HOPE in their hands

One of India's leading fertility experts and pioneer in the field of assisted reproduction, Padmashri Dr Kamini Rao brings her expertise to the city offering help to couples dreaming of having a baby

THEIR life was perfect. Prashant K (name changed to protect privacy) was a high profile manager working with a MNC and his wife, Renu (name changed) was a kindergarten teacher in a leading private school. Married for over a decade - it was a love marriage - Renu came from a Punjabi family while her husband was a Brahmin Hindu. Excelling in their respective fields, the two had their own apartment in a posh neighbourhood, had an active social life and they never missed an annual holiday overseas. But, the couple who lived a hectic and fast paced life were yet to start a family. Everything seemed normal but Renu just couldn't conceive. According to Padmashri Dr Kamini Rao, one of India's leading fertility experts and pioneer in the field of assisted reproduction, infertility is increasing all over the world and the problem in Chandigarh is no different. The World Health Organisation states that infertility affects 8 to 12 percent couples (50-80 million) across the world during their reproductive lives.

The incidence of infertility has increased and as Dr Rao points out there are many reasons for it like socio-economic issues, pollution, delayed marriage and also stress levels, diabetes, hypertension, etc. "This has become a co-morbid situation, not just in Chandigarh but all over," says Dr Rao who has recently opened doors to her first Milann Fertility Center in Chandigarh. Situated in Sector 46 A, the healthcare facility brings to Chandigarh the latest technology in the field, offering renewed hope to couples dreaming of having a baby. The facility offers various services related to women's health and fertility care including counselling, IVF, IUI, ICSI, endoscopy, donor programmes, ultra-so-nography, pathology, investigations and andrology. Dr Rao is also now spearheading work in the area of uterus transplant in India, claimed to be a unique surgery in the whole of Asia. A uterus transplant gives women, who are born without a uterus or have lost it to a disease, a chance to have babies. In a uterus transplant, surgeons implant the uterus harvested from a living or cadaver donor into a patient who lacks a functional womb. "For now, the cases that are appropriate can be brought down to Ben-galuru. Very soon, the Milann center in Chandigarh will also be eligible to carry out uterus transplantation," said Dr Rao. Established by her in 1989, Milann has been a pioneer in the field of assisted reproduction and has helped thousands of couples from India and abroad.

Along with 27 years of experience and robust clinical expertise in fertility treatment, Milann's mission is to turn hope into happiness. Headquartered in Bengaluru, Milann has five hospitals in the state and one in New Delhi. The Center has been awarded as 'India's Best Fertility& IVF Center, 2016' by Praxis Media and also been 'Ranked No.l Fertility Center in India' by Times Health Survey 2016.

"With state-of-the-art IVF lab and the best experts in the field of fertility treatment, the Center in Chandigarh will provide adequate care and treatment for assisted reproduction to the couples. We plan to expand our footprints across the country," said Jasdeep Singh, CEO, Milann - The Fertility Center. We asked Dr Rao on what made her choose Chandigarh and she said, "Delhi and Chandigarh were our main focus in the North due to the kind of mixed population we find there. Also, as per our internal research, the IVF facilities in these cities are not yet very well developed. These cities have regular instances of complicated cases, and we realized Milann with its legacy, expertise and state-of-the-art facilities will be able to provide the quality of treatment which is required for couples. The team in Chandigarh regularly work with me and we successfully manage even the most complicated cases."

Incidentally, the Milann center in Chandigarh is not a routine services center. It is also a training-and-teaching center which opens the opportunity to other doctors and students from medical colleges around to come and learn as well as study for fellowship in reproductive medicine. Milann is recognized by the national board, state board and also four other universities for PHD. When it comes to facilities on offer, which are not available with potential competitors, Dr Rao informed, "Pre-im-plantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and Pre-implantation genetic disorder (PGS) is one of the unique and cutting edge facility that we are providing. We are going to look at the genetic disorders in the embryo before implanting it in the woman. For example, for couples who might have chances of having children with hemophilia or chromosomal abnormalities, we will be able to identify the normal embryo for transfer and this will prevent the defective embryo from being transferred."