As a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, an American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ABOG) oral board examiner for over 20 years, and an REI sub-specialty board examiner I bring a unique perspective to this topic. Becoming sub-specialty board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) is a rigorous and comprehensive process which requires four years of training in obstetrics and gynecology (also known as a residency) after medical school plus a written examination at the end of residency. After two years of independent practice the physician is then required to take an oral examination to test general knowledge in the field. Physicians who successfully complete this process are then considered Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Those physicians who wish to become board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) must undergo another three years of additional training in a fellowship (two years prior to 1996) devoted exclusively to this sub-specialty. They must then pass a written examination specific to REI as well as an oral examination given by a team of national REI experts. The exam evaluates the physician’s knowledge and ability to treat a broad range of REI conditions. Those who pass both of these examinations are then considered Sub-Specialty Board Certified in REI. As you can see, the demanding process of sub-specialty board certification takes a minimum of nine years of training after graduation from medical school. All of the physicians at RMA at Jefferson are Sub-Specialty Board Certified in REI.
You should always feel empowered to ask your fertility doctor “Are you sub-specialty board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility?” Here are my Top 5 reasons why:
1. Sub-specialty board certification in REI is the gold standard
While obtaining a medical license is a challenging process, it is also the minimum requirement to diagnose and treat patients in the US. Becoming board certified in a medical specialty, such as Obstetrics & Gynecology or sub-specialty board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, is not required. Passing the sub-specialty exam in REI objectively guarantees that your physician has met the highest standards in the field (not just in Philadelphia but in the country).
2. Research supports benefits of board certification
Research has linked board certification to such patient benefits as improved clinical outcomes, fewer medical errors, and improved communication between physician and patients.1
3. Board certification in REI is unique to a specific area of medicine
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is divided into 24 different specialty Boards, each unique to a very specific area of medicine ensuring that your physician was held to the highest standard in their precise field, not a general medical standard. OBGYN is one of the 24, that category is then divided into six sub-specialty categories with REI being one of the six.
4. Board certification in REI requires constant updating
REI sub-specialists (those certified since 1987) are required to stay up-to-date with new discoveries and clinical advances by completing a Maintenance of Certification program administered by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) every single year.2 ABOG also requires that REI sub-subspecialists must pass yet another written examination every six years. This ongoing process is intended to ensure patients that their REI-certified fertility doctor is maintaining the required level of knowledge to provide excellent, evidence-based clinical care.
5. Everyone else is doing their homework, why aren’t you?
Each year millions of patients conduct searches to find out whether or not their physicians are board certified. Finding a physician who is sub-specialty board certified in REI is a quick and simple process and produces tremendous results. All of the physicians of RMA at Jefferson are members of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI), which requires certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and the sub-specialty of Reproductive Endocrinology and infertility. To ensure that your fertility specialist is sub-specialty board certified in REI please visit: socrei.org.