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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TLC pulls ‘19 Kids and Counting’ from schedule following Duggar molestation allegations

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By Ben Johnson

SPRINGDALE, AR, May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The television network TLC has removed the Duggar family's reality show, “19 Kids and Counting,” from its schedule, at least temporarily.

Multiple news outlets have confirmed that the show, featuring the large and expanding evangelical Christian family, will not be on the air until the network makes a final decision about the program's fate.

The network had previously removed “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” from its network after “Mama June” Shannon had been seen associating with convicted child molester Mark McDaniel, possibly exposing her children to a sexual predator. Shannon has told the entertainment news outlet TMZ that she would sue the network for unfair and inconsistent treatment.

TLC has not made a final determination as of yet and aired a Duggar marathon Thursday evening as the controversy brewed.

Friday's move comes after media outlets obtained police records showing Josh Duggar, as a young teenager 12 years ago, inappropriately touched as many as five girls, often while they were sleeping. The police records show the incidents began in March 2002, the month the oldest Duggar child turned 14. He admitted the incident to his parents that July, but another incident took place in March 2003. At that time, the family sent him to a program that required counseling and hard physical labor.

Three years later, a letter containing details of the molestation was found, and its recipient notified police, who launched an investigation.

One of his victims told police, after Josh returned in July 2003, he had clearly “turned back to God.” No further incidents have been alleged.

Duggar's wife of six-and-a-half years, Anna, said Josh revealed the painful episode to her two years before they got engaged.

Since the allegations have been made public, Josh Duggar admitted his long ago wrongdoing, calling his teenage actions “inexcusable.” He also resigned his job at FRC Action, a pro-family lobbying organization.

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Some figures have offered the Duggars their reassurance that, whatever sins Josh committed as a teen, he can be – perhaps has been – forgiven by God.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a presidential hopeful, said that Josh “and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story.”

He said those who leaked the story were motivated by “insensitive bloodlust” to destroy the Duggar family. “There was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past, and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims.”

God, Huckabee said, forgives all sins.

“In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption,” Josh wrote.

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Rebecca Kiessling of Save the 1 - United States Steve Jalsevac/Vatican City
Rebecca Kiessling

I told her I was conceived in rape. She told me to prove I shouldn’t have been aborted.

Rebecca Kiessling
By Rebecca Kiessling

(Savethe1) - Why should I have to prove my worth and my right to life? When I first learned at the age of 18 that I was conceived in rape, I instantly felt targeted and devalued by our society because I’d heard what people said about pregnancy “in cases of rape.” Right away, I felt I was in a position where I would have to justify my own existence – that I would have to prove to the world that I shouldn’t have been aborted and that I was worthy of living.

I’ve since found my own value, identity and purpose in Christ, being created by God, in His image, and for a purpose, so I no longer feel I need to prove my worth to others in order to feel worthy. Instead, I share my worth out of gratitude for my own life being spared and in order that others may see the value of those who are still at risk – those who are in harm’s way as yet unborn and being targeted for abortion in the clinics, in legislation, and in people’s hearts and minds.

Whenever I speak, I share this aspect of my journey, but people are shocked to hear that I actually do get challenged to prove my value, to demonstrate my positive contribution to society and to justify my right not to have been aborted. This recent e-mail is a case in point. It was a tough inquiry to receive, but you’ll see my hopefully patient (and prayerful) responses below, and the ultimate outcome of the exchange:

I’m feeling sad and skeptical about rape babies.  I’d love to consider myself pro-life due to biblical reasons, but I just don’t really see what good can ever come out of a rape baby. I still think that it sometimes furthers the victimization of a rape victim. And it’s also because I’m very sad and disturbed by your blog.

I just think sometimes that it would be better if these babies never existed -- that every single one would naturally be miscarried by God’s will, so no one could bully them for their skeleton in their closet. Like I said, the subject manner disturbs me to the point where I vomit. I wish that every child was conceived in love and not violence because that's the way it should be. And I'm sad to say that the only way I could fully believe all of you rape mothers and children is if you were to pray for the peace of God that transcends all my futile understanding and my volatile, overly-sensitive emotions. 

There is no story in the whole world that can fully change my mind. The only way I could ever is if I were to befriend a victim or become the Bride of a man whom was the product of abuse. I'm so sorry to be brutally honest; it's just that my heart grieves to the point where I feel the struggle to overcome the sin of prejudice. I'm so angry at God that he allows this to occur.

Dear __, I appreciate you going to our blog and taking the time to reach out to us.  Your concerns are the most common, but research shows that rape victims are four times more likely to die within the next year after the abortion vs. giving birth. Dr. David Reardon's book Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault explains this.  So it's a myth which gets perpetuated -- that a rape victim would be better off after an abortion, that her child would be a reminder of the rape, and that she would even see her child as a "rape baby," as you put it.

I understand a lot of what you're saying.  You would definitely feel differently if you knew someone personally.  I wished I wasn’t conceived in rape, but I do believe now that God definitely brings good out of evil, and uses tragic situations to bring healing.  He doesn't intend the evil of course, but his trademark is redeeming really awful situations.

-- Rebecca

Her reply (again, challenging for me to read, but I think she candidly articulates a lot of what most people really wonder or think):

What has God done in your life personally besides this blog that has made your tragic family life worth the pain? Tell me what you have been doing: like marriage, dating, children, jobs, friendship, volunteer work; any of that. I am curious to see how God has given your life joy and purpose. I'm sorry if I have ever been difficult to handle. I'm emotionally impulsive when I hear something sad.

