Dr. Hilgers featured on EWTN

The work of the Pope Paul VI Institute was in the spotlight on Women of Grace in February! Dr. Thomas Hilgers, Leslie R. Buckley, DMD, FCP, and Felricia Brown, FCP were the guests of host Johnette Benkovic, and they indiscussed infertility issues and topics related to the CREIGHTON MODEL FertilityCare™ System and NaProTECHNOLOGY. The programs originally aired on EWTN Feb 10–14, 2014, but if you missed them, you can watch each of the five episodes via the links below!

  1. Part 1, Feb. 10, 2014, 11 am
  2. Part 2, Feb. 11, 2014, 11 am
  3. Part 3, Feb. 12, 2014, 11 am
  4. Part 4, Feb. 13, 2014, 11 am
  5. Part 5, Feb. 14, 2014, 11 am

Response to UN’s Claim of Access to Contraception as a Basic Human Right

The Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, Omaha, Nebraska offers the following critique of some of the principal claims and conclusions set down in the 2012 Annual Report of the United Nations Population Fund (released 11.14.12):

First, because we concur with Article 16 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: all “men and women of full age, …, have the right to marry and to found a family,” we also believe couples have the right, by logical extension, to responsibly plan their family [also promoted in the 2012 U.N. Annual Report]. We differ, however, with the Report’s definition of responsible family planning. To responsibly plan a family means that married couples should have the right to voluntarily access a means to space their children that is not only reliable but also moral, that is, one that promotes genuine human fulfillment for the couple, their family, and the society. We also disagree with Annual Report’s conclusion conflating the universal human right of “access to family planning” with “access to contraception,” ostensibly doing so on grounds that contraception is the only or only “reliable and high quality” means of planning a family. Hence, access to family planning through competent education on human fertility is a universal human right, but access to contraception is not.

Second, we understand how contraception can appear to empower women by providing them a way to space children so that they can more easily work outside the home and increase family income. However, thousands of couples using the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS), testify that this natural system of regulating fertility provides an even better way to empower a woman. It provides her with a) woman-specific biofeedback—on any given day in any given cycle—about her body and her fertility; b) a means of treating OB/Gyn abnormalities such as unusual bleeding, premenstrual syndrome and infertility, c) an effective means of avoiding or achieving a pregnancy, and d) a basis for healthy communication between her and her husband about family planning goals.

Third, we reject the Report’s allegation that contraceptive use improves the user’s health. Our 40+ years of clinical data show the exact opposite: oral contraceptives (OCs) have a devastating potential to compromise a woman’s reproductive and overall health. Echoing our results, the World Health Organization not only classifies the OC as a carcinogen but warnings from package inserts of many OCs also specify that the pill “may increase risk of breast cancer and cancer of the reproductive organs.” Take the claim that the OC lowers the risk of ovarian cancer. Again, what women need to know are the specific risks and benefits of the pill. For example, compared to a woman not using hormonal contraception, it is true that the woman who uses the combined OC for five years incurs the benefit of a 40% decreased ovarian cancer mortality risk. But here’s the tradeoff: the same woman faces increased risks from the use of that same OC over the same 5-year period—a 100% increased risk for venous thromboembolism, a 24% increased risk of breast cancer, and at least a 100% increased risk of myocardial infarction. Furthermore, women who use OCs experience many (and sometimes debilitating) side effects from the Pill: bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, irregular bleeding, mood changes, and nausea.

Fourth, our secondary research data contradict the Report’s claim that increased access to contraception limits abortions. For example, the November 2006 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported, based on data from 23 studies, that greater access to emergency contraception increased rather than decreased the incidence of unintended pregnancy and abortion rates. The sad truth, then, is that the surge in contraceptive use has resulted in more unplanned pregnancies which, in turn, have resulted not only in the increased backup-contraceptive-choice of abortion, but also in devastating post-abortion psychological sequelae.

Fifth, we agree that spacing children allows mothers to secure employment outside the home, thereby contributing to economic prosperity for family and country. Nonetheless, improved economic productivity should never be secured at the expense of the view that children are a country’s greatest resource

Sixth, we object to the Annual Report’s silence on the need for conception of children within the context of a mutual permanent commitment on the parents. Children have the absolute right to be conceived, gestated, born into, and raised within marriage.

Follow Us in the News

Have you followed us in the news lately? We have had articles written about the Institute and about the Creighton Model System and NaProTechnology recently featured in the Chicago Tribune, Legatus Magazine, and Columbia Magazine!

Also, the NaPro approach to diagnosing and treating infertility will be the topic of discussion on the upcoming August 10th broadcast of Catholic Answers!

Follow the Pope Paul VI Institute and the Creighton Model System and NaProTechnology in the news at www.popepaulvi.com/inthenews.htm!

2012 Physician-Couple Retreat

Make plans to attend the 2012 physician-couple retreat in February! Fr. Jaroslaw Szymczak from the Holy Family Institute in Warsaw, Poland will be the retreat master. Each weekend session includes a lecture, a workshop, and couple dialogue. Presenters at the retreat include Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, who will offer two CME lectures, and his wife Sue Hilgers.

Download the brochure/registration form and the poster.

