Ask An Expert - What Do People Not Understand About Fertility Care?
Afsana Islam is the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Kofinas Fertility Group. With a science background in physiology, kinesiology, and neurorehabilitation, as well as experience in business development, Afsana serves as a link between the fertility experts at Kofinas to referring physicians and patients alike. In this interview, Afsana discusses what she wishes patients, future patients, and the general public knew about fertility care.
Afsana: "If I could waive a magic wand I would probably increase awareness of the comprehensive function of our practice and the surgical aspect, because we literally are the best. That’s not me being biased, it’s just from me discovering that most surgeons don’t operate like this. We get so many referrals from other doctors, over 300 doctors in the area, because they know we’re the people to go to. If they failed somewhere else, we’re the next call.
Many people think that if you’re wanting a baby, that’s the only time that you go to a fertility clinic, and that’s probably because they’ve never come across a clinic like ours that is so comprehensive and can tackle problems from any area.
For example, we had somebody come to us from one of our referring physicians who’s an OB/GYN. She said, 'Hey, I have a patient that has an IUD lodged deep in her uterus. I can get it out, but I don’t want to affect her fertility because she’s so young. We want to make sure she’s able to have kids later on.'
And that’s a case that people don’t know that fertility doctors are the ones that do those surgeries. We take all the tough cases. Now she’s fine, and she can have a baby whenever she wants."
What does comprehensive care look like?
Afsana: "We try to get to the root cause of the infertility. If you walk into a fertility clinic elsewhere they might just tell you that IVF is the only thing that they can offer, or maybe they can offer an intrauterine insemination, an IUI, or other low-complexity options.
We often see women who fail multiple IVF cycles in other clinics when the right questions haven't been asked to see if they may have endometriosis. To get a diagnosis, a minimally invasive laparoscopy has to be done and unfortunately, not every fertility doctor has that surgical capability. So no matter how many times IVF is attempted, unless you clear up the root cause of the infertility, you will get more of the same result. Then they came here, we cleared out the endometriosis, and a lot of them get pregnant on their own, naturally."
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What options do people have beyond IVF and surgery?
Afsana: "In the media, even though it’s not widely talked about, IVF is more talked about than the other options. People don’t know that they have other options, so they’re very IVF driven. When the patients call in, they think it’s the only thing that’s going to work. So we say 'we can definitely take a look at that, but you may not need that.'
70% of our patients do end up needing IVF treatment, but it’s that 30% that has never been given another option before. We’re here to give a multitude of options, knowing that we’re not going to go to the most expensive thing first just because it’s expensive. Everyone is unique and their treatment plan should be as unique as they are.
I also come across people who expect their OB/GYN to ask them about their fertility goals and possible treatment options. You would be surprised about how many doctors don't bring it up unless you do. It's very important to have an open and honest relationship with your doctor, especially about your family planning goals. With my conversations with various doctors, I ask them about the conversations typically had with their patients and when the best time to bring it up is. Even when you go to an oncologist for cancer treatment, it's important to be and have an advocate for your future after cancer by freezing your eggs or sperm."
What comes next in fertility care?
Afsana: "At Kofinas, we’re on the forefront of not only medical innovation, but innovation in ways of patient experience. It’s just so exciting. We’re opening up the first ever, stand-alone reproductive surgical center in New York, and that is unheard of. Dr. George Kofinas is very deserving of getting approval for this surgical center. It's very fitting that his belief in personalized care can now be extended to their surgical experience. It's going to be amazing and I've been told that it is going to be one of the most advanced surgical centers in New York, not to mention the most beautiful. Ambulatory surgical centers are going to be the next big thing in healthcare. Not feeling like a number in an overcrowded hospital and lower rates of infection? Sign me up!"
With 30 years of experience, multiple locations, and dedicated experts, we are excited to bring you comprehensive and innovative fertility care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!