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Making a Difference, One Baby at a Time

Reproductive Medicine Associates of Florida lead physician and medical director Dr. George Patounakis helps patients fulfill their dreams of becoming parents through compassionate, personalized care and the most advanced treatment

When it comes to growing a family, everyone has their own ideals, wants and desires, but when problems arise—such as infertility or trouble getting pregnant—those ideals begin to seem harder and harder to achieve. But it isn’t impossible, thanks to Reproductive Medicine Associates (RMA) of Florida, a leading fertility clinic based in Lake Mary that uses evidence-based fertility solutions to help patients become parents.

With 19 locations in the United States, RMA ensures that every clinic has a state-of-the-art In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) laboratory and holds staff—from nurses to embryologists to clinical assistants – to the highest standards. This philosophy has helped RMA become a global leader in assisted reproductive technology, fertility care, and research and innovation. Every patient that walks through their doors is treated with the utmost respect and is personally taken care of.

Dr. George Patounakis, the medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Florida, has been helping families in Central Florida become parents since 2017. He witnessed firsthand the trials and tribulations of infertility when a close family member had trouble getting pregnant. That experience changed him.

“I wanted to get into [the field] because I saw how this family member went through infertility and how it affected them,” says Dr. Patounakis. “I saw how they went through all of the treatments, the connections that they made and how happy they were after they got pregnant.

“It inspired me to want to help others.”

There are more ways to help than you may think. Despite feeling like an isolating experience, infertility affects one in eight couples in the U.S. It is so prevalent that each year, National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)—happening this year from April 19-25—seeks to lift the stigma around the condition and bring dialogue to this important subject so more people can seek help from professionals like Dr. Patounakis.

Although he started his education in electrical engineering, earning his doctorate in low-cost integrated DNA microarray, Dr. Patounakis wanted a direct impact on health, and decided to pursue medicine. He received his M.D. from Rutgers—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and completed his OB/GYN residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he served as an administrative chief resident. He then completed his fellowship training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. With his background in circuitry and his interest in infertility, he wanted to help others in a more personalized way, utilizing his statistical engineering knowledge and his medical degree and REI training to create a highly successful fertility experience and a close doctor-patient relationship. That’s what makes RMA Florida really different.

“I am the only doctor here in the Florida clinic, so I see all my patients for every ultrasound and I do every procedure myself, even when we’re in a treatment cycle. I am following how the follicles develop and constantly fine-tuning every plan every single time I see a patient. So patients see me all the time, we are in constant communication and we’re on the same page. We don’t put up any barriers for patients who want to get in contact with me or with my nurses. I have a very close relationship with each of my patients and I work very hard to make sure that they are well taken care of—and I think they really appreciate it.”

When patients come to Dr. Patounakis, they are vulnerable, scared and hoping for the best possible outcome. Not every patient knows why they can’t have a baby naturally, and some get diagnoses that surprise them. For example, one common diagnosis for women is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which is marked by a lack of regular ovulation. In about a third of infertility cases, the issue is with the male—some have low sperm counts or low sperm motility.

At RMA, these and other infertility diagnoses are common, well-researched and beatable. Dr. Patounakis creates a specialized plan to help patients conceive based on one of the following treatment paths: Ovulation Induction (OI), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Patients also come to RMA to prepare for future pregnancies by freezing their eggs or embryos.

During the time that patients are with Dr. Patounakis, they are treated like family and RMA allows for them to have an extended stay within the clinic that most infertility clinics do not offer. After the embryo is transferred back into the uterus and the patient becomes pregnant, the patient continues to have the pregnancy monitored by RMA staff until the 8-10 week mark. It is only then that the patient graduates from the practice and continues their pregnancy with their OB/GYN.

“A lot of my patients still keep in touch with me afterward; they’ll send me updates and pictures. That is always really nice,” says Dr. Patounakis. “We usually get to see them for another child after they deliver and they’re ready to try again, because they get such personalized care and they really develop a close relationship with us.

“We do fertility preservation as well,” he adds. “That’s when the couple wants to have embryos made and frozen for transfer later because they aren’t ready for a baby just yet.”

Each patient is treated with individualized care, from the blood work all the way to the IVF laboratory. That standard of care—the most advanced treatments available coupled with caring, intimate service—sets RMA apart and helps patients overcome a challenging journey.

“RMA is unique because we combine the advantages of a high-powered academic practice with the efficient delivery of care of a private practice,” Dr. Patounakis says. “We do research and deliver the same level of care that patients expect from a private practice.”

The company is also a worldwide leader in IVF research and discovery, with many of the industry’s most exciting advances having come from one of its doctors, fellows, scientists or laboratories. In this way, RMA continues to innovate the field and help more patients become parents than ever before.

“Here’s how it works: if we have a question whose answer can help us better care for patients, we’ll bring that question to the research team, who will turn it into a high-quality research study or randomized control trial,” Dr. Patounakis says. “And once we answer that question, we will alter the way we offer care so patients can benefit.

“The research findings will also be published and disseminated to other practices, and the entire industry can benefit,” he adds. “Our goal is to help, directly or indirectly, as many people as possible fulfill their dreams of parenthood.”

Reproductive Medicine Associates of Florida      
Serving Central Florida
400 Colonial Center Parkway, Suite 150 | Lake Mary | 407-804-9670

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s April 2020 issue.