A recent document prepared by the NFP Secretariat of the Australian CatholicSocial Welfare Commission (ACSWC) contains several recommendations relatedto the service and delivery of service of natural family planning methods. A teamof coordinators has been elected who will work closely with both hoand Sympto-Thermal Method groups of NFP teachers. These co-ordinatorsare mostly teachers of one or other method, and therefore it is desirable that as faras possible, they all should understand the methods of natural family planning otherthan their own. One of the suggestions made by the Secretariat of the ACSWC wasthat all teachersshould teach all methods and then invite the couples to choose theone they wish to use. This point needs analysis in the light of the history of themethodologies and in the development of the Ovulation Method™ (Billings). TheWorld Health Organization (WHO) attached the name of Billings to the Ovulation Method™ so that its authenticity could be preserved.
Before the development of the Billings Ovulation Method®, the pre-ovulatory phase of the cycle presented insoluble problems, so far as techniques of natural family planning were concerned. There was no dependable solution other than total abstinence, sometimes very prolonged abstinence, as there are a number of situations when ovulation may be suspended for a considerable period of time, even several months or perhaps a year or more. Some thought that natural methods could never provide an answer for the pre-ovulatory phase because of uncertainty about sperm survival time. The solution came from recognition of the fact that the cervical mucus not only gives warning of the approach of ovulation, but is of fundamental importance to the time of sperm survival. A fundamental concept of the Billings Ovulation Method® is that of the Basic Infertile Pattern (BIP) during the pre-ovulatory phase of the cycle. The recognition of her Basic Infertile Pattern is the key to the woman’s understanding and management of the prolonged pre-ovulatory situation.
The benefits to both mother and child which result from breast-feeding provide a good example of the wisdom of living in accordance with the laws of nature. The Billings Ovulation Method® is very appropriate for use during lactation because it provides for the recognition of infertility in the absence of ovulation – it is just as easy to recognize infertility as it is to recognize fertility, and to learn rules which can be applied in either circumstance.
This paper was presented by Marian Corkill and Marie Marshell on behalf of Dr Evelyn Billings at the Pontifical Lateran University, 9 May 2008, at a Congress to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae.
“When John and I began to travel and teach out of Australia in 1969, the Ovulation Method of natural fertility regulation had reached its definitive point as far as scientific verification of Rules went, but we had much to learn about the teaching, and much to observe about its value to individuals, marriages and the wider culture. We were to see attitudes change, from the contraceptive one of “no babies” of Planned Parenthood, to the acceptance of the child in full understanding of the Billings Ovulation Method® with Rules that mean what they say.
I accept with gratitude the Honorary Degree of this highly esteemed University Tor Vegata, very mindful of the honour bestowed on me. Even greater is the honour because I share it with John.
It was in 1953 when it was recognized in Melbourne by the Reverend Maurice Catarinich that some natural way of helping couples regulate their fertility must be found. The Venerable Archbishop Mannix of Melbourne had invited Fr Catarinich to assist married couples because he had seen in his visits to the schools that there were many unhappy children. He realized that these unhappy children came from unhappy homes.