Omaha physician travels overseas to train doctors in natural reproductive technology
By Lisa Maxson

.- During a recent trip to Nigeria and Poland, a local doctor witnessed enthusiasm for the natural reproductive technology he created in Omaha. Dr. Thomas Hilgers, an obstetrician/gynecologist and director of the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, traveled to Lagos, Africa, and Lublin, Poland, in September to finish training more than a dozen physicians and medical professionals in NaProTECHNOLOGY. NaproTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) is a women's health science that monitors and maintains a woman's reproductive and gynecological health.

Seven physicians in Lagos and eight in Lublin are now certified to serve as natural family planning medical consultants using the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, which was developed at the Pope Paul VI Institute.

It was the first time the institute took its medical consultant training beyond the U.S. border, although 97 practitioners are active in several foreign countries. These practitioners, however, all traveled to the United States to receive their training.

To date, the institute has trained more than 400 active FertilityCare practitioners.

NaProTECHNOLOGY provides medical and surgical treatments that works completely with the reproductive system.

"There was a lot of enthusiasm in both places," Hilgers said. "The doctors that we graduated in Africa and Poland are so excited about their new training and what they can do with NaProTECHNOLOGY."

The trip was part of an outreach to medical professionals in parts of the world that haven't been exposed to the institute's work. For years, the institute has trained educators from other parts of the world to adopt and teach its programs, including the Creighton Model FertilityCare education programs.

"We embarked on this recent trip because of the inability of doctors in Lagos and Lublin to come to the United States for training," Hilgers said.

The women's science uses the FertilityCare System to monitor the occurrence of hormonal events during the menstrual cycle, and provides information that can be interpreted by a woman and physicians specifically trained in the system.

The science works with the procreative and gynecologic systems. When these systems function abnormally, NaProTECHNOLOGY identifies the problems and works with the menstrual and fertility cycles that correct the condition and sustain the procreative potential.

Hilgers said the visit to Poland was timely because of a debate in the Polish Parliament to make in vitro fertilization illegal. His science is being held as the alternative to the in vitro fertilization program, he said.

"IVF doesn't care what's wrong with you, but NaProTECHNOLOGY does," Hilgers said. "Although there is no cure for infertility yet, there can be a cure and it's important that we find one. The only way we're going to get there is through NaProTECHNOLOGY because we look at the underlying problems and we treat those."

In vitro fertilization is "one great big human experiment" that's been going on for 30 years, said Hilgers, a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine.

"We've had defective babies born as a result of it. We've had millions of embryos destroyed or lost as a result of it, and we have between 4,000 and 5,000 embryos stored in freezers because of it. There's also this move to do embryonic stem cell research and cloning because of it," he said. "We've never had a national debate over it, and I think that's pretty sad."

NaProTECHNOLOGY provides a different way of approaching things, and with it comes a different level of respect, he said.

"There needs to be a national debate on these issues because there are ways to do this that are more effective," Hilgers said. "With NaProTECHNOLOGY, the underlying causes get treated or at least the ones we know about, and that's really important."

Printed with permission from the Catholic Voice, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.

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