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What Is a Fertility Doctor?

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Fertility doctors study Reproductive endocrinology and Infertility (REI), a branch of medicine that identifies and treats infertility in both men and women.

Even though a physician spends more than seven years in medical school, internship and residency, he or she will receive just a few weeks of training in infertility. This is why it is important for couples who have been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for a year or more (if the woman is under 35) or six months or more (if the woman is over 35) should seek out a fertility doctor, also called a reproductive endocrinologist (RE).

After a physician completes medical school, internship, and residency programs, those wishing to become reproductive endocrinologists must attend a two-to-three year fellowship in reproductive endocrinology, pass a written exam, have a two-year practice experience in reproductive endocrinology, and then pass a three-hour oral exam.

In the United States, there are about 500 board certified reproductive endocrinologists. Another 800 or so physicians in the United States are called “board eligible in reproductive endocrinology.” These physicians have completed all of the training, except for the oral exams.