For to us a child is born: Dr. Kamini Rao and Assisted Reproduction in India
The continuous existence of life on Earth can be attributed to reproduction, among other things. All living organisms – from the smallest protozoa to the complex homo sapiens – reproduces, resulting in generations of similar copies contributing to life as we know it.
In higher lifeforms, especially humans, reproduction is not only a means of survival but also a worthwhile addition to the society. For the earliest humans, strength in numbers meant a better survival rate for the whole community. As societies advanced through the ages, reproduction has become more of a personal choice rather than a mechanism for survival. Even so, there are people who would love to beget children but are unable to do so due to medical complications or diseases of the reproductive system.
Scientists and doctors have been conducting experiments and studies to allow such people to conceive artificially. Years of hard work has produced significant results, blessing infertile couples with the chance to experience the joy of childbirth. According to AIIMS, about 10-15 per cent of couples in India have infertility issues. Infertility has many causes – from impaired functioning ovaries and testes to hormonal disorders – and both men and women can contribute to it.
One of the pioneers when it comes to Assisted Reproduction in India is Dr. Kamini A Rao. A specialist in reproductive endocrinology, ovarian physiology and assisted reproductive technology, Dr. Kamini Rao has an impressive track record when it comes to artificial conception. Born on July 2, 1953, in the state of Karnataka, Dr. Kamini Rao went on to study medicine at St. John’s Medicine College, Bangalore. She followed it up with a professional course on Fetal Invasive Therapy under the watchful eyes of the world renowned Prof. Kypros Nicolaides at King’s College Hospital, London.
Dr. Kamini Rao was and still is a staunch believer in the fundamental right to give birth. She took a leap of faith to make her belief a reality and founded the Reproductive Medicine Clinic, BACC Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. after her return from the United Kingdom. BACC has become one of India’s leading fertility chains and has been rechristened ‘Milann’. Milann has grown to be a leading brand synonymous with unmatched quality when it comes to medical expertise, patient care and success rates.
The establishment of Milann allowed Dr. Kamini Rao to begin her work in full. She pioneered the Semen intra Fallopian Transfer (SIFT) technique in 1991, which led to India’s first SIFT baby on March 3, 1991. Understanding the important role played by the semen in human reproduction, Dr. Kamini Rao set up the first Sperm and Cryo bank in South India. Incidentally, the first Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) baby in South India was also the result of her hard work. Dr. Kamini Rao’s life can be aptly described as a series of many firsts. She had a hand in South India’s first Laser Assisted Hatching baby too.
Dr. Kamini Rao’s work is the perfect example of how science can be a blessing for mankind, if applied in constructive ways. Despite the thousands of couples, if not millions, who have benefitted from her work, Dr. Kamini Rao is still determined to reach out to more people. For her, the next challenge is to bring the magic of Assisted Reproduction to the smaller towns and cities.