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Difference Between Gynecologist & Fertility Specialist

Gynecologists and fertility specialists both work primarily with women, but their responsibilities have some differences. This article gives you comparative information about these two medical positions.

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Comparing Gynecologists to Fertility Specialists

Gynecologists are often referred to as OB/GYNs. The OB stands for obstetrician, which is a doctor who specializes in women's health during pregnancy, while gynecologists are general women's physicians the rest of the time. Many receive training in both obstetrics and gynecology. Fertility specialists are also medically trained obstetricians/gynecologists, but they specialize in helping women who have difficulty getting pregnant. Below is a comparison of these two medical positions along with some financial information of some importance.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016) Job Growth* (2014-2024)
Gynecologist Doctoral degree and residency $317,496 18%
Fertility Specialist Doctoral degree and residency $326,000 (reproductive specialist) 18% (gynecologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Gynecologists vs Fertility Specialists

Gynecologists and fertility specialists are medically trained physicians who have chosen to specialize in women's health of some type. Both of these professionals use the latest in diagnostics and technology for testing women for medical issues. Gynecologists and obstetricians are doctors who hold specialities in women's health, pregnancy, and childbirth. Fertility specialists are also medical doctors who find and treat infertility issues in both men and women.

Gynecologist

Gynecologists concern themselves with the overall healthcare of women from birth to death. Gynecologists treat and counsel women about the female reproductive system. They also diagnose and treat specific women's issues, like breast and cervical cancer, hormonal imbalances, and menopause symptoms.

Job responsibilities of a gynecologist include:

  • Promoting women's health through proper medical care
  • Performing physical exams on their patients
  • Listening closely to patient's physical description of problems for diagnosis
  • Prescribing ultrasounds and other imaging exams
  • Administering anesthetics or other meds

Fertility Specialist

Fertility specialists are also known as reproductive endocrinologists (RE). Most physicians only spend a few weeks in the study of fertility which is why it is often suggested that those couples who are having trouble getting pregnant see a fertility specialist or RE. Fertility specialists have specialized their training to aid couples in the understanding of various causes of infertility and the complexity of genetics and fertility. These specialists make diagnoses and suggestions for both men and women and discuss treatment options for both.

Job responsibilities of a fertility specialist include:

  • Keeping patients educated on possibilities and expectations
  • Interpreting various physical exams, ultrasounds and MRIs
  • Monitoring patient's health during and after any procedure such as in vitro fertilization
  • Administering medications in certain instances to aid in fertility chances
  • Collaborating with other specialists in difficult cases

Related Careers

Midwives are trained specialists who help women during their pregnancies and are prepared for birth emergencies, much like gynecologists and obstetricians, but midwives only need a bachelor's or master's degree. A pediatrician is another similar career, but their area of expertise is in children's health. They also must complete a doctoral degree and residency program.

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