Patrick Craine

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Hope for infertility: ‘Infertile’ couple gives birth thanks to cutting edge natural treatment

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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OTTAWA, Ontario, January 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Infertility has approached epidemic levels in Western countries.  In 2002, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that 7.3 million women suffered from infertility in the country, about 12% of the reproductive-age population.  Many of these millions are sped along to IVF doctors; robbed of the joys of natural procreation, they are often slated to endure years of heartache as they strive unsuccessfully for a child.

Pierre and Heidi Desrochers of Ottawa were one of those couples.  Married in 2005, the young pair learned in October 2007 that Heidi suffered from advanced endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, and possible polycystic ovarian disease.  They were told their chances of conceiving and bearing a child were slim.

The couple was referred in December 2007 to the Ottawa Fertility Centre, which specializes in assisted reproductive technologies.  The doctor told them IVF was their only option.

“It was really difficult for us to believe that a conclusion could be drawn just after one surgery, without conducting any other tests,” said Heidi.  “We still didn’t understand the cause of my infertility.”

Convicted against IVF by their Catholic faith, they were unsure where to go.  “We didn’t have any other option at that point,” she said.  “We basically felt abandoned by our doctors, and we were really grieving not being able to have a child.  It was a deep emotional pain.”

In the midst of their struggle, the Desrochers were introduced to the new reproductive science NaProTechnology. A natural, fertility-care approach to women’s health, the method was developed by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers of the Creighton University School of Medicine based on thirty years of research into the woman’s fertility cycle.

The Desrochers began consulting with a NaPro doctor at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Family Centre in Toronto, and were sent down to Nebraska for surgery with Dr. Hilgers, who has pioneered specialized microsurgical techniques to heal women’s reproductive systems.

Only one month after the surgery, Pierre and Heidi conceived their “miracle baby” Daniel Raymond Joseph Desrochers, who was born August 11, 2009.

“I was overjoyed and so grateful to God for this tremendous blessing and gift.  I was also very surprised that it happened so quickly after my surgery,” said Heidi.  “NaPro does take some effort and patience and it is not always easy, but in the end, it was worth it!”

NaProTechnology - Successful, Natural, Cost-Effective, Ethical

Though widely ignored in medical circles, NaPro has been hailed as a cost effective and morally acceptable solution that has consistently shown better outcomes for mother and child than assisted reproduction.  There are fewer miscarriages, and no increased rate of multiple pregnancies.

A 2004 study by Dr. Hilgers’ Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Nebraska found NaPro up to 81% effective at achieving pregnancy, depending on the condition, whereas success rates for IVF have ranged from 21-27%.

Besides infertility, the method has been effective in treating miscarriage, irregular cycles, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome, postpartum depression and many other women’s health conditions.

Dr. Julia Cataudella, a medical consultant and NaPro specialist at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Centre, told LifeSiteNews that the idea behind NaPro is to identify and treat the underlying problems with the woman’s physiology.

“Infertility is seen as a symptom of disease.  It’s an end sign that something’s not right,” she explained.  “So if you can identify what it is that’s not right, and correct it, then conception can occur naturally because you know the fertile times and you’ve optimized the conditions of fertility - cervical mucus production might need to be enhanced for example.”

Dr. Cataudella said NaPro relies on knowing the phases of the woman’s cycle, not only in general, but also the cycle of the individual woman.  “That cycle reflects the communication between the ovaries and the brain, so it’s quite delicate and complex, and it can only be done through fertility awareness,” she said.

The woman charts her cycle using the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System, a standardized assessment using biomarkers such as cervical mucus and menstrual bleeding.  Besides pinpointing the woman’s fertile periods with precision, the chart allows her and her medical practitioner to observe her body’s rhythm and identify abnormalities that need to be treated.  According to Dr. Cataudella, the treatment is often administered at specific points in the cycle - at the time of fertility, or just after ovulation, for example.  This timing is often crucial to the treatment’s effectiveness.

