1. What is NaProTechnology™?
NaProTechnology™ stands for “Natural Procreative Technology,” a scientifically-based, ethically-sound approach to treating reproductive health problems, including infertility and recurrent miscarriage.
Unlike assisted reproductive technologies used to treat infertility, such as IVF and IUI in which a woman’s naturally-occurring fertility cycle is “over-stimulated” or “bypassed,” the goal of NaProTechnology™ is to identify the underlying causes of a couple’s infertility and correct them, allowing a couple to conceive through natural intercourse.
Despite the fact that many causes of infertility are correctable, most fertility centers perform only a limited evaluation of the woman’s fertility cycle before suggesting invasive procedures like IVF or IUI.
NaProTechnology™, on the other hand, extensively evaluates the woman’s cycle. Then, treatments are used which work cooperatively with her naturally-occurring cycle to restore health and normal function, thus optimizing the chance for conception through natural intercourse.
2. What steps are involved with the NaProTechnology™ approach?
With the NaProTechnology™ approach, a woman is first taught to identify and understand the signs of her fertility and to use this information to correctly time intercourse to maximize the chance of conception. This is done through a method of charting the fertility cycle called the Creighton Model FertilityCare Charting System™.
Next, a NaProTechnology physician reviews the woman’s Creighton Model Chart for abnormal patterns, which provide clues to why a couple may not be able to conceive.
The Creighton Model Chart is then used to time hormone tests and ultrasounds during the Testing Cycle, which typically occurs after 2 cycles of charting.
Correctly timing these tests is extremely important in the evaluation of infertility. Subtle abnormalities of hormones like estrogen and progesterone can keep a couple from conceiving or lead to miscarriage, and these abnormalities are often missed by the standard infertility work-up. For instance, the standard infertility work-up usually includes testing hormones on days 3 and 22 of the cycle and using this data to “estimate” that a woman’s hormones are normal. However, estrogen changes dramatically on a day-to-day basis around the time of ovulation in the middle of the cycle, and progesterone may be “normal “on day 22, but drop prematurely, putting the patient at risk of a miscarriage.
The NaProTechnology™ approach differs from the standard infertility approach in that hormones are tested approximately 10 times during the Testing Cycle, using the Creighton Chart to guide the timing of the tests. Using this data, a woman’s “Hormone Profile” can be plotted on a graph and subtle hormonal abnormalities identified and corrected.
Similarly, there are several abnormal patterns of ovulation (the process by which the egg is released from the ovary) that are often missed by the standard infertility evaluation. Some women have a follicle that does not mature completely before releasing the egg, a condition called the Immature Follicle Syndrome. Some women have a follicle that matures completely, but never ruptures or releases the egg, becoming a Luteinized Unruptured Follicle. Finally, some women have a follicle that ruptures, but too slowly, an abnormality that like the Unruptured Follicle, prevents the egg from being released.
Ultrasounds are often done as part of the standard fertility work-up to assess the follicle, but few centers confirm that the ovulation occurs normally. In the NaProTechnology™ approach, a series of ultrasounds is performed during the Testing Cycle to confirm that the follicle reaches normal size and that it ruptures normally. This, too, is timed to the woman’s Creighton Model Chart.
During the Testing Cycle, the development of the lining of the womb, the opening of the cervix to receive the sperm, and the quality of the woman’s cervical mucus (which creates swimming channels for the sperm) are simultaneously monitored to ensure that all of the events of the cycle which make conception possible are occurring at the appropriate time and in the appropriate fashion.
Additional testing performed as part of the NaProTechnology™ evaluation includes:
*In some circumstances, a special type of HSG, called a “selective hysterosalpingogram,” is recommended to obtain more detailed information about the condition of the tubes
3. What types of treatments are used in the NaProTechnology™ approach?
With NaProTechnology™, a variety of treatments are used to correct the abnormalities that are identified during the Testing Cycle. Treatments might include dietary changes, vitamin supplements, medications, bio-identical hormones, or surgery (if indicated).
Hormonal deficiencies are typically corrected using Cooperative Hormone Replacement Therapy with bio-identical hormones. Bio-identical hormones are structurally identical to the body’s naturally-occurring hormones, unlike standard hormone replacement therapy and hormonal contraceptives which are not. Treatment is again timed to the woman’s naturally-occurring cycle, using the Creighton Model Chart as a guide. Hormone levels and the patterns in the woman’s Creighton Model Chart are monitored to ensure that normal reproductive function has been restored. With cycles normalized, couples then use the most fertile days for intercourse in order to conceive.
Once pregnancy is achieved, NaProTechnology™ physicians continue to monitor important hormone levels to ensure that they remain adequate to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
It is also important to note that NaProTechnology™ physicians use some of the same medications as other infertility specialists, but typically at much lower doses and for much shorter courses.
Remember, the goal of NaProTechnology™ is not to “hyperstimulate” or “bypass” the woman’s natural cycle, but to provide a gentle “boost” to the natural cycle to restore normal function, a goal accomplished by low doses of some of these medicines.
4. Does NaProTechnology™ treat male infertility?
The focus of the NaProTechnology™ approach is to optimize the functioning of the female reproductive system to maximize the chance of natural conception and reduce the risk of miscarriage. By optimizing the function of the woman’s reproductive system, even couples with low sperm counts are often able to conceive.
When a severe male factor is present, NaProTechnology™ physicians work closely with other physicians who specialize in correcting the underlying causes of male factor infertility to optimize the man’s reproductive function, even as the woman undergoes evaluation and treatment.
