[an error occurred while processing this directive] Encyclical Humanae Vitae :: 40th Annyversary :: Pope Paul VI
To help our readers celebrate in the 40th anniversary of the visionary document Humanae Vitae, CNA is offering resources to help deepen your understanding of the letter. The complete document can be found here:
Encyclical Humanae Vitae. By Pope Paul VI. July 25, 1968
A Catholic physician speaks about the Ovulation Method

Several years ago while attending South Alabama's College of Medicine, my father sent me an unusual book, a book that described "how to" avoid or achieve pregnancy without having to resort to pills, devices, chemicals or blood tests -- not even a thermometer! After I began my practice as an obstetrician/gynecologist in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area, I discovered that many patients were truly disturbed by the side effects of the pill. Many were adamant about not being subjected to them any longed Even barriers had side-effects which my patents disliked. They were looking for another choice. Other patients were distraught about their inability to conceive. Did they need an extensive round of fertility tests?

I returned to the curious book that my father had given me. It provided fresh insights into every woman's natural fertility cycle that I had never received as a medical student or even a resident in gynecology. Love and Fertility explains the "Ovulation Method." This method works by teaching each woman how to read her own "body language" by careful daily observations of the symptoms of fertility. Irregular cycles, breastfeeding infections, medications and illnesses do affect a woman's physiology, but this method enables most women to confidently identify the fertile and infertile phases in each cycle.

During my first meeting with a patient, I possibly may loan her the Love and Fertility book, and the video to watch at home. I always encourage her to share this with her husband and then return for a follow-up visit. Women return with intelligent questions based on the observations they have made of their own bodies. Most are shocked, as well as grateful, to discover that the truth is so simple. A considerable number of women know from experience the damage that artificial methods have done to their bodies and marriages. Some have experienced serious, or even life-threatening, effects such as stroke, heart attack, or embolism from steroids prescribed to them for contraceptive purposes. Some worry about cancer. No risk, no weight gain, no irregular bleeding, no headaches, no mood changes, no expense, no mess--for many women who resent the inequality of the family planning equation, the Ovulation Method is a welcome change. Abstinence is very much a part of this method, but for the woman who is fed up with the oppression and nuisance of other methods, a few days of abstinence are accepted and welcomed as part of holistic good health.

Other women use the method to maximize their chances of conceiving. The average woman is only fertile about 100 hours each month. Not infrequently, a woman may fail to conceive because her fertile period is much shorter than this, perhaps only a few hours. If her husband has a low sperm count, this reduces the length of the fertile period, too. No intrusive and expensive fertility tests may be necessary if she understands how her body works. In the same way, a woman who knows her own body will recognize abnormal patterns very quickly and seek medical attention for problems that might become more serious if neglected.

The Ovulation Method truly enables a woman to live in harmony with nature. Fertility becomes a process to be understood rather than a disease to be treated. The method puts equal responsibility where it belongs, on the man and the woman. It does require communication and cooperation, but isn't that what marriage is all about?

John Bruchalski, MD
Director, Tepeyac Family Center

For more information about the Ovulation Method, contact Family of the Americas Foundation, PO Box 1170, Dunkirk, MD 20754-1170, 1-800-443-3395, 301-627-3346. The Family of the Americas' Love and book, video and chart have been translated into 21 languages and are used worldwide in more than 100 countries. The Ovulation Method is used by 50 million people.

Printed with permission from Priests for Life.