People use InVitro fertilization every day, to become pregnant when they otherwise might not have been able to. But a new form of family planning says insemination methods aren’t the answer… and doctors say they’re having great success following a more natural approach. The system is called NaPro Technology.
Gary and Angela Weisbrich say kids have always been part of their plan.
"We had discussed in our engagement that we wanted to start a family right away," Angela said.
Angela knew when she should start trying to conceive, because she was using "natural procreative technology," or NaPro. Women track their monthly cycle on a chart to tell when they’re most fertile.
"I thought we would have children right away," said Angela.
But after a year of trying and still no baby, the Weisbrichs saw a NaPro-trained fertility specialist… who was able to look at the charts and give some answers.
"And she said, ‘I can find out exactly what’s wrong and start you on different medicines,” Angela said.
Doctor Jane Gaetze is an OBGYN at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, and she’s also certified in NaPro Technology. She says the system is often used by women who have had problems conceiving, even with other fertility methods… but it’s also for those wanting to avoid pregnancy. And unlike traditional birth control, NaPro Technology is centered around a woman’s awareness of her own body.
"It isn’t a control, because it’s using the woman’s natural cycle, so there’s nothing controlling," Dr. Gaetze said.
One of the key differences in NaPro Technology is what happens on the operating table. When a woman finds out she can’t conceive because of ovarian cysts or scarring, surgeons use thread no wider than a strand of hair to repair the ovary after surgery, letting it heal naturally.
"Able to functionally operate and open and ovulate when it needs to," Dr. Gaetze said.
Angela’s problems with ovulation were treated outside the operating room, with a hormone called progersterone. Shortly after she started taking it, she learned she was expecting.
"Gary and I were able to conceive our first baby, and unfortunately, we were unable to carry our baby to term," Angela said.
Angela miscarried after just seven weeks. She became pregnant again a short time later… but miscarried a second time.
"It’s so frustrating, because you know some things are just out of your hands," Angela said.
Even though they’re not parents yet, they say NaPro Technology has given them hope. At least now they know they can conceive.
"We really believe one day we’ll be able to conceive and carry a child to term," said Gary Weisbrich.
And they’ll keep working with their doctors until they do. For Gary, being involved in his wife’s fertility has made him feel closer to her.
"It’s been an eye-opener for me, and I feel like I’m more a part of the marriage, but more than that, part of creating a child together,” Gary said. “We’re in this together."
Their journey led them to reach out to other young couples who are trying to conceive. The Weisbrichs were recently trained as NaPro facilitators, which means they help teach the program to others. They also explain how it’s affected their lives.
"Part of grieving is feeling like you’re giving life to other people," Angela said.
And soon, they hope to be able to share news of their own little miracle.
NaPro Technology is supported by the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese as a choice for family planning.
It’s nice to actually see an article on NaPro technology in the press for a change.
It’s great that it’s a positive article, too. It is discouraging, though, that this is not considered “traditional” birth control, implying that drugs are.