Across Europe, fertility treatment demand is increasing because couples are delaying family and fertility decreases with the age of the partners. The management of subfertile couples and the development of assisted reproductive techniques (ART) need a multidisciplinary approach and require subspecialist training in areas such as in endocrinology, andrology, reproductive surgery, reproductive biology, genetics, psychology and early pregnancy complications.
EBCOG noted with approval the development of subspecialty practice in a number of countries and considered that reproductive medicine should be recognised as a subspecialty in Europe.
Educational objectives and requirements for training in these sub-specialist areas have been defined with acknowledged experts from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). The role of a sub-specialist is complementary and not competitive to the specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
The Reproductive Medicine sub-specialist is a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology who has had advanced theoretical and practical training in:
1. Medical and surgical management of infertility
This may involve treatment of the male if practiced by the gynaecologists in that country. It will involve a range of assisted reproductive techniques (ART)
2. Reproductive endocrinology
Comprehensive management of these problems includes diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and audit of outcome.
After completion of their training, subspecialists continue to devote at least half, and probably more, of their working time to the field of Reproductive Medicine.