The Struggle to Get the Word Out

Despite NaPro’s common-sense approach and documented benefits, most doctors who have heard of it remain skeptical, and its proponents have struggled to get their findings published.

“People are definitely pushed toward the [assisted reproductive technologies] instead of looking at the root cause,” said Desrochers.  But she thinks doctors also opt for that approach simply because they don’t fully understand the woman’s cycle, knowledge of which she believes the medical profession lost when oral contraceptives were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s.  She said the problem was exacerbated in the 1970s when assisted reproductive technologies took off.

“Back in 2007 when I was seeing that gynaecologist, her first solution for me was the oral contraceptive pill,” explained Desrochers.  While it would have helped with the pain from her endometriosis, she said, “it simply masks the pain [and] the underlying issue. ... It’s a band-aid solution, because it overrides the menstrual cycle instead of treating the problem.”

“[NaPro is] not often taken very seriously, because it’s not very technological,” said Dr. Cataudella.  “You’re not intervening with pipettes and microscopes to cause the fertilization.”  She also said there appears to be “a moral boundary” for doctors who believe in contraceptives like the pill.

The Dangers and Failures of IVF

The major pioneer of IVF, Dr. Robert Edwards, was honoured with a Nobel Prize this fall, for bringing “joy to infertile people all over the world.”  Yet the evidence and experience of NaPro suggests the advent of IVF has resulted in unnecessary physical harm and emotional heart ache for countless infertile couples and their families.

Dr. Cataudella pointed out that the failure to diagnose the underlying causes of infertility results in major health problems in women.  Beyond simply the inability to bear children, infertility is a symptom of diseases - such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian disease, anovulation, and tubal occlusion - that can lead to long-term disability, a lower quality of life, and even premature death.  Women who are infertile can suffer pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, and cholesterol problems, and are at increased risk for heart attack and diabetes, as well as ovarian and breast cancer.

The failure to diagnose underlying causes is also one of the reasons why there are so many failed attempts at IVF, said Desrochers.  “Sometimes the uterine environment is hostile, the baby can’t even implant in it because there might be something that they haven’t diagnosed,” she said.

Dr. Cataudella agreed, saying that the approach is always the same with IVF.  “It doesn’t matter what the problem is.  Every person gets the same treatment,” she said.  “‘Let’s just do the conception for you, and hope that it takes.’  Ultimately the results aren’t that great.”

IVF has also been shown to endanger children.  Desrochers said that when she and Pierre went into the Ottawa Fertility Centre, the doctor tried to appeal to their Catholic sensibilities by claiming that the facility would use all of the couple’s embryos in the IVF process.

But, as she later learned, the claim was false because a high percentage of the embryos are lost simply through the process of freezing and thawing.  Not only that, but in many cases where multiple embryos implant in their mother, the undesired babies are “culled,” “selectively reduced,” or in layman’s terms, killed.

A growing body of evidence is revealing a much higher level of birth defects in babies born through IVF, including heart valve defects, cleft lip and palate, and digestive system abnormalities.  In 2010, a French study - the largest yet on the subject - found that assisted reproductive technologies double the baby’s risk of deformity.

Besides the physical dangers, there’s also the simple fact that IVF children are conceived in a lab, denied the right to be conceived naturally.  “IVF is definitely not an option for us,” said Desrochers.  “IVF replaces the physical expression of love between husband and wife, and children are treated as commodities.”

“Pierre and I feel that the child is not an object over which we have a right, or own, but the child is a gift, and life is sacred from the moment of conception,” she added.

Restored Health for the Future

Because the focus is on promoting the woman’s health, NaPro aims to restore fertility in the long-term, meaning there is a much better chance of conceiving naturally into the future.

