Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) provides personalized treatment and comprehensive assessment for patients who are having trouble conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy. In addition, REI provides advanced treatment for conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, and ovarian aging that have an impact on fertility.
Reproductive endocrinologists have the tools to deliver evidence-based, compassionate care to optimize the results of fertility treatments thanks to a comprehensive range of on-site services and cutting-edge systems.
The evaluation, diagnosis, management, and treatment of a wide range of endocrine diseases that are either directly or indirectly connected to reproduction are the focus of medical professionals in this discipline. They can also help facilitate discussions on whether to pursue a certain course of treatment by supplying crucial information about the available treatment options. Additionally, reproductive endocrinologists can help with queries regarding multiple pregnancies, miscarriages, and whether or not therapy should be discontinued. (1,2)
Definition and Overview
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI), a branch of medicine, deals with a wide variety of evaluations and treatments for patients who have difficulty conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy. An obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) who specializes in diagnosing and treating endocrine conditions that are either directly or indirectly related to reproduction is known as a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). They are largely concerned with issues associated with infertility if conception has not been achieved after one year of unprotected sex.
Infertility can be treated by reproductive endocrinologists with surgery, drugs, or different treatments. Before developing a treatment strategy, they need to determine the underlying cause of the issue. To do this, they may perform a semen test, order X-rays of the uterus and fallopian tubes to search for issues, and perform an ovarian reserve fertility test to determine the level of various hormones involved. They may also check for blood sugar and thyroid disorders. (3)
Reproductive endocrinologists may determine a more precise diagnosis, prescribe medicine for therapy, and/or choose the best route of treatment based on the findings of the tests done on the patient. The most common of these procedures are as follows:
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that uses a small camera to allow the doctor to see inside the body. This procedure helps make a diagnosis and plan treatment.
Hysteroscopy allows the doctor to view images of the cervix and uterus from the inside of the vagina. In this procedure, the inside of the pelvic area is imaged using a small camera.
- Abdominal myomectomy
Abdominal myomectomy is a surgery that a doctor uses to remove uterine fibroids.
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
The sperm is directly injected by the doctor during artificial insemination into the female patient's cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. "Intrauterine insemination (IUI)" is the most popular method in which the doctor puts sperm into the uterus. Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, involves the direct implantation of sperm into a woman's uterus. Sperm is placed directly into a woman's uterus during intrauterine insemination (IUI).
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)
During the IVF treatment, the women partner's egg is fertilized in a lab with father partner's sperm, and the best and healthiest embryos are then transferred into the mother's or surrogate mother's womb. (4)
Reproductive and infertility treatment procedures are generally recommended for patients who
- are unable to have vaginal sex,
- are in a same-sex relationship,
- have unexplained or male-factor infertility,
- have a low sperm count or poor‑quality sperm,
- have mild endometriosis,
- have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or other ovarian conditions,
- have a risk of passing on a genetic disease or disorder,
- are not been able to get pregnant after 12 cycles of artificial insemination,
- have fallopian tube damage or blockage. (5)
Risks and Side Effects
There are several risks associated with reproductive endocrinology and infertility treatment. These include
- developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
- hot flushes
- feeling down or irritable
- multiple births
- ectopic pregnancy
Post-Procedure and Follow-up
Couples frequently feel a range of emotions following infertility treatments. They eagerly await news of the treatment's outcome in the post-procedure period, which is marked by hope and anticipation.
People frequently take additional care of themselves, adopt healthy lifestyles, control their stress, and adhere to prescription medicines or limitations during this time. To track progress and resolve issues, regular monitoring and check-ups with fertility specialists are typically planned.
Infertility can be quite challenging to deal with because there are so many unknowns. A couple may experience emotional strain during the trip. Even if fertility therapy is effective, it's typical to feel anxious and afraid of failure while pregnant.
There is a substantial probability that depression or anxiety the patient has previously experienced will reoccur in the months following the birth. If the emotional toll of the results of fertility treatments becomes too great for the partners to handle, it may be necessary to seek assistance from professionals.
Treatments for infertility have varying results for each patient and depend on a number of variables, including age, underlying medical issues, and the particular treatment used. These types of treatments result in successful pregnancies and the joy of parenthood for some couples. They encounter the realization of their dreams and are given fresh optimism for the future. Some marriages may experience problems that call for more than one intervention or different forms of treatment.
It's important to approach results with reasonable expectations because the road to motherhood can be complicated and unpredictable. Regardless of the result, the resilience, courage, and determination couples have shown in this process should be appreciated. Support from medical professionals, family, and friends is crucial at this time since they can offer emotional support and direction for processing the results and considering the options.
1- Yale Medicine. Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility. (https://www.yalemedicine.org/departments/reproductive-endocrinology-and-infertility)
2- The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. (https://www.uab.edu/medicine/obgyn/divisions/reproductive-endocrinology-and-infertility-services)
3,4- WebMD. What is a Reproductive Endocrinologist? (https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-a-reproductive-endocrinologist)
5-NHS. Availability IVF. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ivf/availability/)
6- NHS. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/artificial-insemination/)