February 9th – 11th, 2012 – Omaha, Nebraska
Opening Mass – 4:00 p.m. Thursday, February 9th | Departure – Sunday, February 12th

Location: Pope Paul VI Institute Chapel of the Holy Family and Comfort Inn & Suites.

A weekend retreat focusing on marriage, family, and the practice of women’s medicine in a Culture of Life.
* Daily Mass
* Silent reflection and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament
* Sessions (with lecture, workshops, couple dialogue) include:
– Idealized Visions Versus Reality
– Respect and Acceptance of Differences
– Gift–Not Demand
– A Time for Us
– Dialogue and Communication
– Sealing the Gift of Sexuality

* Continuing medical education lectures (tentative)**

What participants said…

“My husband and I would like to encourage all physicians and their spouses to come and visit with others even if you are just considering the training program. To hear and see the other strong, intelligent, capable physicians talk about their experiences of conversion and to know others like yourself are practicing successfully in the world today without contraception was a great encouragement. It was essential to me in changing my practice; it gave me the courage to do what I already believed. When my husband was also able to understand the issues, I was so worried but he became completely supportive of my decision no matter the consequences. As most people, I needed more than my conviction to live out this belief. I needed a supportive network of colleagues and a partner who believed in it with equal passion. This conference gave me both of these gifts. Thanks! ”

“The retreat was an awesome experience for us. I can’t wait for next year’s retreat.” — Spouse

“The retreat leaders were excellent.” — Physician and spouse

“Fr. Jay was an excellent retreat leader.” — Physician

“Workshops were awesome. The individual dialogue was good as well. Looking forward to our homework! The retreat was an awesome experience for us.” — Spouse

“Liked the workshop (dialogue approach). Conducive to small groups, given the nature of the topics.” — Physician

“It was a great help to hear from Dr. and Mrs. Sue Hilgers on how they balanced family life with their calling to NaPro.” –Spouse

“I thought the retreat allowed for a deeper level of discussions with my fiance than I had experienced on the engaged encounter retreat. We were also given tools to learn to work together and understand better each other’s perspectives. It is clear to me that Fr. Jay has extensive experience with married couples and hardships of the vocation of marriage. I hope that with the knowledge gained and the graces obtained in this retreat my fiance and I will be better equipped to embark on this journey called marriage.” — Physician (wedding date: June 11, 2011)

Awards Bestowed

During 2010, I was one of the recipients of the Vatican’s highest medal for healthcare workers–the Good Samaritan Medal. Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council of Healthcare Workers, bestowed the medal on me at the 5th of September 2010 closing Mass of the Pope Paul VI Institute’s 25th anniversary celebration. The Good Samaritan Medal is awarded to “those who serve the sick and the suffering in an exceptional way” (from rcdow.org.uk). As Archbishop Zimowski bestowed the medal on my wife, Sue, and me, he said, “With God’s grace and the commitment of the management, staff, and supporters, the Institute has educated practitioners, instructors, supervisors, educators, nurses, medical consultants, clergy and religious, and of course touched the lives of many mothers and families.” He lauded the efforts of the Institute–its sometimes solitary efforts–in building a culture of life in women’s health care.

On April 8th, 2011, during a ceremony at our largest-ever Education Phase, I was presented by our FertilityCareTM Educator Janina Filipczuk with the Fides et Ratio medal, which was awarded to me on the 19th of March 2011 by the Polish Catholic Scholars Guild. Janina, who received the award for me in Warsaw, was also a recipient of the award for introducing NaProTechnology to Poland. This award is given by “the Polish Catholic Scholar’s Guild for the promotion of goodness and beauty in the world” and for service to the human person and human dignity. In our spring 2011 issue of “Building a Culture of Life in Women’s Healthcare” newsletter, we have comments from Archbishop Henryk Hoser from the award ceremony.

Record Numbers Complete Training

Record Number of Practitioners Complete Pope Paul VI Institute’s Training

For Immediate Release — April 11, 2011 (Contact: Sue Hilgers, Institute Advancement, (402) 505-8949, suehilg@aol.com)

(Omaha, Nebr.) From April 2-9, 2011, 107 women’s health practitioners from the U.S., Poland, Mexico, Nigeria, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada, gathered in Omaha to complete Education Phase II of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction’s training in the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and NaProTechnology. It is the largest number of practitioners to attend the Institute’s the annual training, which has been offered for 33 consecutive years.

The Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction is the leading education and research center in the United States in the area of natural regulation of human fertility and the development of morally and professionally acceptable reproductive health services. Dedicated to Pope Paul VI’s challenge to “physicians and health care professionals” and to “men of science,” it is a living memorial to the challenges placed before us by the Pope Paul VI in his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life).

Each year, the Pope Paul VI Institute offers two Education Phases for national and international students in the following programs: Practitioner Interns, Medical Consultants, Double Program Interns (Practitioners and Medical Consultants), Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants, and Pharmacists.

Medical practitioners from around the world pose with Dr. Hilgers (back row, tan jacket)
at the Pope Paul VI Institute Education Phase II training conference in Omaha, April 2-9.

