A burst of energy greets you on the other side of the telephone as a vivacious voice captures your attention. A leading fertility expert, Dr. Kamini Rao is definitely much more than her profession. She has been nurturing dreams of hundreds of couples who want to bring a life into this world. Medicine works wonders but there’s a little bit of magic that goes into it as well. Dr. Kamini Rao is that magic factor in the fertility sector.
On being asked what pulled her into the field of infertility, she says, “What impressed me in infertility was that it is a medico-social problem. What remained of infertility was a ‘bedroom’ kind of a problem which was never to be spoken about.” After completing her post graduation in India Dr. Rao moved to UK for higher studies. Post that she could have easily lead a comfortable life there. But comfort is a word that this inspirational woman hardly wants to make acquaintance with. She realized that India needed her in this field much more than UK and just like that, one fine day, she packed her bags and came back to India.
Though the picture so far looks rosy, it wasn’t that easy. People back in India were still not accustomed to the idea of infertility. On being questioned if she faced any difficulties being a woman she immediately quips, “When I came to India, there was a certain curiosity about me. Most of the gynaecologists or obstetricians are women so I never faced any difficulty that way. My strength was in my knowledge.”She didn’t want any competition; all she wanted was to create successes which would gain the right attention.
Dr. Kamini Rao on revolutionizing healthcare
Dr. Kamini Rao’s take on health education is one that has much scope for implementation. She talks about the importance of teaching health and hygiene to children right when they are in school. Most girls are clueless when their menstruation cycles begin. She believes that the stigma associated with genital hygiene should fade. Even in the workplace, we hardly find counselors who could help women, especially those who are pregnant. This brings us to the fact that healthcare needs to be more care oriented today.
A Padmashree awardee, Dr Rao strongly advocates for a mindset shift when it comes to women and how we take care of them. Productivity isn’t something that should be on the balance sheet alone. Talking about infertility, she explains, “I would be the last person who will ask you to find a partner just because your biological clock is ticking. I would suggest them with alternatives like freezing their eggs or embryos which will help them go ahead with their career, find the right partner and then have a baby.”
She chirps, “Finely balancing family and work is an art that only women have. She is able to cope with so many difficulties because she has the patience to raise children.” She also iterates that motherhood shouldn’t be a road block or a dead end, it should be an empowerment. As the baby grows year after year, the mother is also growing older. Women shouldn’t be sidelined because of motherhood.
Medical technology today offers so many ways and solutions to women’s problems. Reproduction, as Dr. Rao puts it, is the beginning of a productive life. Cultural shifts take time, but it is also necessary. With people like Dr. Rao holding up the flag for change, we can definitely hope to see its fruition.