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Uncommon encounter: I never knew my lecturer was the man who performed the surgery on my mum that made my birth possible

Written by Chinelo Obogo
~The SUN Nigeria. Monday, August 15, 2016.

...As medical student meets surgeon who enabled his mum conceive

• I never knew my lecturer was the man who did a surgery on my mum's blocked womb. The surgery led to my birth, he says.

On November 15, 2015, Professor Godwin Ajayi, a consultant gynaecologist/obstetrician and fertility expert at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) had just concluded lecturing final year medical students at the College of Medicine, Idi-Araba, Lagos. Then he got the surprise of his life.

One of his students, 23-year-old Oluwatosin Akinduro, walked up to the professor after the lecture. He wanted to thank Ajayi for a favour he said the lecturer had done in the past.

"I was very impatient and thought that Oluwatosin only wanted to ask me to help influence his posting for housemanship. I immediately told him that I was in a hurry, and that he should write down what it was and bring it to my office," Ajayi, who also runs a prenatal diagnosis and therapy centre at the College of Medicine, said.

Oluwatosin did as he was told. He wrote the letter and dropped it at the professor's office. Ajayi told the reporter that after reading the letter, tears fell from his eyes.

It turned out that back in 1992, he (Ajayi), had performed a delicate corrective micro tubal surgery on a woman, who, for 11 years, was trying to conceive. The surgery, which is usually performed on damaged fallopian tubes, enabled the woman to conceive naturally shortly after. The woman was Mrs. Oluwemimo Akinduro. And Oluwatosin was the child that was conceived after the surgery.

Ajayi said he recalled who Oluwatosin's mother was and the circumstances that led to his birth. "I put a face to the name because I have carried out micro tubal surgeries on many women over the years, and most of them had gone on to conceive naturally.

"When I read it, I was moved to tears. In my over 30 years of practice, I had never heard of such a thing and I do not know nor have I heard of anyone this had happened to.

"I was really touched that after 23 years, this young man, whose mother was my patient in 1992, had the courtesy to walk up to me to say thank you for taking care of his mother. That singular gesture is one of the things that give me fulfilment and make me know that I am in the right profession. I was so touched by his gratitude that I made copies of the letter he wrote to me and put in the pigeon holes of all my colleagues."

When Daily Sun spoke with Tosin, he said although his mum had told him about the circumstances that led to his birth, it was not until his final year that he met Prof Ajayi personally.

"I just graduated this year from the College of Medicine, but as students, we were usually posted to all departments within the hospital. When I was posted to the gynaecology department, Prof. Ajayi was one of those that lectured us. I had already known him by name long before now because my mum had told me that she was his patient back in 1992 when she had bilateral tubal blockage. He carried out a micro tubal surgery on her and it was successful, because it was after the surgery that she conceived me.

"Before she had me, it took her 11 years after she had my elder brother to conceive me. She told me she was under Prof Ajayi's care because she was a high risk patient, as she was already 39 years old then. She told me that at three months, she started having abdominal pains and was to be admitted in the hospital. But because she was working, there was no way she could have left her job. Coincidentally, the day after she was told that she would need to be admitted, there was a nationwide doctor's strike, but Prof Ajayi was still monitoring her till she delivered me. "What my mum told me was part of what informed Amy decision to study medicine because I wanted to be someone who would save lives and put smiles on people's faces.

"It was after my first class with him last November, that I decided to introduce myself to him. I went to thank him for the surgery he carried out on my mum 23 years ago, that enabled her to conceive me, but he did not understand what I was saying, so he told me to write down what I intended telling him."

The letter Oluwatosin wrote, dated November 17, 2015, reads:

"My name is Akinduro Oluwatosin. I was in the class you just taught now and I am now in my final year. My mother was your patient about 23 years ago in the early 90's. She was 38 years old and had been looking for a child since 1981 when she had my big brother.

"Her tubes were blocked and you performed the surgery. She got pregnant in 1992 and I was born on the 15th of January 1993. My big brother went on to become a doctor and I am currently in my final year. I just want to say thank you for everything."

When Daily Sun spoke to Tosin's mother, she corroborated his story. She explained that Prof Ajayi carried out a tubal surgery on her because both of her tubes were blocked, adding that she conceived shortly after.

"I conceived Oluwatosin naturally after Prof Ajayi carried out a surgery on my fallopian tubes and I made it a point of duty to tell him about the doctor whom God used to make his conception possible," she said.

Giving an insight into the intricacies of the corrective surgery, Prof Ajayi said that tubal microsurgery, which is a subspecialty of surgery, refers to the repair of damaged fallopian tubes.

In an article he published in the African Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, he explained that female infertility results commonly from the pathology of the fallopian tubes, and that obstructions in the tube are usually as a result of genital infections, postoperative adhesions or previous tubal surgery. Today, tubal infertility can be managed by surgical intervention or assisted reproduction techniques.

"Since 1986, the microsurgical management of tubal problem was started at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of College of Medicine of the University of Lagos by me. Also, between July 15, 1986 and October 31, 1991, a total of 89 microsurgical tubal repairs for different tubal diseases were performed at LUTH. Five patients underwent laparatomy for repair of bilateral tubal blockage and ectopic pregnancies and fibrin glue was used. After repair of the fallopian tubes using fibrin glue, three out of the five patients who were between the ages of 23 and 32 years were pregnant. No side effects were recorded after surgery.

"Micro surgery remains an important operative technique for the management of tubal obstruction. It is the only alternative for women with tubal factor infertility. The chances of success would depend on the extent of the tubal damage and also the skill of the surgeon."

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