Pierre and Heidi are hoping and praying that Daniel will have a sibling soon.  They’ve been told that Heidi’s endometriosis could return, and a test recently found that one of her fallopian tubes was blocked again.  They conceived Daniel so quickly that they hadn’t completed the process, so now they are working with a NaPro doctor to balance Heidi’s hormones.

Heidi has been trying to share her experience in the hopes of helping other couples who struggle with infertility - in a recent letter to the Ottawa Citizen, for example, and an article in the Winter 2010 newsletter of the Companions of the Cross, a Canadian community of priests based in Ottawa.

“[NaPro is] morally acceptable, maintains the integrity of the human person, and respects the dignity of women and of marriage,” said Desrochers.


Learn more about NaProTechnology and the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction’s website.

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Drew Belsky

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2016 candidates react to the Supreme Court’s marriage decision

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Five days after the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision mandating the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, most of the 2016 presidential candidates have made their opinions on the issue known.

While all of the Democrats currently in the race aggressively supported the ruling, the Republicans' reactions to the Supreme Court's marriage ruling have been more varied.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon, criticized the Obergefell decision, calling it "a grave mistake." Walker suggested that "the only alternative" to Friday's decision is "to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage."

Texas senator Ted Cruz has doubled down on Walker's call for a constitutional amendment. Not only is Cruz seeking an amendment to protect states' right to define marriage, but he also hopes to amend the Constitution to demand "periodic judicial retention elections" for Supreme Court justices – namely, Cruz said, for those who "overstep their bounds [and] violate the Constitution."

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush shied away from a constitutional marriage amendment. "Guided by my faith," Bush said in a statement, "I believe in traditional marriage." However, "in a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate."

Florida senator Marco Rubio agreed with Bush, exhorting Republicans to "look ahead" and concentrate on the nomination process for new judges. Likewise with Ohio governor John Kasich, who said on Face the Nation that "it's time to move on" and "take a deep breath."

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina concurred. While "I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage," Fiorina said, "[m]oving forward...all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience."

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham forthrightly condemned a constitutional marriage amendment as "a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail." Graham told NBC News, "I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court's ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American."

Libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wrote in Time Magazine that the federal government should remove itself completely from the marriage issue. "Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not Washington, D.C.," Paul wrote.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal "strongly disagree[s]" with the Obergefell ruling, but he admitted on Sunday that his state would ultimately comply with the Supreme Court's decision. "We do not have a choice."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went one step farther. While he "agree[s] with Chief Justice John Roberts" that "this is something that should be decided by the people, and not ... five lawyers," the governor admitted that "those five lawyers get to impose it under our system, and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land[.]"

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum foresees a widespread silencing of those who dissent from the Supreme Court's interpretation of marriage. "There's no slippery slope here," Santorum told the Family Research Council Friday; "religious liberty is under assault today – not going to be, it is – and it's going to be even more so ... with this decision."

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee expressed similar sentiments, excoriating the Supreme Court for flouting millions of Americans who voted to affirm "the laws of nature." Huckabee said on Friday, "I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat."

On the other end of the spectrum, former Democratic Maryland governor and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley contended that it is homosexuals, not religious objectors to the Obergefell decision, who need more protections from the state.

Calling the ruling a "major step forward," O'Malley proceeded to demand passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that criminalizes "discrimination" based on an "individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity." Opponents worry it would force religious employers to hire homosexuals and transgender people.

Passing ENDA, O'Malley said, would help "more fully realize the vision of an open, respectful, and inclusive nation that Friday's decision aspires us [sic] to be."

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Drew Belsky

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Obama Department of Justice to Virginia school: Let girl use boys’ bathrooms

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The Obama administration's Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a "statement of interest" Monday in support of a Virginia high school sophomore who is seeking to use bathrooms designated for members of the opposite sex.

In June 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Gloucester County School Board on behalf of 15-year-old Gavin Grimm, who is biologically female but wants to use male bathrooms and locker rooms.

