Leaders in Fertility Research and Care
Timothy N. Hickman, M.D. | Laurie J. McKenzie, M.D. | Katherine K. McKnight, M.D.
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Why See an Infertility Specialist?

Learn why finding a Houston infertility specialist is an important part of beginning the in vitro fertilization process for you and your partner. It is important for you to understand the different causes of infertility and the treatments that are available. Spend time to learn about IVF and give some thought to how you will choose your infertility specialist. Houston IFV has many specialists to choose from and we are happy to help you in your search for the right doctor.

Dr. Hickman Dr. McKenzie and Dr. McKnightWhat is infertility?
Infertility is a condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has been unable to carry a pregnancy that results in a live birth.

What is a Fertility Specialist?
A fertility specialist, or Reproductive Endocrinologist, is a medical doctor who has been specially trained in the complex issues that can contribute to infertility. In addition to being trained as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist, a Reproductive Endocrinologist must complete highly specialized training in all aspects of female endocrinology and infertility. A physician can become Board Certified in Reproductive Endocrinology by American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) by completing the required training and passing a series of nationally certified exams.
Below are the educational and training requirements that an Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Endocrinologist must complete.

Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob/Gyn)

  • Four years of medical school
  • Four year residency program in Ob/Gyn

Reproductive Endocrinologist

  • Four years of medical school
  • Four year residency program in Ob/Gyn
  • Three year fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

To Become ABOG Board Certified in Ob/Gyn, the doctor must:

  • Graduate from college & medical school
  • Complete 4-year residency in Ob/Gyn pass written exam in ob/gyn
  • Complete 2-years of practice
  • Pass oral exam in Ob/Gyn

To Become ABOG Board Certified in Reproductive Endocrinology, the doctor must:

  • Complete all requirements for Ob/Gyn board certification (see above)
  • Attend 3-year fellowship in reproductive endocrinology
  • Pass written exam in reproductive endocrinology
  • Complete 2-years of practice
  • Pass a 3-hour oral exam in reproductive endocrinology

Currently in the Unites States, there are only about 1,000 ABOG Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologists. Specifically for infertility related to males, Urologists with a sub-specialty in Andrology are the most qualified experts.

Is infertility a "women's problem?"
Infertility is a medical problem. Approximately 35% of infertility is due to a female factor and 35% is due to a male factor. In the balance of cases, infertility results from problems in both partners or the cause of the infertility cannot be explained.

How long should we try before we see a doctor?
In general, if you are less than 35 years old and have been trying for more than one year you should schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist. If you are greater than 35 years old we would like to see you after at least 6 months of times intercourse. However, if you have a known reason to have a problem getting pregnant such as: a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, painful periods, miscarriage, irregular cycles, or if your partner has a low sperm count, you should seek help sooner. Many couples have a hard time admitting that there may be an infertility problem, but be reassured there are often many things we can do to help.