Reproductive medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with prevention, diagnosis and management of reproductive problems; goals include improving or maintaining reproductive health and allowing people to have children at a time of their choosing. It is founded on knowledge of reproductive anatomy, physiology, and endocrinology, and incorporates relevant aspects of molecular biology, biochemistry and pathology. In the assessment of patients imaging techniques, laboratory methods and surgery may be needed. Treatment methods include counseling, pharmacology, surgery, and other methods.
Reproductive medicine addresses issues of sexual education, puberty, family planning, birth control, infertility, reproductive system disease (including sexually transmitted diseases) and sexual dysfunction. In women, reproductive medicine also covers menstruation, ovulation, pregnancy and menopause, as well as gynecologic disorders that affect fertility.
The field cooperates with and overlaps to some degree with gynecology, obstetrics, urology, genitourinary medicine, medical endocrinology, pediatric endocrinology, genetics, and psychiatry.
Specialists in reproductive medicine usually undergo training in obstetrics and gynecology followed by training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, or in urology followed by training in andrology. For reproductive medicine specialists in contraception, other methods of training are possible. Specialists tend to be organized in specialty organizations such as American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).
In vitro fertilization has evolved as a major treatment modality that has enabled the study of the embryo prior to implantation.
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