What’s the difference? OBGYN vs REI
Let’s talk about women’s reproductive health for a minute. For some, going to see your OB/GYN for an annual exam might give you that feeling of seeing the dentist; you know its good for you, but you’d sometimes rather not. We hear you loud and clear, it’s no fun and if you throw in issues with conceiving then it’s no wonder those trips to your gyno can become emotionally exhausting. Even still it’s worth talking about the differences between seeing your OB/GYN vs. an REI and why it might be time for you to take the jump (or little hop) to book an appointment with this specialist.
Wait, back up, what’s an REI?
Dare we go back to the dentist illustration for a minute? If a dentist is a teeth doctor and an orthodontist specializes in straightening things out then we’d say the difference between an OB/GYN and an REI is kinda like that. An REI is a specialist with infertility, it’s actually right in the name, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. While an OB/GYN can be a wealth of knowledge and can help you towards bettering your reproductive health, there will likely be a time when even your gyno recommends you to an REI. An REI is exactly who you want to see if you have trouble conceiving naturally because, like an ortho, it’s their job to straighten things out.
Why not just stick with my OB/GYN?
An REI is the Serena Williams of reproductive health. While you might feel safe going to a gyno you’ve known for years to get advice, an REI spends at least an extra 3-4 years after studying obstetrics and gynecology to further learn reproductive endocrinology and they go through regular examinations to maintain that title — so yeah you could say they’re pretty legit. Not to mention if there is a male partner involved an REI can help both of you navigate infertility obstacles (let’s hear it for the boys).
Do I really need to?
Seeing an REI early on can save you a lot of time and trouble if you are trying to conceive. You’ve probably been seeing your OB/GYN for a while now and feel like you are pretty great at booking regular appointments, going in for check-ups, and talking about anything regarding your reproductive health and you can give yourself a gold star for that — yay! That said, if you’ve been struggling with infertility go ahead and reach out to someone who specializes in reproductive endocrinology and infertility and then you can give yourself another gold star, yay again!
What’s a good hint that it’s time to see an REI?
Basically, when you start noticing something isn’t quite right. If you’ve been trying for more than a year it might be time. If you’re over 35 it’s worth booking an appointment no matter what and while miscarriages happen (and are far more common than most women are willing to talk about; seriously, just ask a mom, any mom) you might want to see an REI if you have experienced multiple. If you are still unsure then it’s worth asking your OB/GYN if the time is right.
How would an REI help me?
They are going to run a few tests, go to the lab, look at what your OB/GYN has sent over, and basically Sherlock their way to the answer. They will be the ones to tell you what needs to happen, if natural conception is still in the cards, or if other routes might bring you better chances of success. Also, if you know you will be going through the process of IVF at any point (ahem, egg freezing) a reproductive endocrinology physician is going to be the one who performs that procedure.
You should know that a lot of women wait longer than they need to before reaching out to an REI. This can cause a lot of stress, anxiety, and bring about those low lows that come with a long process of living in the dark. Remember, it’s an REI’s job to shed some light on the situation. We know stuff like this can be draining but it’s worth booking that appointment and asking a professional some questions. We have awesome REI’s on staff who would be glad to meet with you so that you can get yourself through the door and it doesn’t have to be like, uh…oh forgive us, pulling teeth.