Fertility

What is a Reproductive Endocrinologist?

Team Peanut23 days ago5 min read

A reproductive endocrinologist (RE) is an endocrinologist for infertility — more commonly known as a fertility doctor.

What is a Reproductive Endocrinologist?

They specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to hormones and hormone-producing glands that can stop women from conceiving or make it difficult to carry a pregnancy to term.

Often working as part of a wider team of specialists, REs help women and couples manage conditions related to the reproductive system, such as infertility, hormonal disorders, menstrual problems, pregnancy loss, and menopause.

They’re also trained to carry out surgery on the female reproductive system.

In this article 📝

  • What does a reproductive endocrinologist do?
  • Which conditions does a reproductive endocrinologist specialize in?
  • What is the difference between endocrinologist and reproductive endocrinologist? Can an endocrinologist help with infertility?
  • When to see a reproductive endocrinologist

What does a reproductive endocrinologist do?

REs diagnose and treat hormonal issues that can stop someone from getting or staying pregnant. This usually involves the following:

  • Helping women and couples decide on the best treatment plan for their situation and lifestyle.
  • Helping women prepare their bodies for pregnancy.
  • Helping couples understand the best time to have sexual intercourse to increase the likelihood of conceiving.
  • Performing in-vitro fertilization (IVF). This involves taking eggs from the ovaries and combining them with sperm to create an embryo. The embryo is then implanted in the woman’s uterus.
  • Performing intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination. In a relatively simple procedure, sperm (from a male partner or donor) is inserted into your uterus via a long thin tube. The procedure is timed to occur when you’re ovulating, and you may also be given medication to boost ovulation.
  • Performing surgery to get the uterus ready for pregnancy by removing polyps, tumors, or diseased fallopian tubes.

Related: 19 Fertility Acronyms & Abbreviations You Need to Know

Which conditions does a reproductive endocrinologist specialize in?

Reproductive endocrinologists specialize in fertility treatment, helping to diagnose and treat conditions affecting fertility. But that’s not all.

They also treat endocrine issues not directly related to fertility. Some of the conditions they treat include:

  • Menstrual problems, including bleeding abnormalities.
  • Hormonal problems.
  • Ovulation problems.
  • Recurrent pregnancy loss.
  • Low sperm count.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Endometriosis.

What is the difference between endocrinologist and reproductive endocrinologist? Can an endocrinologist help with infertility?

What is an endocrinologist, anyway?

In simple terms, they’re medical specialists who look after conditions affecting the endocrine glands (the glands that control hormone production in the human body).

So, what’s the difference between the two roles?

  • Reproductive endocrinologists are schooled in obstetrics and gynecology in addition to their other medical training. This means they have a deeper understanding of the female reproductive system and the hormones and issues that can affect it.
  • Endocrinologists, on the other hand, start their training in internal medicine and usually diagnose and treat growth disorders, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes. They don’t tend to have the specific knowledge required to help with infertility issues.

What is the difference between a fertility specialist and a reproductive endocrinologist?

It depends on the kind of fertility specialist in question. All REs are fertility specialists, but not all fertility specialists are REs.

Essentially, it boils down to the length and type of training and education. In short: reproductive endocrinology is what’s known as a “subspeciality” within obstetrics and gynecology.

Becoming an RE takes an extra three to four years of training after going through an OB/GYN residency.

When to see a reproductive endocrinologist

There are several reasons that women and couples might be referred to an RE. Some of the most common include:

  • Being unable to conceive after a year of trying.
  • Experiencing irregular periods (or none at all).
  • Having a history of infertility or pregnancy loss.

You may also see a reproductive endocrinologist if you’re trying to conceive and:

  • You are over the age of 35.
  • You or your partner has or has had an STI.
  • You or your partner has or has had a reproductive condition.

To recap

You can be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist for any number of reasons. The bottom line is, if you’re undergoing treatment to get pregnant, you’re in expert hands with an RE.

And remember, although infertility treatment can be stressful and scary, there’s a whole community of women on Peanut who’ve been there (or are going through the same thing right now).

Don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it most. You’ve got this!

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