First of all, my birthmother and her husband legally adopted me 3-1/2 years ago because my adoptive family was really screwed up (long story of abuse and abandonment.) My own adoption by my birthmother was our fairy-tale ending.  She says I'm a blessing to her, I honor her and I bring her healing! I love adoption -- my two oldest are adopted (very open adoption,) and we adopted a baby with special needs -- Cassie -- who died in our arms at 33 days old. It was an honor to take care of her and was definitely one of the most important things I'd ever done in my life. She died because of medical malpractice.

Married for nearly 17 years, we have 5 children now – two adopted sons and our three biological daughters.  Here's my son's story. He wrote it last September at 12 years old.

Besides being the president and founder of Save The 1, I also co-founded Hope After Rape Conception. I'm a family law attorney, though I closed my law practice to have my children and to home school until 2-1/2 years ago.

I make baby quilts which I donate to pregnancy resource centers and I give to moms in unplanned pregnancies. My birthmother taught me to sew! I also taught my children to quilt, as well as many of my friends and their children. I've volunteered with orphan care, Sunday school, feeding the disadvantaged, free legal work, volunteer work for a maternity home, and helping in various ways with pregnancy resource centers. I changed the hearts of Gov. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich on this issue during their presidential campaigns!

A large part of what I do is helping others to understand their value, identity and worth because lots of people struggle with these issues -- not just those conceived in rape. I hope this helps!  -- Rebecca

Her final response – from someone who said “there is no story in the world that can fully change my mind”: 

Dear Rebecca, thank you so much for your time to straighten out my emotional acting out -- I'm really glad you told me about your life. I really think I'll be okay now. I still wish that men wouldn't rape, but at least the world knows a lot more than they used to and I can say that I'm pro-life to my college professors without paranoia or anxiety. I even talked about helping people like you with my mom and dad. They told me I'm too sensitive in personality to be involved directly in domestic politics; yet, I'm praying about being a free English tutor for troubled families as well as being an anti-pornography informant or activist. After all, the porn industry has been statistically linked to the sexual violence pandemic. I'm so glad that you are living life well and to the best of your ability; keep telling people that just because your birth father was an evil scumbag doesn't mean that you are. Thanks Rebecca, you have really touched and strengthened my heart. With much sincerity.

 

BIO: Rebecca Kiessling was conceived in rape and nearly aborted, but legally protected by law in Michigan pre-Roe v Wade.  She's an attorney, pro-life speaker and blogger, and President of Save The 1. Her own website is www.rebeccakiessling.com

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Boy Scouts president: We need to allow open homosexual leaders

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By Dustin Siggins

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates says the youth organization must change with the times and allow open homosexual men to serve as Scout leaders.

Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, said in a speech at the 2015 Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Annual Meeting Thursday that the Boy Scouts would have to adjust to "the social, political, and juridicial changes taking place in our country -- changes taking place a pace this past year no one anticipated."

According to Gates, the way to balance the religious affiliations of "some 70% of our scout units" and avoid "a broad [court] ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard" is to offer individual troops a flexible membership policy. 

"For me, I support a policy that accepts and respects our different perspectives and beliefs, allows religious organizations -- based on First Amendment protections of religious freedom -- to establish their own standards for adult leaders, and preserves the Boy Scouts of America now and forever."

"I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement," said Gates, who said that BSA should "seize control of our own future, set our own course, and change our policy in order to allow charter partners -- unit sponsoring organizations -- to determine the standards for their Scout leaders."

This is not the first time that Gates, who led the military to end its two decades-long Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, has supported gay Scout leaders. Last year, he said that he "would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers from across the entire country."

In 2013, BSA allowed openly homosexual scouts for the first time. That policy reads: "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” and took effect on January 1, 2014.

A year ago, Gates said he "was prepared to go further than the decision that was made" to allow gay Scout members, but decided that "to try to take last year's decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement - with the high likelihood neither side would subsequently survive on its own."

This week, though, Gates said that "events during the past year have confronted us with urgent challenges I did not foresee and which we cannot ignore."

"We cannot ignore growing internal challenges to our current membership policy, from some councils... in open defiance of the policy," said Gates. 

However, Gates' remarks may have come too late to prevent internal challenges from splitting BSA. Due to the 2013 vote, a number of Scouting alternatives launched, including the organization Trail Life USA. The latter group says it aims "to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens." 

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In January, Trail Life USA said it has "over 540 Troops in 48 states and the registration of nearly 20,000 adults and boys..."

Furthermore, the decision by BSA to allow gay scouts has led to criticism from people on both sides of the debate. Homosexual activists say the group did not go far enough, whereas many Christian parents and organizations say BSA is bowing to public pressure from homosexual advocates to affect its membership, despite its Christian roots.

Corporate pressure has also been aggressive. Last year, Walt Disney World threatened to not allow employees to volunteer for BSA as part of its VoluntEARS program in 2015 if the organization does not allow gay Scout leaders. Diversity Inc. reports that Merck & Co., Ernst & Young, Major League Baseball, and AT&T are just some of the other companies that have pressured BSA to further change its policies.

LifeSiteNews asked BSA whether Gates' comments indicated support for a totally flexible scout leadership policy, or just related to gay scout leaders, as well as whether BSA would take a stand against state and local laws that deny First Amendment rights to people who oppose same-sex "marriage."

BSA declined to comment, telling LifeSiteNews in a statement: "Dr. Gates’s remarks speak for themselves. ... It is important to note that no decisions were made during the National Annual Meeting. A decision is expected no later than the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board meeting in October."

A video of Gates' remarks is below. The comments about membership standards begin at 8:40.

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