Dr ML Goenka is today the Director of Institute of Human Reproduction, Guwahati and Kolkata. He started the first IVF Centre in North East India at Guwahati and has so far delivered more than 5000 test tube babies.
The biggest difficulty in setting up the centre was in procurement and delivery of right kind of equipment. He had to frequently travel abroad to get what he needed. The area of infertility treatment was at a very nascent stage at that time. In 1980 he went to Bombay to learn laparoscopy and hysteroscopy, in 1984 he went to San Francisco, USA to learn microsurgery and in 1987 to Germany for advanced laparoscopic surgery. In 1989 he realized that IVF was now essential, since they were already doing laparoscopic surgeries, IUI etc. Without IVF a lot of patients would not get the relief they wanted. Then he went to the famed Bourn Hall Clinic in UK. After that he met Dr. Robert Janson of Sydney IVF in Bombay at one of the conferences. Dr Goenka went to Sydney IVF, stayed there for three months. After returning from Sydney he started first IVF centre of North-East India in 1990. His first test tube baby was born in 1992. The patient was 52 years old, and was the eldest lady to conceive at that time which gave them a lot of press coverage and their name was introduced in the Limca Book of Records and remained there for three years for this feat.
Dr Goenka had to struggle for two years to set up his centre. He says that today if one wants to start an IVF centre this can be done in a month’s time which was not the case earlier. Culture media were difficult to get. There was shortage of qualified people and you had to go from country to country to get the technical knowhow which a lot of people were not willing to share with you and you had to fight every step of the way. Most of the basic media were prepared in house. At present also many media are prepared at IHR with strict quality control. It was with his meticulous planning that he has been able to achieve financial strength to procure the latest equipment and technology as per requirement.
He had been born and brought up in Guwahati and had an established medical practice. Thus, Guwahati was the obvious choice to start his IVF centre. The Kolkata centre was started in 2007 after he realized that it was easy for overseas patients to come there as compared to Guwahati. He says he has planned his growth and revenues in such a way that he never had to face any kind of a financial crunch. All the treatments are available at both centers but in Kolkata, they do a lot of surrogacy.
Dr Goenka was Executive member of Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction (ISAR) and has been a Member of international advisory committee for 11th and 12th World congress on IVF at Sydney and Buenos Aires in 1999 and 2002. He has also trained more than 200 doctors in IVF / ICSI / IUI and laparoscopy
He has been guest speaker at many national and international conferences.He has published many papers in national and international Journals.
He trained under his father Late Prof Dr. Amal Chatterjee who was HOD of Gynecology at R G Kar Medical College. During his progressive years he trained under some of the pioneering doctors in the field of Infertility in Bengal. Later on he also received training from Bridge Fertility Clinic, London, which gave him an opportunity to interact with leading infertility specialist in this field overseas and helped him gain in-depth experience in the treatment and management of infertile patients.
Some of the achievements in ART need special mention:
1. 2003 Pregnancy following TESA/ICSI & FET after 27 months of Cryopreservation of Embryo in a couple of oligo astheno spermia & polycystic ovaries.
2. 2008- Twin Pregnancy by FET after vitrification & Blastocysts transfer in a 42 year lady with donor oocyte (1st time in Eastern India)
3. 2009 – Pregnancy following FET in a 34 year old woman of premature ovarian failure, which lead to early menopause (The Embryo was cryopreserved for 8 years)
4. 2010- Pregnancy on a patient of 53 year old menopausal lady (by donated oocyte).
5. 2011 Pregnancy on a patient of 38yrs following IUI who has lost her16yrs son of Blood Cancer.
6. 2012 Pregnancy on a patient of 39yrs following ICSI who has lost her 17yrs daughter following Brain Tumor. (By donated oocyte)
7. 2013 pregnancy on a patient of 30yrs following IVF with unilateral Mullerian Agencies. (Left fallopian tube not developed, left ovary streak gonad)
During his career spanning 25 years, he has witnessed dramatic advancements and introduction of new treatment options that have changed the pace of Artificial Reproductive Technology. Now having a baby is no longer a distant dream for parents, who need not wait for years to conceive.
For her, every patient is a challenge and she aims at success in every case. “Regardless of apparent similarities, each case is unique and we have to devise a different plan of action in every case.” She finds IVF/ICSI very interesting and would like to achieve 100 per cent success every time.
She has performed more than 8000 IVF/ICSI procedures which is a great achievement in this field. She has attended several workshops and conferences in the area of Seminology, IUI, sperm banking, semen analysis, and has acquired hands-on training in Andrology and Embryology. She is known widely for her competence in areas of IVF laboratory routines, Quality Control.
The role of an embryologist in the success rate of an infertility procedure, in her opinion, is crucial. “An embryologist has a very responsible job and a simple error on her part will impact the life of the patient. We have to give our 100 percent; we have to be fully alert and completely dedicated to our work.” Dealing with an embryo is a delicate task and absolutely no chances can be taken in terms of handling, quality and the attention to detail. Listening to her, one marvels at her constant excitement and hope in connection with her discipline.
She is very positive about the future of embryology and believes that great advancements will happen in this field in the near future. She feels advancement in genetics will help a lot in improving IVF success rate.
“Screening of embryos will need a lot of skill and patience, miscarriages will be reduced and we will have to be equipped for all situations through continuous learning,” she predicts. But there always be people like her who are dedicated, deeply involved in the subject and follow strict discipline in doing their job that will maintain the importance of embryology in the area of human reproduction and fertility sciences.
She micro-manages every aspect of the business to maximize the efficiency and output of in each and every domain of IHR Kolkata’s operations. She is dedicated to giving physicians and Patients the best services and results from IHR. She has a vision to make IHR one of the best go-to centers for foreign nationals seeking Surrogacy in India. She has taken up IHR’s Surrogate Care Services under her wing and looks after management of SURRO-SEVICES to ensure the surrogates have a healthy and stress free stay.
She believes that maintaining the best quality standards in every sub-level will reflect in the total quality and output of the Institutional services be it Infrastructure, Treatment Processes, Patient Welfare services, Success rates, Diagnostic services and Customer relations. Therefore a great attention is given even to the minutes of details.