Appropriate referrals and coordination of care with these specialists will be made by the NaProTechnology™ physician at the time of diagnosis of male factor infertility.
5. Does NaProTechnology™ include any assisted reproductive technologies, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF)?
No. The NaProTechnology™ approach follows the guidelines outlined in the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services, thus intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization are not performed.
NaProTechnology™ is a true alternative to these procedures, with comparable effectiveness rates, fewer risks and side effects, and the benefit of helping a couple to conceive through natural intercourse.
6. I’m not Catholic. Can I still go to a Gianna Catholic Healthcare Center for treatment?
The Gianna Centers for Women’s Health and Fertility offer scientifically-based, ethically-sound healthcare to all women, regardless of their faith tradition or religious beliefs. Patients are welcome to share their faith beliefs with the NaProTechnology™ treatment team if they so desire, but this is not required, neither is it “forced” upon them. All patients are treated with the same compassion, respect, and dignity, regardless of their faith beliefs or lack of belief.
The Gianna Centers only offer healthcare which is consistent with Catholic medical ethics as outlined in the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services.
7. Can NaProTechnology™ be used to treat other women’s health conditions?
Yes. The principles of NaProTechnology™ are applied to the treatment of all women’s reproductive conditions. Other conditions for which there are NaProTechnology™ alternatives include:
8. Will I need surgery?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the cells which line the inside of the womb, called endometrial cells, implant abnormally outside of the womb. Just as the lining thickens, bleeds and is shed on a monthly basis, so do these abnormally-implanted cells. When this happens, it creates inflammation which is toxic to the embryo, the egg and the sperm. It can also lead to the formation of scar tissue that can damage the fallopian tubes, ovaries and other reproductive organs. Endometriosis is thus a contributing factor in as many as 70% of couples with infertility, and pregnancy rates increase dramatically after surgery to remove endometriosis.
The symptoms of endometriosis include: severely painful periods, low back pain during the menstrual period, bowel changes at the time of the period, and pain with intercourse.
At the time of your first visit, your doctor will take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam. If endometriosis is suspected, and you have infertility or severely painful periods, your doctor may recommend a diagnostic laparoscopy to diagnose and remove the suspected endometriosis.
Other reasons your NaProTechnology™ physician might recommend surgery include:
9. Are Natural Family Planning classes taught at the Gianna Centers?
Yes. The Creigthon Model FertiltyCare System is not only a useful diagnostic tool for evaluating the female reproductive system, it is also a highly effective method of Natural Family Planning.
By learning to identify the signs of a woman’s fertility, a couple can then learn how to use this information to achieve or avoid a pregnancy, depending on their goals.
When used to avoid a pregnancy, the couple simply abstains on the fertile days of the cycle. When used in this way, the system is 99% effective, with none of the risks or side effects of hormonal contraceptives.
When the couple is ready to conceive, they simply choose to use the most fertile days for intercourse. Used in this way, 98% of couples of normal fertility will conceive within 4-6 months – 75% of them in the first month they try to conceive!
10. Is NaProTechnology™ covered by my health insurance?
Because the goal of NaProTechnology™ is to identify and correct the underlying medical causes of women’s reproductive health problems, NaProTechnology™ evaluation and treatment are often covered by health insurance.
Health insurance plans vary greatly,however, particularly with respect to infertility benefits. Gianna Center staff members are available to assist you with understanding your infertility benefits; however, you are ultimately responsible for understanding your benefits and for payment for any services which are not covered by your health insurance.
We strongly recommend that you contact your insurance company prior to your first visit and request a detailed explanation of your benefits relating to the evaluation and treatment of infertility.
11. There are no NaProTechnology™ doctors in my area. Can you do long-distance consultations?
The Gianna Centers for Women in New Jersey and New York provide care to women from all over the United States. Gianna physicians will work with your local doctors, laboratories and imaging centers to perform the NaProTechnology evaluation and provide treatment. Contact either of our two office locations for more information.
12. Where can I find more information about NaProTechnology™?
The following resources provide for more information about NaProTechnology™ and the Creighton Model FertilityCare System™:
The NaProTechnology Revolution: Unleashing the Power in a Woman's Cycle
A new book by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers to be read by all women! It contains full-color examples of real women’s charts to help women understand the impact that NaProTechnology can have on their health and their lives. The book also contains points to assist doctors in treating women and testimonials of women who have been treated with NaProTechnology™.
The National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility
Dr. Kyle Beiter
222 Easton Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone (732) 565-5490
Fax (732) 792-3038
Office Hours:Mon. to Fri. 8:30am-4pm
Gianna Center in NYDr. Anne Nolte
15 E. 40th Street
New York, NY 10016
Phone (212) 481-1219
Fax (212) 481-1423
Office Hours:Mon., Tue., Thu., Fri. 8:30am-5pmWed. 11am-5pm NY Location Only:
Jean Golden-Tevald, DO, CFCP, FCPMorningstar Family Health Center
54 Old Route 22
Clinton, NJ 08809
Phone (908) 735-9344
Fax (908) 735-7136
MaryAnne Freeman Brndjar, D.O. ,P.C. 4 West Main St.
Macungie, PA 18062
Phone (610) 820-0575
Fax (610) 967-6553
Gianna Center of Albany242 South Central AvenueMechanicville, NY 12118Phone (518) 779-5225Website
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