WOOMB International

Science of Fertility

Shao-Zhen QIAN

In the 30 years fertile life of women, only a few days in each cycle are fertile and the rest of the time is infertile. People of insight have long considered making use of this natural phenomenon to regulate fertility. Early methods of natural family planning (rhythm, basal body temperature, symptothermal, etc.) are unsatisfactory for fertility regulation and the Chinese people did not accept them. In the early 60’s, Drs. J.J. and E.L. Billings and their colleagues discovered the interrelationship between the cervical mucus and the cyclic changes in the ovarian hormones and fertility and alleged the use of mucus symptom as the main index of ovulation and fertility applicable to all phases of female reproductive life. This is a milestone in the study of natural family planning.

Since the official introduction of the Billings Ovulation Method®(BOM) into China by the Chinese Ministry of Health in 1995, the Method has been distributed to almost every corner of China, including the industrial and agricultural areas and the minority regions. Chinese women of different strata and ethnic groups readily understand the meaning of the mucus patterns described in the Billings books and all of them accept the Method. After teaching, most subjects are able to recognize the Peak symptom from the first cycle and the rest from the second cycle, except in a few (around 1%) having anovulatory bleeding as confirmed by plasma hormonal assay.

Chinese Family Planning workers not only advocate fertility control but also fertility promotion for those without children. The Billings Ovulation Method® is a bidirectional approach that can be used for both purposes and is becoming one of the most favoured methods in China. Since it is simple to learn, cost free, non-invasive, has no side effects and, in particular, it is the most effective way of fertility regulation in all conditions, such asbreastfeeding, irregular cycles, pre-menopause, coming off contraceptive medication or during emotional and physical stress.

Fourteen Billings Ovulation Method® Centres have been established in China at the most strategic areas for fertility regulation and 36,845 Billings Ovulation Method® teachers have been trained. A certain percentage of the teachers were trained by the Australian Teaching Group led by Drs JJ and EL Billings. Up to date the Method has been regularly used in more than 2,686,400 fertile couples for avoiding pregnancy, the overall success rate being around99%;In addition, there were 14,524 among 45,280
infertile couples (success rate 32.1%) who were overjoyed to obtain their children by the use of Billings Ovulation Method®. The common people affectionately called these kids the Billings babies. Billings Ovulation Method® or mucus observation is now the primary treatment for couples presenting at the 14 Centres and neighbouring clinics experiencing difficulties in conceiving. Through field trials we also confirmed the fact that mucus observation not only enables the women to understand their fertile statusbut is also helpful to their reproductive health. Many women consulted gynaecologists for an early diagnosis and treatment, when they observed abnormal mucus symptoms