How to Become a Fertility Specialist

February 14, 2024


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 2/14/24

Are you curious about how to become a fertility specialist? This guide covers the steps to becoming one and the annual salary for this career. 

Fertility specialists focus on diagnosing and treating infertility in both men and women. They are highly trained individuals who play a crucial role in helping couples and individuals achieve their dreams of starting a family.

If you have a passion for helping people and are interested in pursuing a career in the field of fertility, becoming a fertility specialist could be a fulfilling and rewarding career path. However, like any medical profession, it requires dedication, hard work, and rigorous education and training. 

The growing demand for fertility specialists, and the potential to impact people's lives significantly, make this career path exciting and rewarding. 

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What Is a Fertility Specialist

A fertility specialist is a medical professional specializing in diagnosing and treating fertility issues. Also known as a reproductive endocrinologist, a fertility specialist has specialized training in reproductive medicine and endocrinology.

Fertility specialists work with both men and women struggling to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term. They are trained to diagnose and treat various fertility issues, including ovulation disorders, endometriosis, male factor infertility, tubal and uterine abnormalities, and genetic issues.

Fertility specialists use a variety of treatment options, including medications, surgery, and assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and donor egg or sperm programs. 

They also counsel and support patients and their partners throughout the treatment process.

Some skills you need to become a fertility specialist includes:

  • Communication: Fertility specialists must have excellent communication skills to explain complex medical issues to patients and their families, discuss treatment options, and provide emotional support.
  • Empathy and Compassion: Infertility can be emotionally challenging for couples, and fertility specialists must demonstrate empathy and compassion while providing care.
  • Surgical Skills: They must be skilled in surgical procedures related to reproductive organs, including minimally invasive surgeries, laparoscopies, and hysteroscopies.
  • Clinical Skills: Fertility specialists must have strong clinical skills to accurately diagnose and treat reproductive issues. They should be skilled at performing physical exams, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic tests.
  • Analytical Skills: They must be able to analyze data and test results to develop an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Building strong relationships with patients and their families, creating a supportive and compassionate environment. They must also be able to handle sensitive topics with sensitivity and tact.

These skills are extremely important for fertility specialists to possess because they’re needed to have a successful career.

Steps to Becoming a Fertility Specialist

So, how long does it take to become a fertility specialist? All in all, the process is long, challenging, and requires several years of education and training. Here are the general steps to follow.

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree

First, you must earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college. Pursuing a degree in a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry, is recommended. However, it is also possible to major in other areas if you complete the necessary pre-medical courses.

Most medical schools require applicants to take a list of required courses before applying. These required courses include:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physics
  • Math 
  • Organic Chemistry

On top of completing the required courses, applicants must also have a high undergraduate GPA score. Those admitted to top medical schools like Harvard have an average GPA of 3.9. It would be best to research the average GPA of those admitted to the medical school you want to apply to. 

2. Pass the MCAT

Another part of the application process for medical school is passing the MCAT. The Medical College Admissions Test contains the following four sections:

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

The MCAT is approximately seven hours and 30 minutes long, and there are three optional breaks, including two10-minute breaks and one 30-minute break. 

It would help if you achieved a high MCAT score because it’s what admissions will base your success in medical school on.

Getting a tutor, signing up for prep courses, and studying independently can help you prepare for the MCAT. 

3. Complete Medical School

During the four years of medical school, students learn the skills and knowledge needed to become successful fertility specialists. Here are standard criteria that most medical schools require for admission: 

The first two years will be dedicated to attending lectures on various medical topics, including anatomy, infection immunity, and endocrinology. While the final two years will require you to participate in clinical rotations, where you’ll work under the guidance of licensed physicians. 

Clinical rotations allow students to gain practical knowledge and skills essential for their future medical endeavors.

4. Complete a Residency Program

Once medical school is completed, students must complete a residency program. This typically takes four years and involves hands-on training in a clinical setting.

Suppose a medical school graduate intends to specialize in female fertility. In that case, they should undertake a residency program in obstetrics and gynecology. In contrast, a residency in urology would be more appropriate if their goal is to concentrate on male fertility.

5. Complete a Fellowship

After residency, one must complete a reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellowship program. This fellowship lasts two to three years and provides specialized training in fertility treatments, including assisted reproductive technology.

During the fellowship program, participants work closely with experienced fertility specialists to gain knowledge and practical experience in various aspects of reproductive medicine. 

They may be involved in diagnosing and treating infertility, including assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF. Fellows may also learn to perform fertility-related surgeries, including ovarian drilling and tubal ligation reversal.

In addition to clinical training, fellows may participate in research projects related to reproductive medicine. This can include clinical trials, studies on the effectiveness of different fertility treatments, and investigations into the causes of infertility.

6. Obtain Licensing 

To practice medicine in the United States, you must be licensed by the state where you plan to work. 

Each state has its licensing requirements, but they typically include passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) and completing a certain number of supervised clinical hours.

Fertility Specialist Salary

In recent reports, the average annual pay for a fertility specialist in the US is $67,080 a yearly. Below is a table displaying the highest-paying positions related to Fertility Specialist roles, broken down by monthly, weekly, and hourly earnings.

Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly Wage
Fertility Physician $223,641 $18,636 $4,300 $107.52
Fertility Nurse Practitioner $131,543 $10,961 $2,529 $63.24
Fertility Associates $126,232 $10,519 $2,427 $60.69
Fertility Care Practitioner $124,152 $10,346 $2,387 $59.69
Fertility Ultrasound $108,697 $9,058 $2,090 $52.26

The average salary for a fertility specialist is dependent on many factors, such as years of experience, certifications, and skills.


If you still have questions about how to become a fertility specialist, check out these frequently asked questions. 

1. How Long Does It Take to Become a Fertility Specialist?

It can take up to 15 years to become one: 

  • Four years of undergraduate studies 
  • Four years of medical school 
  • Three to four years of obstetrics and gynecology residency
  • Two to three years of reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellowship

Although this seems like a long timeline, residency and fellowships timeframes can range significantly.  

2. What Is the Difference Between a Gynecologist and a Fertility Specialist?

Gynecologists focus on female reproductive health, while fertility specialists have qualifications to help patients treat fertility issues.  

3. Is a Reproductive Endocrinologist the Same as a Fertility Specialist?

A reproductive endocrinologist is a medical doctor specializing in treating reproduction-related hormonal disorders. They are experts in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect fertility, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and male infertility.

A fertility specialist is a broader term that can refer to any medical professional specializing in helping a patient become pregnant. This can include reproductive endocrinologists.

So while a reproductive endocrinologist is a fertility specialist, not all fertility specialists are necessarily reproductive endocrinologists.

Final Thoughts

If you're seriously thinking about becoming a fertility specialist, this guide has covered everything you’ll need to become one. Although it takes many years to become a specialist, this is worth it because of the many patients you’ll help with their fertility issues. 

Good luck with your future endeavors!

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