How to become a fertility specialist

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Fertility specialists are medical professionals who specialise in helping women become pregnant and give birth. Initially, these specialists examine patients to determine and diagnose any diseases or abnormalities that are causing infertility.

Fertility specialists prescribe or recommend fertility medications, in vitro fertilisation or surgery to help a patient get pregnant. To become a specialist, applicants must go through years of education and training at the undergraduate, graduate and specialist levels.

Pass A and AS levels in biology, chemistry or in a related science area. A science related area is important, because the courses are going to help prepare you for medical school. Because medical school is very competitive, it's important to perform well and earn high marks.

Apply to medical schools through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Most medical schools are attached to universities and large teaching hospitals.

Take the necessary additional entrance exam to get into medical school. Most universities require entrants sit the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). Once accepted, the medical school offers you a foundation in the various areas of medicine and is a prerequisite for your specialised work in reproduction. Medical schools typically cover areas in surgery, paediatrics, cardiology, respiratory system, neurology and psychology.

Participate in a specialist programme that will teach you about the different areas of reproduction, such as gynaecology, urology, obstetrics and endocrinology. This will give you a broad understanding of these areas and prepares you for specialisation in this field.

After qualifying, specialise in obstetrics, gynaecology and reproductive endocrinology, including the diagnosis and treatment of fertility issues. You learn to become proficient in sonography, in vitro fertilisation, hysteroscopy surgery, ovulation induction, microsurgery and laparoscopic surgery. Opportunities are also available in laboratory and clinical research.

Apply for Higher Specialist Scientific Training (HSST) through the NHS. As a consultant healthcare scientist, you'll need relevant postgraduate qualifications and considerable relevant experience. Many healthcare fertility science roles require registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).