A Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) physician has received specialized training in infertility treatment. Several factors should be evaluated when you search for the most suitable specialist to assist you:
1. Competency: board certification, academic background, evidence of continued quest for newest training.
- Questions to ask: "Is your RE physician involved in academic pursuits (regular involvement with physician training programs, professional conferences, journal clubs, publication etc."
- "Is your physician board certified specifically in the area of your need?" Not all infertility doctors are board certified.
2. Compassion: personalized attention, or are you dealing with support staff most of the time? Temperament and personality of the physician.
- Questions to ask: "Is your physician able to empathize with what you are going through?"
- "Do you interact with your physician directly, or are you getting put on an 'assembly line' of different care providers?"
3. Track record
- Questions to ask, "Does your physician report his clinical outcome to an objective institution such as CDC and SART?"
- "Are you able to get precise information on an individual physician's past track record, instead of the data for an entire medical office?
Question and Answer with Dr. Acacio
QUESTION: HOW DO PATIENTS SELECT THEIR FERTILITY SPECIALIST?
DR. ACACIO: Patients select their fertility specialist for many different reasons: doctor/friend/ or relative referral, insurance company list, geographic location, community reputation, or website research. What most patients don’t know is that not all REI’s (Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility sub-specialist) are the same. For instance, I almost never get asked if I am “Board Certified”. I am double board certified in Ob/Gyn and REI.
What I tell patients commonly is that dual-board certification doesn’t make me “smarter” than the other non-certified REI’s. It simply means I’ve passed all my board exams and pay to be re-credentialed each year (not inexpensive I assure you).
Regarding areas of expertise.... Many REI’s have areas of expertise that may have nothing to do with fertility treatments. For instance, in large academic centers a doctor may be a “world authority” on pituitary tumors but has no experience with IVF. Another may be a gifted surgeon, but not able to cannulate a cervix (IUI or IVF embryo transfer) if their life depended on it. So I encourage prospective patients to look for fertility doctors who are not only credentialed, but also have track record to demonstrate his/her expertise in relevant AREAS THAT WOULD SERVE YOU BEST.
QUESTION: HOW DO PATIENTS FIND ACACIO FERTILITY CENTER?
DR. ACACIO: Most of my patients come from “word of mouth” and so they (for the most part) already know our success rates are among the highest in the nation. But, I’m always so surprised to hear from patients coming to me after failure of fertility treatments elsewhere that they never knew their former clinic had “x,y, or z successes” until after they failed once or twice. There is a lot of variation that goes into the reporting of success rates (see “making sense of success rates”) so do your homework.
My advice is to interview 1 or 2 clinics (we make it highly affordable for all). See not only the doctor, but the team of people that you will be working. Chances are, you will be spending a fair amount of time and likely more than a little bit of money with them.