Mumbai.
  • ART Fertility Clinics, Mumbai.

How can I make my first IVF successful? ›

How to Increase Your Chances of IVF Success
  1. Maintain a healthy weight. ...
  2. Optimize sperm health. ...
  3. Partner with an excellent doctor and embryology laboratory. ...
  4. Reduce your stress. ...
  5. Quit smoking. ...
  6. Look into taking supplements. ...
  7. Ensure you have adequate levels of vitamin D. ...
  8. Focus on persistence and patience.
16 Aug 2022

Videos

1. The First Appointment With A Fertility Doctor - What You Need To Know | Dr Lora Shahine
(Dr Lora Shahine)
2. Fertility 101 with Dr. Kristin Bendikson
(Kindbody)
3. 5 Things a Fertility Doctor Wants You to Know When You're #TTC
(ORM Fertility)
4. Best IVF Center in Chennai - Best fertility hospital in Chennai - New video - Must watch!
(The Hive Fertility Clinic & Women's Center)
5. ઓછું AMH અને કુદરતી ગર્ભધારણ | Video by Fertility Expert Dr Himanshu Bavishi
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6. Fertility Treatment & Exercise
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