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When to See a Reproductive Endocrinologist

Reproductive endocrinologist is a fertility specialist with more expertise in this field than an OB-GYN. Know when to consult a reproductive endocrinologist, in this article.
Infertility is a term used to define a condition in which a couple fails to conceive even after a year of regular unprotected sex. Generally, the first step that a couple takes when they detect a possible problem is visit a gynecologist or an OB-GYN. Most gynecologists are capable of performing basic infertility tests and prescribe certain fertility treatments. When you fail to conceive even after that, your gynecologist may refer you to a reproductive endocrinologist, who is an expert in this field.

When to See a Reproductive Endocrinologist

The decision regarding, when to see a fertility specialist is usually made by the OB-GYN on your behalf. When she feels that there is a need for advanced diagnosis or if she cannot ascertain a possible cause of infertility, she may refer you to an endocrinologist. Besides, some of the fertility issues are best treated by an RN only. A reproductive endocrinologist is one who apart from a degree in OB-GYN has also completed a 3 year fellowship program in reproductive endocrinology. The reproductive endocrinologist deals with diagnosing and treating fertility issues in men and women. Given below are some infertility issues which may warrant the need for a visit to a reproductive endocrinologist.
  • Female partner's age of about 38 or older.
  • One or both blocked fallopian tubes.
  • Other tubal problems such as history of tubal ectopic pregnancy.
  • Moderate or severe endometriosis at any age.
  • Male factors such as low sperm count (under 10 million per ml) or low sperm motility rate (under 40%)
  • Ovulation problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) treated unsuccessfully with 3 to 6 months of Clomid
  • Abnormal ovarian reserve tests
What to Expect from Your Reproductive Endocrinologist

If you are seeing an RN upon the referral of your OB-GYN, she will probably educate you regarding what to expect from an RN. However, if you are visiting an RN on your own, then you might want to prepare yourself for your first appointment with an RN. Collect all the reports of the tests that you have undergone so far for the infertility diagnosis. If you have charted your basal body temperature for detecting ovulation, then gather those records as well. Send all of these documents to the RN before your scheduled appointment. This gives the RN to review your case, so that she is well acquainted with your condition. You should be prepared to answer all the questions regarding your own health, your partner's health as well as family history on both sides. The first session will mostly revolve around the information regarding your and your partner's reproductive health. An RN may recommend some additional comprehensive tests in an attempt to diagnose and treat infertility. Some of these tests include:
  • Pelvic Ultrasound
  • Blood Tests
  • Postcoital test
  • Saline Sonohysterogram
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
  • Endometrial Biopsy
However, these tests are to be done only on specific days of your menstrual cycle. Hence, you may have to wait for a month or so, so that you can start the tests from the first day of your period. The RN may schedule a second appointment after a month, so that you can come with all the test results. The next course of action is determined by the outcome of your tests.

Many couples benefit a great deal from visiting a reproductive endocrinologist. So in case you feel that your pro-creative attempts under the guidance of an OB-GYN are exhausted, it's time you make a switch to an RN.
By Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Published: 4/9/2011
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