Learn the difference between an RE and an OB/Gyn
Our Louisiana fertility doctors often get asked about the difference between an RE and an OB/Gyn. To clarify, an RE is a reproductive endocrinologist and an OB/Gyn is an obstetrician and gynecologist. Many hopeful parents want to know who can offer the best support when they’re trying to become pregnant.
It’s easy to become confused about who you should be seeing when trying to conceive. While OB/Gyns and REs both have a role to play, the primary factor in who you may decide to receive treatment from is how long you’ve been trying to become pregnant.
How an OB/Gyn can help
Understanding the difference between an RE and an OB/Gyn starts with the woman’s fertility needs. When a woman is initially trying to conceive, she might visit her OB/Gyn for a fertility consultation. OB/Gyns have completed medical school, a residency in obstetrics/gynecology and two years of practice experience.
An OB/Gyn may also perform basic fertility care, such as ovulation medications or even intrauterine insemination, if trained to do so. However, before you commit to many of these basic treatments, it’s wise to have a complete fertility diagnostic workup that tests both partners – bloodwork, AMH testing, and hysterosalpingogram (HSG) for the woman and a semen analysis for the male partner. These tests can point your treatment in a direction that better addresses underlying problems creating roadblocks to building a family. Thorough testing in the beginning can ultimately save you time and money in your journey to parenthood.
If a woman is over 35 and has been trying to conceive for at least six months, her OB/Gyn should refer her to an RE. If a woman is under 35 and has been trying for 12 months, her OB/Gyn should make a referral. An OB/Gyn might also refer a woman to an RE if she’s had more than one miscarriage or has a known condition that could affect her fertility.
How a reproductive endocrinologist can help
A big difference between an RE and an OB/Gyn is that an RE only comes into the picture when a woman is having trouble conceiving. An RE has completed all the training required of an OB/Gyn, but has also completed a three-year fellowship in reproductive endocrinology, received extensive training and completed two years of practice experience in the fertility field. An RE is trained to make the right infertility diagnosis to enable them to create and implement a customized treatment plan. This gives the hopeful parents the best chance of taking home a healthy baby.
A competent RE’s office will also be affiliated with an IVF lab staffed by a certified lab director and embryologists with extensive training in embryology. These labs are capable of assisting you with conceiving via more advanced techniques, such as in vitro fertilization and embryo genetic testing.
After you’ve become pregnant with the support of a reproductive endocrinologist, you will return to your OB/Gyn for prenatal care. REs generally follow you through about 12 to 15 weeks after conception before “graduating” you back to your regular OB/Gyn who will follow you through the remainder of your pregnancy.
We’re here to make the process easier
Our Louisiana fertility doctors are experienced reproductive endocrinologists who can support hopeful parents on their path to parenthood. We understand what a challenging journey infertility can be and strive to make the process easier.
Knowing the difference between an RE and an OB/Gyn is an important step in receiving the right treatment. Our Louisiana fertility doctors can offer further clarification. And, you do not need a formal referral from your OB/Gyn to see one of our fertility specialists.
Contact us if you are ready to seek fertility treatment.