Interview: Dr. Pramod Kumar Sharma

Interview: Dr. Pramod Kumar Sharma

A well-known name in the field of infertility treatment is Dr. P.K Sharma, Director of Pratiksha Hospital, Guwahati. Dr. Sharma did his MD in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Guwahati Medical College in 1991. He was motivated to pursue infertility medicine because advanced treatments in IVF were not available in the North East region. Extremely dedicated to the cause, he turned down an opportunity to practice in a well-renowned hospital in Australia, where he was doing a fellowship.

In a chat with IVFGurus, Dr. P.K Sharma shared some insight into his practice. Here are excerpts from the interview:

IVFGurus: What exactly prompted you to enter into the IVF field of medicine in 1997?

Dr. Sharma: While studying, I developed keen interest in infertility treatment and went to one of the best colleges in the world in Melbourne. There, I realized  the world is already exposed to good infrastructure and medical facilities of IVF treatment, so why not start this in my own country, and serve the society through this.

IVFGurus: How did you prepare for the new field of medicine? What training did you undertake?

Dr. Sharma: After my MD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from Guwahati Medical College in 1991, in 1995 I went to Melbourne, Australia, for a fellowship in minimal invasive surgery in IVF in Royal Women hospital. There I got rigorous training and the opportunity to learn about IVF thoroughly. In between, I worked in a charitable hospital and a corporate hospital, which added a lot to my skill.

IVFGurus: You were offered a job during your fellowship at Royal Women hospital in Australia, which you turned down? Why did you decide not to pursue the opportunity?

Dr. Sharma: At that time, Australia had one of the best treatment options in infertility. They were already developed and ahead of many other countries. That made me think, why should I opt for the place which is already established and has several experts? So I resolved to come back and serve my place with my world class experience, and help out the people here. At that time, people did not have many good options for the infertility treatment. Now I am running Pratiksha Hospital, which is successfully serving the motto of helping people.

IVFGurus: In your long stint in assisted reproduction techniques, how many IVFs have you handled?

Dr. Sharma: It’s such a long time that it’s hard to keep records, but if I talk on a yearly basis in Pratiksha, we do approximately 1,500 cycles per year. That is more that the number any clinic handles across the world. Even clinics based in European countries have an average of 100 cycles per year.

IVFGurus: Do you recall any particular case that was critical, and whose results you were proud of?

Dr. Sharma: I came across so many cases, it is hard to mark any one as a favourite. One very proud moment for me was when I did my first testicular sperm aspiration as it is very complicated and a difficult procedure, and so it is still fresh in my mind as one of the proudest moment. The other case I would like to share is about an American couple who came to me with three failed IVF cycles. With our effort, in the very first IVF cycle, they conceived and not only that after that they had a normal second pregnancy as well.

IVFGurus: Infrastructure is a very important part of any good clinic, what all facilities does Pratiksha offers?

Dr. Sharma: We provide world class infrastructure in Pratiksha. We have five in-house scientists who completed their education from universities like Harvard and Oxford, and have worked in different parts of the world, and came to India to provide their services. Similarly, we have six to seven clinicians who are trained on a regular basis; they are updated with new ways of doing IVF tasks. We are not just a hospital, we are trainers as well. People from gulf countries, Europe come for training in Pratiksha because of the exposure they get here.

IVFGurus: As Pratiksha is operational in Guwahati, maximum patient footfall must be from North East India. Do you see patients from other parts of the country or abroad as well?

Dr. Sharma: Pratikhsha is located in Guwahati which has little geographical constrains. However, our patients not only come from across India, but also from across the globe. In fact, because of its location people prefer coming here more as it’s a very beautiful place for vacation and along with it they get their treatment done.

IVFGurus: How many cases of IVF can be handled in a day at your clinic?

Dr. Sharma: Generally clinics have only one incubator; but we have seven of them and per day we are performing 10 to 15 IVF tasks.

IVFGurus: You are a part of many elite conferences and associations like the National Congress on ART Kolkata. Can you tell us a little bit about your association with them?

Dr. Sharma: Yes, I chaired a conference at the National Congress on ART in Kolkata in 1997 and was a Guest Speaker at the International Congress on Fallopian Tube & Hysterectomy in Mumbai in February 1998 along with Fertility and Sterility Society of Bangladesh (FSSB) in Dhaka in 2009.

IVFGurus: Equipment is an integral part of any IVF facility. What equipment and technology does Pratiksha have?

Dr. Sharma: We have world class equipments. In IVF equipments, incubator is considered to be most essential and we have installed the most modern incubator launched at the European conference in 2015. This is a smart machine which controls the internal conditions just like a mother’s womb, without much external control. So, one can analyze that what we are offering world class services.

IVFGurus: If any patient asks, why he or she should visit to your clinic, what will be your answer?

Dr. Sharma: Three reasons: 100% percent transparency, cost effectiveness, and our success rate is 45 % to 48% for the last five years, and we are maintaining this rate.

IVFGurus: Last question, on behalf of all people looking forward to IVF, is IVF hard to go through?

Dr. Sharma: People these days are educated and open to new things that solve half of the problem. With time, many things got simplified like protocols, and mental blocks have been removed, so I would say infertility is just another problem like any other disease. We have IVF for this, so it is not tough anymore.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and facts expressed by the respondents are expressly their own. Users are suggested to validate all facts before making treatment decisions.