Fertility is the nature of the female and male to successfully engage in reproductivity, that is, the ability to create and bear offspring, but it is much more than the mere successful ability of the physical act of intercourse. Even when the physical act is successful, the endocrine systems involved, the excretion of hormones essential to all organ functions in the body, reproductivity may be prone to failure in certain individuals. This may result in a diagnosis of infertility.
Enter the fertility doctor, a physician specifically trained to diagnose and treat the condition of infertility in females and males. The fertility doctor is likely to have had a first residency in obstetrics or pediatrics after graduation from medical school, and then a secondary residency in endocrinology or even reproductive endocrinology to acquire the skills of diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Because a fertility clinic addresses the infertility concerns of both males and females, the doctor will have gained experience in the reproductive endocrinology of both genders.
In the U.S., a fertility doctor is required to spend four years in obstetrics and gynecology training with an additional three years of concentrated infertility exposure.
The selection of an appropriate fertility clinic and doctor will typically first involve the female patients Ob/Gyn professional to discuss options of possible treatment after an initial diagnosis of infertility has been rendered. If the Ob/Gyn happens to also have appropriate infertility training and certification, referral to another professional may not be necessary, but being prepared for the possibility of a referral should not be avoided. If referral is necessary, the Ob/Gyn is likely to have recommendations based on historic relationship due to other referrals.
One of the first tests a fertility doctor is likely to recommend is one to determine whether or not the male partner is contributing to the infertility condition. This testing will investigate both the physical and physiological factors, detailing such inquiries as sperm count in a semen sample, relative condition of sperm and motility. This testing will determine if the male is a contributor to infertility.
Testing will then investigate the relative factors in the female patient. Even if the male is found to have contributing factors to infertility, it does not absolve the necessity to determine whether or not the female is also contributing to infertility.
The doctor will examine test results, diagnose a unique or shared condition and then make recommendations for treatment which involve either invasive or non-invasive procedures. Depending on the diagnosis, the treatment recommendations may be phased, beginning with simple, non-invasive techniques and only advance to more complicated, invasive treatments if preliminary efforts fail.
If infertility treatment appears to be a long, involved process, it is. For example, the popular in vitro fertilization procedure may require up to three to five days for incubation of the embryo after fertilization, which may require up to 24 hours to achieve, all before implantation. Additional time is necessary to assure successful implantation.
A fertility doctor is, above all, patient, knowing that none of these procedures have immediate results.
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