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Boston Fertility Doctor: When to See One

There are approximately 150,200 people with infertility in Massachusetts.* In 2008, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) released a revised definition of infertility. Infertility is defined as the failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse for a woman under 35, and six months for women over 35. If you have not gotten pregnant based on these timetables, you should see a fertility doctor, called a reproductive endocrinologist.

Some factors require immediate referral to a fertility doctor. These include female age of 38 or older, blocked fallopian tubes, previous ectopic pregnancies, moderate or severe endometriosis, significant male factor (sperm motility less than 40 percent), ovulation problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) treated with Clomid for three to six months without conception, and abnormal ovarian reserve tests.

Women who have a history of three or more miscarriages, or previous pelvic infections, or those who are considering assisted reproductive technology procedures like IVF also should see a fertility doctor.

Selecting a Fertility Doctor

Some Ob/Gyns refer to themselves as fertility specialists. However, a fertility doctor (reproductive endocrinologist) has completed a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. These fellowships are an additional two to three years on top of Obstetrics and Gynecology residency training. In and around the Boston area, there are approximately 44 reproductive endocrinologists. has an extensive database of all reproductive endocrinologists in the Boston area. Simply type in your zip code in the “Find a Doctor” or “Find a Clinic” search at the top of every page on the website to find more detailed information.

When choosing a fertility doctor, you should visit the offices and ask a good number of questions. You want to get information on fee structure, payment plans, and insurance coverage. Other important topics include whether the office has a call-in line, if the procedures can be done on weekends or holidays, and if you will be seeing only one doctor or several doctors in the practice.

Also, it is a good idea to ask if the doctor is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Try to be sure the doctor has your complete medical records at the time of the first appointment.

Finally, take notice of how the staff and doctors interact with their patients. Are they friendly, polite and open to questions? You want to choose a fertility doctor that facilitates a comfortable environment, as not to add any further stress to you while undergoing fertility treatments.

*Source: RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association