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Fertility Doctor of the Month: Dr. John L. Couvaras
I am holding our miracle baby now because of Dr. Couvaras. He believed in my ability to have a baby with my own eggs at 44 years old. And we did it without IVF! He worked with us to find out what was actually causing our losses instead of just automatically blaming my age… If you are at a dead end and no one will listen this is where you should go for answers. So many doctors are afraid to think outside of the stats and boxes… –Ronne
After 8 miscarriages Dr. Couvaras helped us bring home our miracle baby! He never stopped trying to figure out why we kept losing our pregnancies and used an "outside the box" approach. He didn't rush us into IVF or IUI. He stuck with us… – Lisa
FertilityAuthority is pleased to recognize Dr. Couvaras as Doctor of the Month.
A sole practitioner at IVF Phoenix in Scottsdale, AZ, Couvaras provides individualized, holistic care with the goal of helping patients understand why they haven’t been able to conceive or carry a pregnancy. “IVF is a great tool, but my experience is there are a fair number of patients who have been overlooked in terms of their underlying issues,” he says. “I’m trying to get to the root of the problem.”
What types of underlying issues? Implantation issues for one: In this case, “There’s something wrong with how the uterine environment is talking to the embryo. And if we don’t fix that embryo-endometrial interaction, you or we can make the best embryos in the world and it’s still not going to work.” And inflammatory issues: “Co-existing disorders are related, including Hashimoto’s disease, migraines, irritable bowel disease. “They represent an ongoing chronic inflammatory event which has some impact on early implantation,” he says. “It’s looking for what flavor of inflammation people manifest. When I say flavor, there are metabolic processes that occur all the time and we can pick up on.” It’s important to manage these, and issues such as autoimmune diseases, Lupus, overweight, sleep apnea, and even Vitamin D deficiency before IVF or other fertility treatment.
“The concept is to get you healthy first,” he says. And the challenge is many patients don’t realize they’re unhealthy.
Couvaras admits that his approach does not sit well with all patients. Many are looking at IVF as the quickest route to pregnancy. “It makes sense, but if issues exist that would prevent them from succeeding I’ll address that before we move on to IVF,” he says. “I try to take these patients and be their best advocate and try to get them to understand there’s more to this process than putting gametes together.”
As while he does, admittedly, lose patients to other fertility practices who move them straight to IVF, he also is gratified when many come back to his practice when that treatment has unfortunately failed. “If you do IVF on a healthy population, you’re going to have an exceptionally high outcome,” he says. “But if you take a population of people who are infertile for many reasons, if you don’t address it, 42% will have live birth after multiple attempts.”
“I don’t think people get lucky – I think the models work best when we keep an open mind and we act as our own scientists. Most of us stop being scientists and start being protocol driven. And nobody’s looking at the patient and trying to understand how things are having an impact,” he says.
That statement emphasizes Couvaras’s strong curiosity that influences his practice. “As long as you stay curious you’re going to look at every new person that walks through the door as a new person. Not just another IVF patient,” he says.
“I try to invest time with my patients,” Couvaras adds. “I think the privilege of being their doctor is really one of the greatest rewards I could ever have.”