Grimm claimed that she had used such facilities without incident for seven weeks until December 2014, when the school board enacted a policy requiring "transgender" students to use private restrooms.

Grimm testified in early 2015 that "[n]ow that the board has passed this policy, school no longer feels as safe and welcoming as it did before[.] ... Being singled out is a glaring reminder of my differences and causes me significant discomfort every time I have to use the restroom."

The Obama administration declared in May 2014 that sex discrimination under Title IX applies to those who identify as "transgender."  The Department of Education followed up last December by ordering federally funded schools to classify students based on "gender identity" rather than biological sex.

Regardless, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco told LifeSiteNews in June of this year that Grimm's and the ACLU's discrimination claims would not hold water.  Citing a district court case in Pennsylvania, Tedesco noted (emphasis in original) that "[t]he Court ... highlighted that Title IX's implementing regulations state that schools do not violate Title IX when they 'provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"

Title IX, part of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, is a statute that "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity."

"Every court to consider this issue has held that single-sex restrooms and locker room facilities are permitted under Title IX," Tedesco concluded.

Now, according to the DoJ's "statement of interest" in support of Grimm, filed this week, "[t]he United States has a significant interest in ensuring that all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free of sex discrimination and that the proper legal standards are applied to claims under Title IX" (p. 2, all citations omitted).  Per the DoJ, Grimm "is likely to succeed on the merits" of her Title IX claim, and "it is in the public interest to allow [Grimm] ... to use the male restrooms at Gloucester High School."

Regarding the Pennsylvania case mentioned by Tedesco, the DoJ claims that "[t]he district court's reasoning in that case was faulty and should not be followed."

One Gloucester County School Board member who voted against the December bathroom policy fretted that "federal dollars are at stake." Her concern was well-founded: five months later, the Obama administration threatened to deny Virginia's Fairfax County School Board $42 million in federal funding if the board refused to change its own bathroom protocols.  The Fairfax board ruled in May – over the strenuous objections of parents in attendance – that "transgender" students could use facilities in accordance with their "gender identity."

"Although certain parents and community members may object to students sharing a common use restroom with transgender students," the DoJ declared in its brief for Grimm, "any recognition of this discomfort as a basis for discriminating would undermine the public interest."

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Lisa Bourne

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Girl Scouts returns $100,000 donation over transgender stipulation

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - An unusual request from a major donor to a regional branch of the U.S. Girl Scouts has drawn attention to the organization’s ongoing support for gender ideology and transgender issues. 

Girl Scouts of Western Washington CEO Megan Ferland revealed last week that the council had recently received a donation for $100,000. However, after the Girl Scouts’ practice of allowing boys who identify as girls to join the Scouts hit the news during the media’s coverage of the Bruce Jenner case, Ferland says she received a note from the donor putting a condition on the donation.

“Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls,” the donor reportedly asked. “If you can’t, please return the money.”

In the end, Ferland said she chose to give the $100,000 - what could have comprised nearly a fourth of the council’s annual fundraising goal - back to the donor.

“Girl Scouts is for every girl,” Ferland stated in a report from SeattleMet.com. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

In the meantime, the council used the publicity over the refused donation to launch a social fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo, a social fundraising site. The #ForEVERYGirl has far exceeded its goal, raising over $300,000 for the group in just three days.

"Our vision at Girl Scouts of Western Washington is that EVERY girl in our region—regardless of her race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or geographic location—is empowered to unleash her potential, build her future and transform her world," states the campaign.

This is not the first time that Ferland has been involved in a controversy over the Scouts’ support for transgenderism.

When a boy self-identifying as a girl attempted to join a Colorado Girl Scout troop in 2011 and was initially refused by the leader because of his male gender, Ferland, then head of the Colorado council, issued a statement welcoming boys identifying as girls, and saying efforts were in progress to find the boy a troop. The council also renounced the troop leader’s actions in refusing the boy access.

