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The Future of Healthcare: “Pioneering Fertility Technologies” with Dr. Jason Kofinas

Kofinas Fertility Group | 1 July, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Ovarian tissue freezing is the future. One strip of ovarian tissue can provide many usable eggs. Cancer patients who do not have two weeks to freeze their eggs are increasingly looking for other viable options and one of those is ovarian tissue freezing and can be done within 24 hours of the Oncologist’s request.

As a part of my series on the future of healthcare, I had the pleasure to interview Dr. Jason Kofinas.

Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My interest in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility started in 1995 when I went to work with my father and he put me in his IVF lab and told me to stand in the corner and watch the amazing things that were happening. By the end of the day I had convinced his embryologist to let me play with the micro manipulator and microscope and I was comparing the work to the latest Nintendo game. I told everyone that would listen that I would be in this field and I would change it for the better. Now 24 years later I am in this field and a lot of the work I do will hopefully lead to significant advancement in the field and help many people.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your clinic?

By far the most interesting story that has happened in my fertility clinic is one that includes my own family. It is incredibly rewarding being able to help so many people build their families since I came to Kofinas Fertility. I very much appreciate my role in adding to the long legacy of family building that this company has a great reputation for. So, when my wife and I realized that we needed help creating a family of our own, we knew we were in great hands. Kofinas Fertility Group has always been a family that builds families — now, it includes our beautiful baby girl! This very personal experience has given me layers of perspective that I believe my patients appreciate as it reflects in their care.

Can you tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the healthcare field?

I have published a fair amount in the clinical aspect of infertility, however, what sets myself and our group apart is our surgical ability and expertise. At a time when surgery has become a lost art, we are honing our skills and we continue to help many women and couples achieve pregnancy with simple and natural ways as opposed to immediate usage of IVF.

What makes your clinic stand out? Can you share a story?

I remember meeting a patient who had been to 3 centers before they walked through my door. She had expressed her desperation for a different approach after having failed multiple IVF cycles throughout New York. I remember asking her a simple and routine question — do you have painful periods? The patient told me that every menstrual cycle was like a dagger through her belly. I asked her if endometriosis had every been mentioned. To my surprise, it had not come up in previous discussions. I took this patient to the operating room and found stage 4 endometriosis with significant alteration of the normal anatomy, as well as significant scar tissue. After 4 hours of careful surgical restoration of her anatomy the patient left the operating room in much better condition than she entered. After surgery, I informed the patient of how severe her case was and how IVF was the next and very logical step after the surgery. I asked her to come in two months after surgery to discuss the start of IVF. The patient instead called one week after her expected cycle and was found to have a positive pregnancy test. After many failed IVF cycles all over New York, the surgical correction of her endometriosis led to a natural pregnancy and delivery of a beautiful baby boy. This case highlights the importance of unveiling and treating the root cause of infertility.

Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to and/or see in the healthcare industry? How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo? Which “pain point” is this trying to address?

There is a lot of work to be done still in the field of fertility preservation. On average one egg freeze cycle can yield 10–15 eggs. In older patients or patients with other conditions that can affect egg quality this number of eggs should not and does not provide a level of comfort needed when pursuing egg cryopreservation.

Ovarian tissue freezing is the future. One strip of ovarian tissue can provide many usable eggs. Cancer patients who do not have two weeks to freeze their eggs are increasingly looking for other viable options and one of those is ovarian tissue freezing and can be done within 24 hours of the Oncologist’s request.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Our new center located in Lower Manhattan now has 2 in-house research laboratories to help develop these industry-disrupting technologies. Our research labs are going to be answering very important questions that align with our drive to improve embryo quality, the interaction between embryo and uterus, and ovarian tissue freezing technology.

Let’s jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this studycited by Newsweek, the US healthcare system is ranked as the worst among high income nations. This seems shocking. Can you share with us 3–5 reasons why you think the US is ranked so poorly?

In the field of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, the US is at the forefront of science and clinical work. The US is routinely regarded as the #1 country to receive infertility treatments based on success rates and technological achievement. I believe this is possible because of the proper regulation of our industry and implementation of evidence-based medicine.

You are a “healthcare insider”. If you had the power to make a change, can you share 5 changes that need to be made to improve the overall US healthcare system? Please share a story or example for each.

Better access to preventative medicine

More partnership between doctor and patient to achieve the common goal of better outcomes

In the fertility world, better access to care is one of the most pressing issues. Access to fertility preservation, not just for cancer patients, but for patients who are experiencing a premature decline in their fertility potential.

Thank you! It’s great to suggest changes, but what specific steps would need to be taken to implement your ideas? What can individuals, corporations, communities and leaders do to help?

In the fertility world, I applaud New York State for recently increasing access to fertility therapies that were previously inaccessible due to cost and minimal insurance coverage. I look forward to helping more people than ever with this recent change in coverage and hopefully it will lead to better preventative care for overall reproductive health.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better healthcare leader? Can you explain why you like them.

I am an avid reader and am always interested in learning and creating innovative ways to further my industry. One recent book that I have read is “The Telomere Effect” by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel. This book makes very important points of how daily stress can affect overall health and lifespan.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Our company’s website, www.kofinasfertility.com, has a great deal of resources that we create internally to not only help explain the technical side of the fertility treatments we offer, but how to optimize your reproductive health to better achieve your goals. Subscribing to our blog is something that has been very helpful for our current patients and especially to people who are seeking solution-oriented information that makes them more confident in taking their reproductive health into their own hands. Kofinas Fertility Group can also be found on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. As always, we hope that our resources resonate with people who are seeking a comprehensive and individualized approach.