What is an infertility specialist?
Infertility specialists complete additional training (often known as a “fellowship”) in the sub-specialty field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) after completing a 4 year residency in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. Reproductive endocrinology and infertility training focuses on the reproductive health and infertility needs of women and usually takes three additional years of intensive, focused training. This means that most infertility specialists complete 7 additional years of training after graduation from medical school focused on the evaluation and treatment of women and their partners for infertility and other endocrine-related diseases that may impact women’s health. Current sub-specialty training also requires that all participants spend 18 months developing, and implementing a sophisticated basic science (laboratory) or clinical trial which represents their fellowship thesis. The written and oral defense of this thesis is a requirement for REI (sub-specialty) board certification.
Sub-specialty (REI) Board Certification
Physicians who are board certified in BOTH obstetrics and gynecology AND reproductive endocrinology and infertility undergo a rigorous 9-10 year board certification process that requires successfully passing 4 nationally administered examinations: (1) the general obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) written examination, (2) the general obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) oral examination, (3) the reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) written examination, and finally (4) the reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) oral examination. Examinations are authored, written, and implemented by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG). Additionally, board certified physicians must “maintain” their certification annually through constant literature reviews and a written examination every 6 years.
This training process is designed to ensure that your physician can provide the safest, most efficient and effective fertility care.
Dr. Brabec is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
How does this training improve care for our patients?
Given the breath of information and training needed for obstetrics and gynecology residency training, most OBGYNs spend only a few months focused on the field of infertility. During fellowship training, participants focus all their didactic efforts towards mastery of infertility and reproductive health evaluation and treatment including non-invasive surgical (laparoscopy) and medical treatments such as ovulation induction and in-vitro fertilization.
The field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility is rapidly advancing due to improvements in ovarian stimulation, laboratory techniques for IVF, and genetic evaluation and treatments available to our patients. Treatment today is dramatically different than 5-10 years ago. Quite simply, a total commitment to the field is necessary to stay abreast of these rapid technological advancements.
Most OBGYNs can complete an initial infertility evaluation and implement ovulation induction with oral medications. If these treatment(s) are not successful you may want to contact an infertility specialist for consultation. Of course, once you are pregnant, we refer you back to your obstetrician for obstetrical care and the delivery of your baby.
In short, infertility specialists are particularly passionate about solving your fertility problems and our additional training makes us particularly effective at helping your build or grow your family.