Seminar on natural approach to infertility highlights NFP awareness week in diocese

Dr. Anne Nolte presents “Natural Reproductive Technology: A Restorative Approach” July 26 at DeSales University, Center Valley. (Photos by John Simitz)

By TAMI QUIGLEY Staff writer

A seminar on the natural approach to infertility highlighted National Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week in the diocese during a July 26 presentation at DeSales University, Center Valley.

Dr. Anne Nolte presented “Natural Reproductive Technology: A Restorative Approach to Infertility” in the Gambet Center auditorium. Dr. Nolte is a board-certified family physician with a private practice in New York City.

Nolte is co-founder of the National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility in New York City, and a certified FertilityCare medical consultant, having completed her training at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Medical professionals and all lay faithful were invited to attend the evening session focused on the medical breakthroughs in natural systems of fertility care.

Robert Olney, coordinator of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Natural Family Planning welcomed those gathered to hear about a restorative approach to infertility. Those attending included Mary Fran Hartigan, secretary of the diocesan Secretariat for Catholic Life and Evangelization.

The seminar was offered during NFP Awareness Week, July 23-29. This year’s theme is “It’s Time. Say ‘Yes’ to God’s Plan for Married Love.”

Natural Reproductive Technology (NaProTechnology) uses the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS) to allow a woman to monitor easily and objectively several different biological markers (biomarkers), which are essential to understanding heath and fertility.

The CrMS biomarkers are generally familiar to women, including such things as the menstrual flow and its variations, mucus flow and dry days. These are recorded by the woman in a standardized and objective process called NaProTracking. Since the CrMS biomarkers reflect various hormone events of the menstrual and fertility cycles, monitoring the biomarkers indicates times of fertility and infertility and telegraphs abnormalities in a woman’s health.

Nolte said fertility depends on healthy sperm, healthy eggs, good cervical mucus present at the proper time in a woman’s fertility cycle, normal reproductive hormones throughout the menstrual cycle, and properly timed intercourse.

Nolte said NaPro looks at patterns in a woman’s cycle. “We use the Creighton Model Chart in NFP, which is highly effective in avoiding pregnancy.”

She said the evaluation of a patient begins with signs and symptoms of such things as infertility and miscarriage. Nolte spoke of a patient who came to her after having five miscarriages. Nolte looked at her signs and symptoms and determined the woman needed progesterone – she has now had two successful pregnancies.

“It’s so simple if a woman knows what’s happening in her body.”

Nolte said the modern medical approach askes, “Is ovulation occurring?” but NaPro asks, “Is ovulation occurring normally?”

“There are five abnormal patterns of ovulation that can be corrected if we know about it.”

Nolte said pelvic reconstructive surgery performed by NaPro surgeons includes the surgical treatment of endometriosis. In NaPro treatment, “The Creighton Model serves as a guide for when a woman should take her medication to correct the reason she is having difficulty conceiving.” For example, medication to improve ovulation is timed to when a woman’s body is showing the signs that ovulation is approaching.

Nolte said with NaPro, fertility depends on normal ovulation; normal uterus, tubes and ovaries; absence or removal of endometriosis; and absence of infection and inflammation.

“NaProTechnology in infertility is as effective, if not more effective, than In Vitro Fertilization (IVF),” Nolte said. “Couples tell us they appreciate they got a diagnosis.” NaPro also offers definitive treatment for correctable disorders, conception through intercourse not intervention, and no dilemma about what to do with “left over embryos” and very low risk of multiple births.

“If a couple cannot conceive we will work with them to explore adoption or foster care to grow their family,” Nolte said.

She said with IVF there is a 25 percent change of miscarriage after detecting a heartbeat; with NaPro there is a five to eight percent chance. And while IVF costs $12,400 per cycle, NaPro – if no surgery is needed with 18 months of treatment – costs less.

“And, the restorative approach can be done by your family doctor, Ob-Gyn or nurse practitioner,” she said.

“We want to educate and empower the patient.”

Nolte said the Creighton Model is 99.5 percent effective to avoid pregnancy, and 98 percent of couples without infertility issues will conceive by six months from the time of intercourse using the model.

The seminar has been submitted to Pennsylvania State Nurses Association for approval to award contact hours. PSNA is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

For more information regarding contact hours, call Dr. Carol Mest, 610-282-1100, ext. 1394.

Free NFP introductory sessions are slated in the Diocese of Allentown: Tuesday, Aug. 8, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Holy Family Manor (HFM), Bethlehem; Saturday, Aug. 19, 12 to 2:30 p.m., St. Michael Parish Center, Northampton; Saturday, Sept. 23, 12 to 2:30 p.m., St. Patrick, Pottsville; and Saturday, Oct. 14, 12 to 2:30 p.m., St. Michael Parish Center, Northampton.

Also, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Berks Catholic High School, Reading; Sunday, Nov. 19, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., McGlinn Conference Center, Reading; and Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6:30 to 9 p.m., HFM.

Pre-registration is required. Call 610-289-8900 ext. 2028 or email mflf@allentowndiocese.org.