Find Orlando Family Magazine on Facebook! Follow Orlando Family Magazine on Twitter!

Parenthood Made Possible

The emotional impact of infertility on those hoping to start or grow their family can be just as hard to deal with as the physical aspects. Reproductive Medicine Associates (RMA) of Florida, a leading fertility clinic based in Lake Mary, understands that and treats their patients like family as they provide them with first-rate medical care. 

Dr. George Patounakis, the medical director of RMA of Florida, has been helping patients in Central Florida with their infertility struggles since 2017. He originally began his career in electrical engineering, earning his doctorate in low-cost integrated DNA microarray. However, Dr. Patounakis soon realized he wanted to have a more direct impact on health and opted to pursue a career in medicine.

Inspired by a family member who had trouble conceiving a child, Dr. Patounakis decided to focus on reproductive endocrinology and infertility. “I wanted to get into the field because I saw how this family member dealt with infertility and how it affected them. I watched as they went through all of the treatments, saw the connections that they made and how happy they were after they got pregnant. It inspired me to want to help others.”

He received his M.D. from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and completed his OBGYN 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 from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

RMA was founded in 1999 and since that time has become a worldwide leader in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) research and discovery, with many of the industry’s most exciting advances having come from one of its doctors, fellows, scientists or laboratories. With 19 locations throughout the United States, RMA continues to innovate the field and help more patients overcome their struggles with infertility. “RMA is unique because we combine the advantages of a high-powered medical facility with a personalized delivery of care that patients expect from a private practice,” Dr. Patounakis says.

Unlike at many other clinics, Dr. Patounakis personally sees each patient at every visit. “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. 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.”

The countless proven fertility treatments offered at RMA include ovulation induction, IVF, intrauterine insemination (IUI), embryo transferring, donor eggs and sperm, genetic testing, and fertility preservation, where embryos are created and frozen for later use. This procedure is common with cancer patients as many cancer treatments can impair fertility. Fertility preservation also helps individuals and couples who want to freeze their eggs while they are still young and healthy but not yet ready for a baby.  

Since each patient’s needs and wants differ, all possible treatment options are thoroughly explained to ensure that the patient feels both at ease and confident in their fertility treatment choices. “You come to RMA to help build your family, and there’s not just one way to do that, there’s multiple ways, whether it’s through donor egg, donor sperm, a gestational carrier. Ultimately, my goal is to help you make the right decision to grow your family,” Dr. Patounakis says.

Although infertility can feel isolating, it’s not uncommon. About one in four couples have trouble conceiving a child, according to the World Health Organization. Advancements in reproductive medicine and technology over the last several years have helped provide hope to those who never thought parenthood was a possibility. “The paradigm for fertility treatment has changed since I first started versus now.” Dr. Patounakis recalls his early days of training in fertility medicine when embryos, which are used in IVF treatments, could not be cultured for more than a few days outside the mother’s womb. Today, these same embryos can be grown outside the womb for up to a week, allowing doctors to be more selective in deciding which embryo to implant. This decreases the number of embryos that have to be transferred to the mother and leads to fewer occurrences of twins and triplets. 

The expert medical care and compassion that patients receive at RMA is truly unmatched. The advanced, individualized treatment plans help patients both physically and emotionally as they endure an often-challenging journey. “It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be part of these people’s lives as they go through this sensitive time,” he says. “What I love about my role is I’m not only responsible for patients’ medical management, but being their emotional support through the process. My patients step up to the plate and are willing to do whatever it takes to grow their families. The fact my patients are willing to work that hard motivates me to work above and beyond for them in achieving their goals 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 2021 issue.