Fertility Specialists

Although an obstetrician/gynaecologist (OB/GYN) may only be able to offer initial assistance to couples, there are a variety of specialized healthcare providers who can continue the process.

Some OB/GYNs specialize in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Ideally, a fertility specialist will have access to sufficient staff and facilities to serve patients six to seven days a week, in order to accommodate such time sensitive procedures as monitoring during ovulation stimulation and intrauterine insemination. The specialist typically performs ultrasounds and hormone tests, usually in-house, or the blood may be sent to an outside lab, even on weekends and holidays. Prospective couples may wish to inquire as to whether the fertility specialist performs or is affiliated with facilities that offer assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). If the specialist indicates that IVF is offered at the centre, the couple may want to know if this includes the oocyte retrieval, laboratory procedures and embryo transfer, or if the centre contracts with another site for these procedures.

Fertility specialists should provide a timeline for treatment and an estimate of anticipated costs. Couples should discuss what procedures and treatments are covered by their insurance, and what payment plans the specialist offers.

Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE)

A reproductive endocrinologist (RE) is an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) or endocrinologist who has additional training specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. REs generally complete a two-year residency or fellowship program, and are accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Some REs have subspecialties, such as in reproductive surgery (for fibroids or endometriosis). REs can treat both men and women.

An RE may have sufficient staff and facilities to serve patients six to seven days a week, in order to accommodate such time sensitive procedures as artificial insemination. It is more convenient to the patient if the RE’s office is able to perform ultrasounds and hormone tests in-house, or arrange to have the blood sent to an outside lab, even on weekends and holidays. Prospective couples may wish to inquire as to whether an RE performs or is affiliated with facilities that offer assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). If the RE indicates that IVF is offered at the centre, the couple may want to know if this includes the oocyte retrieval and laboratory procedures and transfer, or if the centre contracts with another site for these procedures.

REs should provide a timeline for treatment and an estimate of anticipated costs. Couples should discuss what procedures and treatments are covered by their insurance, and what payment plans the RE offers.

Other Specialists

Several other specialists may be enlisted throughout the testing and treatment phases to work with the fertility specialist.

Where male factor fertility is an issue, a urologist specializing in male infertility may be involved. A couple facing IVF may work with an embryologist (specializing in the evaluation, retrieval, storage and transplantation of human embryos), or with an egg donor specialist (expert in selecting and transplanting eggs from a third-party donor).

Regardless of where in the process the couple finds themselves, there are specialized healthcare providers and other professionals available to provide the best care possible.


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