When to See a Fertility Doctor

A fertility doctor, also known as a reproductive endocrinologist, is a physician who practices a subspecialty of obstetrics and gynecology called reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 12 percent of women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 44 have trouble conceiving. Causes of infertility in women can include an array of conditions including ovulation disorders, uterine or cervical abnormalities, fallopian tube damage or blockage, endometriosis, primary ovarian insufficiency, pelvic adhesions, and thyroid problems. Causes of male infertility include abnormal sperm production or function, problems with the delivery of sperm, overexposure to certain chemicals and toxins, and damage related to cancer and its treatment.

You may wish to consider seeing a fertility doctor if:

  • You are a woman, you are between the ages of 35 and 40, and you have been trying to conceive for at least six months
  • You are a woman, you are under the age of 35, and you have been trying to conceive for at least one year
  • You are a woman, you are over the age of 40, and you are trying to conceive for the first time
  • You are a woman, and you have been diagnosed with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease
  • You are a woman and menstruate irregularly or not at all
  • You have had prior cancer treatment
  • You are a man, and you have had a vasectomy

After obtaining your past medical history and performing a physical examination, your fertility doctor will be able to discuss your available treatment options. Some problems can be addressed with simple lifestyle changes and medication, while other conditions may require more advanced approaches.

You can discuss with a fertility doctor ways to help you and your partner conceive a child. Comprehensive evaluations of both men and women can help reveal factors that may be contributing to infertility, and then provide a multispecialty approach to a treatment plan.  To find a physician specializing in reproductive endocrinology, please refer to our PhysicianFinder.