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For me, helping childless couples is a calling

Effects

Dr. Abayomi Ajayi…, Fertility Specialist

Most people believe gynaecologists are womanisers

BY CHRISTY ANYANWU

Fertility specialist, Dr Abayomi Ajayi is pleasant person to engage in an interview.  At his office in Norman Williams Street, Ikoyi, the Managing Director of Nordica Fertility Centre was full excitement as he responded to questions from this journalist.  Meanwhile, one thing that struck one while the interaction lasted was his passion for his profession. Ajayi pioneered the Intracytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Injection (IMSI) in Nigeria even as his clinic specialises in In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). These are viable alternatives for couples incapable of natural reproduction method, in addition to treatment of diseases affecting the reproductive system . Talking to Effects, he narrated his journey into the world of gynaecology, his lifestyle, and others.  At what point did you decide to go into taking care of fertility issues. Did you experience childlessness at any point?
Some people are naturally cut out for some things. That’s why I said it’s a calling. From my days in medical school,  I realised the only thing I could do was to be a gynaecologist. Somebody saw me when I was a youth corps member and she ten years later,  she told me I must be a gynaecologist. I replied him yes I was. I asked her, why did you say so? She said it was because she felt I wouldn’t have done any other thing because I was always talking about fertility issues, yet I didn’t know that. In the course of my training,  I got sucked in with infertility. Childless couples were the most helpless people in the sense that the treatment we had for them then, could not help them at all. You see people that are accomplished in every other field but don’t have no children. You could immagine what they subject themselves to, because they don’t have children. I said to myself, whatever it would take to assist these people one needs to do it. That probably was one thing, I think I like, fighting for people who are down trodden; people who seem to have the short end of the stick. Meanwhile, they don’t have to ask me before I help them. For me, I think its just natural to do something about infertility.

What are general misconceptions of fertility doctors?
Common misconception? I don’t know. I think people think if you are a gynecologist, you must be a ladies man. I’m not. I’m just me. Sometimes, they say the cloak does not make the monk. If you look sometimes, you might be mistaken. I’m just me. (Laughter) lets put it that way.

What makes differentiates your clinic from other fertility clinics?
What I would say is that, it’s a calling. For me, what I’m doing is not a business per se. It is business but not one per se.  Passion is involved  and I can’t see myself doing any other thing. I could not have done any other thing. It’s a calling. Everything I have, everything I have got, I put into the job. On a daily basis, I’m always  asking, how can we make this job better. Not from the point of view of making money but from the point of view of how we can improve the society we are in from my own point of view. What are the things  required to make the sector better? For example, I’ve just finished discussing on a fertility school now before you walked in. I’m not going to make money from it. It’s not about money-making.  Everything is not money, money, money. But when you make impact on the lives of one person, or a few people, I think that is the most important way that you can make the difference. I know some people whose practices have changed from attending some of the courses that we have done. (They are related to fertility) There’s no training institution for most of the things we do in Nigeria. So, when you acquire the knowledge from somewhere, you could share it with your people if you are magnanimous. But what people do in Nigeria is when they acquire knowledge, they hoard it.

You mean that you have not hidden your own knowledge
Why should you? I keep telling people that if 200 million people come to only one person, the person would die. That’s the difference between us and people in advanced countries. You don’t even know who can make your idea better. Were you born with this idea? Somebody thought about it and passed it on so that our profession and the society can be better. The bible says iron sharpeth iron and a candle does not lose anything by lighting another candle.

Looking back at your days in school, can you recall any memorable lifestyle?
I loved to attend parties. I still like parties but I choose the parties I go to now. However,  in those days, I was a man about town. I attended Unilag. But those days were better. Life was safe. I still love dancing.

What is your best music genre?
My best music is rap. There’s no music I don’t listen to anyway.

What has life taught you as a person?
Enjoying the moment. You might be here today; the next day you are no more. It depends on what you call enjoyment. I told someone, whatever blows your airbag, go on.  But you must be careful that what blows your airbag is not something that can send you to your early grave.

If you had not gone into medical practice, what would you have become?
I couldn’t have been anything else. As a child, I wanted to be an aeronautic engineer. I was just fascinated by planes. I didn’t want to be a pilot, flying planes. I wanted to be able to fix airplanes it as a child.  But after a while, I changed. I asked myself, why wasn’t I fixing human beings instead of airplanes. That was how I became a doctor and since then, I have not looked back. When I was writing my JAMB, it was medicine, medicine, and medicine.

You are really stylish?  
I thank God for that.

What informs your kind of dressing?
I know how to get my things together. I think people are just wired differently. I like dressing. I wear my suits to work except on Fridays. I dress down to work on Fridays. I won’t be caught dressing bad even if I’m dead.

Are you a designer freak?
I just love good things. I don’t know whether they are designers or not. You don’t need to tell me what would fit me. Once I see an outfit, I looked at it I knew it would sit well on my body. I don’t care about labels. I wear native outfits on Sundays. You can’t make me wear English outfits on Sundays.

How is it, working with your wife in the same hospital?
There’s nothing bad. When I don’t have anything to hide.  Although, things can be challenging.

You work together since inception?
No. We have been working together for about 10 years.

What do you mean by challenging?
Sometimes, it’s difficult to define roles. When you want to shout you remember she’s your wife and you control yourself.

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