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Choosing an Infertility Specialist
Yvette Smith, MD, MPH posted:
Perhaps you've been trying to conceive a baby, and haven't been successful. Maybe it's time to see an infertility specialist. Couples often ask, "Who can help? What should we know about choosing an infertility specialist?"

You will have many choices about how to check for fertility problems. A gynecologist can usually perform basic fertility tests and help refer you to an infertility specialist. You can also begin this process by directly making an appointment with an infertility specialist.

Before making an appointment, you will need to do some homework as you choose a fertility specialist. Make sure they have completed extra training in the infertility specialty field of study. For younger physicians, this would mean a fellowship in infertility studies. For more seasoned physicians, this could mean additional studies with an infertility specialist. Also, look for a specialist who provides a full range of infertility services.

Most specialists will be a member of a professional organization like the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. This society has strict guidelines for how their members report patient outcomes that can help you compare doctors. Patient outcomes are listed under the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). These numbers don't tell the entire story, but can be helpful as you consider your choices.

  • When choosing an infertility specialist, there are several types of questions you should ask:
  • How long have they been practicing as an infertility specialist?
  • What kind of training have they had as an infertility specialist?
  • What do their patient outcome numbers reveal about successful pregnancies?
  • How many pregnancies have resulted in twins, triplets, and multiple births of quadruplets or more babies?
  • What types of infertility services and procedures do they offer?
  • What are the costs, and are financing plans available?

The answers to these questions can help couples select a doctor they feel they can work with to help begin a family.

What helped you choose a fertility specialist? What questions should couples ask? For those of you who have already been through this process, is there something you wish you had known earlier?

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For more information, visit the Duke Fertility Center