Reproductive endocrinologists specialize in helping patients achieve a healthy pregnancy when difficulties arise, addressing the causes of infertility in both men and women.

Watch an Overview of Reproductive Endocrinology

About Reproductive Endocrinology

Reproductive endocrinology is considered a surgical subspecialty of obstetrics and gynecology encompassing the diagnosis and treatment of complications relating to reproduction and infertility in both men and women. The specialty is sometimes referred to as reproductive endocrinology & infertility, or REI. Reproductive endocrinologists are concerned with the function of the endocrine system, or the body’s system of hormone-secreting glands that regulate the various processes of the body. Because approximately 15 percent of all couples will face some type of fertility issue, reproductive endocrinologists play a vital role in treating a wide range of reproductive challenges and disorders.

When a couple experiences fertility issues, the sooner they consult a reproductive endocrinologist, the higher their chances of a successful conception. The physician will work closely with both patients, performing diagnostic tests and reviewing medical history to arrive at a diagnosis. After a diagnosis is made, the reproductive endocrinologist can craft a specialized plan of treatment that is highly personalized and specific to each situation.

Reproductive endocrinologists are trained to identify and treat a wide range of conditions or complications affecting fertility and reproduction. In women, these may include diseases of the fallopian tube, endometriosis, repeated pregnancy loss, uterine myomas, uterine abnormalities and reproductive endocrine disorders, among others. Men also face reproductive and fertility complications, which may result from disorders such as erectile dysfunction or priapism, among others. Physicians within this specialty are capable of performing fertility procedures such as in vitro fertilization, various insemination techniques and intracytoplasmic injection of spermatozoa (ICSI), among others.

Reproductive Endocrinology Education & Training

The training and education of a reproductive endocrinologist begins with the completion of an undergraduate degree before entering medical school. During medical school, the student will spend four years in clinical, laboratory and classroom settings earning a general medical education. After successful completion of an MD or DO medical degree, the physician must complete residency training in obstetrics and gynecology.

Obstetrics and gynecology residency training usually lasts four years and exposes the physician to the diagnosis and treatment of complications of the female reproductive system in both the pregnant and non-pregnant states. These residencies train the physician in both surgical and non-surgical treatments; physicians are also exposed to the various subspecialties of the field including gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology and fertility, maternal-fetal medicine, family planning and reproductive genetics.

After completion of residency training, the physician must enter into a reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) fellowship. During three years of specialized training, the physician begins to treat patients suffering from fertility issues and will perform research related to the field. Fellowships may allow the physician to explore areas of REI such as reproductive genetics, pediatric and adolescent reproductive medicine, reproductive surgery and assisted reproductive technologies, among others. After completion of fellowship training, the physician will be qualified to seek board certification in Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Board certified reproductive endocrinologists must complete Maintenance of Certification requirements to keep their certifications valid; these physicians must also be licensed by the state(s) in which they provide medical care.