Be an In Vitro Fertilization Specialist

Learn about those on the front line of treating infertility in both women and men.

Jim Williams

HealthKey.com contributor

April 8, 2010


There was a time not so long ago when couples unable to get pregnant simply stopped trying. Today, infertility affects millions of people, both men and women. Although there is no one cause for the inability to have children naturally, many causes have been identified and can be treated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Treatment, in vitro fertilization, called IVF, is the most common form of assisted reproductive technology. This procedure is most often performed by highly trained physicians called in vitro fertilization specialists.

What They Do

Most couples are referred to an IVF specialist by their OB/GYN or family physician, according to the American Fertility Association. IVF specialists oversee a process in which a man's sperm and a woman's eggs are combined in a laboratory dish, where fertilization occurs. Some of the resulting embryos are transferred into the woman's uterus to develop naturally. One advantage of using IVF over artificial insemination is that IVF specialists can select the embryos with the best chances of implantation and control the number of embryos transferred to reduce the risk of multiple births.

Education and Qualifications

IVF specialists are first trained in obstetrics and gynecology and then receive three years of additional training in IVF. In the United States, the body that oversees the training and credentialing of IVF specialists is the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The technical name for a board-certified IVF specialist is a reproductive endocrinologist. IVF specialists must pass both written and oral examinations in obstetrics, gynecology, infertility and IVF in order to qualify as a board-certified IVF specialist.

Demand and Compensation

Like other physicians, IVF specialists may be self-employed owners of their own practice, partners in a group practice, or they may be employed by hospitals, clinics, government organizations or academic institutions.

According to the Medical Group Management Association, the median income for IVF specialists is $280,000.