“Every girl that is a Girl Scout is a Girl Scout because her parent or guardian brings her to us and says, ‘I want my child to participate,’” Ferland stated at the time. “And I don’t question whether or not they’re a girl.” 

Western Washington Girl Scouts current program brochures show that gender ideology is woven right into the council’s programming for girls, with promotion found right in the council’s workshops:

SafeZone for Girl Scouts Sat, May 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tacoma Learn how you can become an ally and advocate for your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) peers. Includes activities and discussion around: inclusive language, the process of coming out, the power of the straight ally, how to respond to homophobic/trans-phobic incidents, where to go for help and much more. Bring lunch.

Girl Scouts and radical feminism

For years, pro-family leaders have raised alarms about partnerships and programs that indicate that the Girl Scouts have moved toward embracing a radical feminist identity.

As far back as 2004 a U.S Catholic Bishop intervened when a Girl Scout-Planned Parenthood partnership threatened young girls. 

Then-Austin Bishop Gregory Aymond warned local Catholics not to sign their children up for Planned Parenthood’s “Nobody’s Fool,” a sex-ed campaign designed for pre-pubescent children which had been integrated into the local Girl Scouts.

A survey, also from 2004, found that many Girl Scouts councils were partnering with Planned Parenthoood in some fashion. 

In 2010 the Girl Scouts were found to be pushing a radical agenda on its young members with Planned Parenthood given access to distribute an explicit ‘sex guide’ at a closed-door, no-adults-welcome meeting at the UN sponsored by the Girl Scouts.

Lincoln, Nebraska Bishop James Conley warned in 2011 as auxiliary bishop of Denver that involvement in the Girl Scouts could serve to make girls more open to the pro-abortion agenda.

Roughly 90 Girl Scouts of Northern California members and their families marched in San Francisco’s 2013 Gay Pride Parade. 

"The San Francisco Girl Scouts participate in many parades that celebrate the diversity of San Francisco," Girl Scouts of Northern California Communications Manager Dana Allen told LifeSiteNews at the time. "Girl Scouts is inclusive and reflects the communities we serve."

A sexuality-based Girl Scout troop was started earlier this year in Utah aimed at gay and lesbian families and boys who consider themselves “transgender.” It meets at the Utah Pride Center.

"As long as a youth identifies as a girl or with girls, even if they are genderfluid on the day that they registered, then they can become a Girl Scout," Shari Solomon-Klebba, the Utah Girl Scout outreach coordinator, and an open lesbian who started the troop, told a local news station at the time.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged caution last year in engaging with the Girl Scouts after conducting a two-year examination of the scouts. That study identified concerns about several Girl Scouts USA policies, affiliations and structural weaknesses.

Girl Scout alternatives

The representatives of two organizations for girls frequently considered a Christ-centered alternative to the Girls Scouts told LifeSiteNews this latest incident with the Western Washington Scouts underscores the need for other options for families and their children.

“There has been a huge cultural shift in redefining life-long truths that have many families carefully considering their youth program options. American Heritage Girls has often been regarded as a Christian-based alternative to the Girl Scouts,” American Heritage Girls National Communications Specialist Jennifer Troutman said.

American Heritage Girls marked its 20th anniversary this past week. There are more than 40,000 members within the organization.

“Now more than ever American Heritage Girls recognizes the importance of bringing Christ-centered, character development programming to girls across the nation.”  

The head of Little Flowers Girls’ Club concurred.

“I feel very blessed that we can offer an authentically Catholic alternative to Girl Scouts,” Joan Stromberg told LifeSiteNews.

Little Flowers started over 20 years ago, not as a reaction against what Girl Scouts were doing, or where they are now, Stromberg said, but as a way to help moms and girls bond together to learn about the world through a Catholic lens.

“It is sad that Girl Scouts policies and positions have put them in direct conflict with Church teachings,” Stromberg continued. “I am just pleased that girls and moms have alternative places like Little Flowers where they can go.”

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