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When to See a Washington, D.C. Fertility Doctor
There are approximately 15,000 people with infertility in Washington, D.C. If you are a female under 35 who has been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for over one year, or 35 or older have been trying to conceive for six months, you should switch from an obstetrician/gynecologist to a fertility doctor, called a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). In addition, if you have had multiple miscarriages, you should also see a fertility doctor. There are four fertility clinics in Washington D.C., with 13 fertility doctors practicing.
What is a Fertility Doctor?
A fertility doctor is technically a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). Reproductive endocrinologists are trained to treat any problem related to the reproductive system, including hormonal disorders, menstrual problems, recurrent miscarriages, sexual dysfunction, menopause, and infertility.
Reproductive endocrinologists, or fertility doctors, undergo rigorous training in their specialized field. After completing a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, the fertility doctors must also have successfully completed two to three years of training in reproductive endocrinology.
Before choosing a reproductive endocrinologist, ask if he or she is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. ASRM is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to advancing reproductive medicine through training, research, education, and advocacy, while setting ethical standards and guidelines for those who practice in the field.
Finding a Doctor
FertilityAuthority.com has an extensive database of all reproductive endocrinologists in Washington, D.C. 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. And if you make an appointment, tell the doctor we sent you.
When choosing your fertility doctor, it is important to schedule an informational consultation beforehand, in order to get a feel for the doctor and his or her practice. At this interview, bring all of your medical information and history with you, so the doctor can have any diagnoses in front of him. You should prepare a list of questions ahead of time. Topics can include the doctor’s treatment philosophy, his area of specialization, diagnoses he treats most frequently, etc.
Finally, research the clinic’s success rates, particularly for your potential procedure. A complete list of clinic success rates can be found in the 2007 Assisted Reproductive Technology Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A close relationship characterized by security and dependence will often develop between a fertility doctor and patient. Depending on your treatment needs, you will be spending a lot of time with your fertility doctor and his team, so it is not unusual to have daily appointments.
After becoming pregnant, you will transition back to your OB/GYN for prenatal care, and may revert to having appointments only once a month. It may take women some time to adjust to this after seeing their fertility doctor so frequently. But it is important to remember that every patient-doctor relationship is unique.