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RMACT Fertility Practice Hires Experienced Genetic Counselor Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on June 13th, 2016

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RMACT Fertility Practice Hires Experienced Genetic Counselor

PGD | Support | Fertility Treatment

Genetic Counselor CTDr. Mark Leondires is quoted below about his commitment to the level of fertility care that is offered at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT).

In our official press release welcoming James Speer, M.S. to RMACT, it’s clear that Dr. Leondires’ commitment is about thinking past what we already do well to what more we can offer. In the eight and a half years that I have worked with RMACT, this is the question that I have heard Dr. Leondires ask over and over.  “What more can we do to support our patients?” There’s an emphasis on the word we and our. What can we do to support our patients?

In addition, embryo donation is an opportunity that our patients have not had readily or easily available before this- this can be a dream come true for patients on both the offering and receiving end. It’s an exciting new program that we look forward to sharing the details about as they become available. The possibilities due to this new embryo donation program may make family building affordable and possible for certain patients who would not be able to have a child otherwise.

Welcome to James Speer- we already appreciate what you’re bringing to our RMACT fertility team. - Lisa Rosenthal

James Speer, M.S. Joins RMACT Fertility Team

RMACT Hires Speer To Be the Fertility Practice’s Genetic Counselor

james-speer.jpgNORWALK, CT – James Speer, M.S., a certified genetic counselor, is joining Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), a leading fertility practice with a well-rounded pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) program. As the medical field’s understanding of genetic conditions expands and testing becomes more comprehensive, there is a growing need from fertility patients to work with a specialist to understand and consider their options.

As a genetic counselor, Speer’s role is to obtain detailed health and family histories, identify conditions with genetic components and risk factors, discuss inheritance patterns, and provide information regarding genetic testing options. Once test results are attained, he will provide non-directive counsel and support to patients.  Many of the patients he works with will have donor sperm or donor oocytes as part of their fertility treatment.

In addition, Speer is establishing an embryo donation program at RMACT. According to the Department of Health & Human Health Services, there are over 600,000 cryo-preserved embryos in the U.S. RMACT patients will now have the opportunity to donate their remaining embryos to the practice, which can then in turn match the embryos to screened recipients. This program will give patients who have successfully completed their family-building another option as they consider what course of action to pursue with their extra embryos, and will add to the extensive options RMACT has available for hopeful parents-to-be.

What is a Genetic Counselor?

“Being a genetic counselor is a fascinating combination of genetics and psychology,” says Speer, who has over 10 years of experience in the fertility field. “I’m able to empower people with information, and help them come to the best decision for themselves. I’m especially excited to start the embryo donation program because it cultivates positive energy to the practice as a whole.  There are many embryos available to be donated, and many potential recipients for these embryos, so it is wonderful to be able to offer this option at RMACT.”  

Speer earned his Bachelor of Science in Medical Cytogenetic Technology from the University of Connecticut School of Allied Health Professions and then went on to earn his Master of Science in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College. His career started as a lab technician conducting genetic research and testing. In addition to working with patients for more than 20 years, Speer has been a professor and was the Associate Director of the Joan H. Marks Graduate Program In Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. Outside of the office, Speer keeps busy as a father of four children.

“We believe that part of our responsibility as a fertility practice is to ensure that each patient is informed and supported throughout their treatment,” says Dr. Mark Leondires, Medical Director at RMACT. “We want our patients to receive the best medical care and with Jamie, we have taken another step to caring for the entire patient.”

So what more can we do to support our patients? James Speer joining us helps answer that question. This is the more that we can be and now are doing. As the medicine and scientific fields change rapidly, there is more sophisticated information to process and understand.  James Speer is here to help with that process. Our patients will be able to receive more comprehensive care within RMACT so that when they need a genetic counselor, it’s not another visit to a different office. Convenience and standard of care will now be under one roof.

About Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.