“What in the world could have brought you to Omaha?” this is the question posed to me by a curious woman at Chicago O’Hare Airport as I prepared to take my flight back to London, “I’m sure there are livelier places to visit here in the States.”
What in the world could have brought me to the quiet city of Omaha?
Little did she know that in the unassuming city of Omaha, Nebraska, lay a goldmine of untapped knowledge in the field of reproductive medicine, that has not only touched the lives of people in the USA, but thousands worldwide. This hidden gem is the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction.
The Pope Paul VI Institute is the brainchild of the bold and courageous Dr Thomas Hilgers, MD and his wife Sue Hilgers who founded the institute in 1985 as a response to the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae. Pope Paul VI, in this encyclical letter, expressed the Catholic Church’s longstanding tradition on marital life and love and called on “men of science” to direct their research to reproductive healthcare which fully respects life and the dignity of marriage and women. Dr Hilgers, as a young medical student in 1968, felt that the Church was speaking directly to him through this letter and by December of that same year he started his first research project to better understand natural fertility regulation and women’s health care.
The results of years of study and research have been phenomenal. The Pope Paul VI Institute has developed a new and superior approach to women’s reproductive health care which embodies the best principles of medicine and builds up the culture of life in a world which finds its solutions in contraception, sterilisation and abortion.
The Institutes 30+ years of research has seen the development of the highly successful Creighton Model Fertility Care System (CrMS) and NaProTechnology (Natural Procreative Technology) which has reached 14 countries around the world.
NaProTechnology allows a couple to observe certain biological markers to determine when they are naturally fertile and infertile so that they can either avoid or achieve pregnancy. In addition to this, it is a very effective tool in identifying and treating underlying causes of infertility with success rates up to three times higher than In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). It would seem that the current philosophy of reproductive medicine does not seek to treat underlying diseases meaning that millions of women suffer from infertility without ever knowing the reason. Although IVF is by far the most common approach to the treatment of infertility, the women who undergo treatment using IVF would still remain with the underlying diseases which are causing the infertility to begin with.
As well as being used to treat infertility, NaProTechnology helps to obtain proper diagnosis and effective treatment for a range of other health and gynaecological problems and abnormalities such as recurrent miscarriage, premenstrual syndrome, postpartum depression and abnormal bleeding ‒ offering great hope to women.
Another of the unique contributions of NaProTechnology is the empowerment of women that comes with the knowledge and self-awareness of their bodies and their reproductive cycles.
Dr Anne Carus, a NaPro Specialist doctor from Life Fertility Care in Leamington Spa, states: “with NaProTechnology couples cycle charting empowers them through education. We find couples value the active contribution that they are able to make to the diagnostic and treatment process. NaProTechnology provides an individualised medical support. Our annual audit indicates that 89% of our clients would have found it helpful to receive information about NaProTechnology from their GP practice. Couples find it difficult to find real support to natural conception within the NHS.”
The research of Dr Thomas Hilgers at a time when it is difficult for many obstetrician-gynecologists to practice their profession without prescribing oral contraceptives, carrying out sterilisations or referring patients for procedures such as IVF ‒is testament to his faith in Christ and commitment to responding to the challenges of Humanae Vitae. It was therefore quite apt that I should find myself travelling to Omaha, at the beginning of the Year of Faith, to witness what can be achieved by the power of faith.
Foir more information see: www.popepaulvi.com/
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