According to patient and conference attendee Joanna Najfeld of Warsaw, Poland, the Creighton Model and NaProTechnology is a revolution in women’s health.

“I strongly believe that all women deserve the empowerment that comes from self-awareness of their body, navigating their own fertility in an educated and reliable manner,” she stated. “I am going to work with couples and women, teaching them to track the symptoms of their cycles in order to navigate fertility and monitor health, and, if necessary, obtain the proper NaProTechnology diagnosis and effective treatment for infertility, miscarriages, premenstrual syndrome, post partum depression, ovarian cysts, abnormal bleeding, or whatever the problem may be. I am really looking forward to making this revolutionary FertilityCare service accessible to women in my country.”

Another attendee, Ezenkwele Ezi, an OB/GYN practicing in Enugu, Nigeria, plans to return to her country and become a medical consultant of NaProTechnology. Dr. Ezenkwele said the most striking thing she learned in the second education phase is the possible link between NaProTechnology and breast cancer.

“More research needs to be done in this area,” she explained, “but the results could possibly provide a solution to preventing the breast cancer, which would be an enormous achievement in medicine.”

Dr. Lewis D. Lipscomb, an OB/GYN practicing in Winston-Salem, NC, said that after attending Education Phase I in October, 2010, he decided to cease prescribing contraception and performing sterilization.

“I can finally go to work with a true sense of peace, knowing that I am practicing in accord with my faith, and helping to promote a culture of life, family values, and respect of sexuality,” he stated.

The Creighton Model FertilityCare System and the new women’s health science of NaProTechnology have been developed through a research and education effort coordinated and directed by Thomas W. Hilgers, MD, director of the Omaha-based Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Creighton University Medical Center.

The Creighton Model FertilityCare System provides comprehensive, professional services through individualized follow-up, standardized teaching tools and ongoing research. The Creighton Model is a medically standardized modification of the Billings Ovulation method. It is the only education program in this field that meets the education demands of a newly emerging allied health profession and provides a case management approach to teaching.

Two organizations unite Creighton Model FertilityCare Centers nationally and internationally: FertilityCare Centers of America and FertilityCare Centers International.

A highlight of the training conference was the presentation of a “Fides Et Ratio” (Faith and Reason) medal awarded to Dr. Thomas Hilgers by the Polish Catholic Scholar’s Guild. Pharmacist and Pope Paul VI Institute faculty member, Janina Filipczuk of Toronto, Canada, received the medal for Dr. Hilgers in Poland on March 19. She presented it to Dr. Hilgers, “for his faithful service of the human person and its dignity, as well as the affirmation of human fertility.”

Founded in 1985, the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction has developed a new approach to women’s health care that embodies the best principles of medicine and offers superior treatments to women and challenges mainstream medicine, which relies on contraception, in vitro fertilization, and abortion. Through the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and NaProTechnology, its healthy, moral solutions to issues in women’s health care impact the lives of thousands of women, couples, doctors, medical students, priests, and babies nationally and internationally. More than 1,000 teachers and 300 physicians have been trained in the Creighton Model System.

Thomas W. Hilgers, MD
Senior Medical Consultant
Obstetrics, Gynecology, Reproductive Medicine and Surgery
Director: Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction
Clinical Professor Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Creighton University School of Medicine

Physician Couple Retreat — You and I = We


This February, we held our first-ever physician-couple retreat, which was specifically for physicians and their spouses/fiance[e]s to strengthen these physician couples in promoting a culture of life. Our retreat master, Fr. Jaroslaw Szymczak, tailored the retreat lectures, workshops, and couple dialogue times to physician couples. I had the opportunity to present two continuing medical education lectures on NaProTechnology. We look forward to offering the second retreat in this series later this year and to offering other retreat opportunities for those whom we serve.

Pope Paul VI Institute Celebrates 25 Years ~ Celebrate Love & Life


This year, the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction–the home of FertilityCareTM and NaProTechnology–celebrates its 25th anniversary! Over Labor Day weekend, many staff, former employees, patients, friends and benefactors of the Institute joined together for a weekend of festivities here in Omaha.

Preceeding the festivities, we held a two day-long conference series. On Thursday, September 2nd, intellectuals and moral theologians presented on the pastoral directives in Pope Paul VI’s life-changing encyclical Humanae Vitae. On Friday, September 3rd, medical professionals from around the world and other interested lay people attended an international conference on the new women’s health science of NaProTechnology.

The culmination of the weekend was Saturday’s Family Fun Day. Families and friends of the Institute enjoyed inflatables, pony rides, a fire truck and smoke trailer, a police car, face painting, clowns, music, unicyclists, arcade games, testimonials, book signings, and much more! A tiered birthday cake and a drum battle between Dr. Hilgers and two of his sons crowned the day’s events!

Saturday evening was marked by a special reception and gala banquet. Raymond Arroyo, a newscaster on Eternal World Television Network and author of best-selling novels on Mother Angelica, gave a lively and enlightening talk. The weekend also included two special Masses, an opening Mass celebrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali and a closing Mass celebrated by Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski.

For coverage on the weekend’s events, visit Zenit and search for “NaProTechnology” and for “Zimowski” (articles range in dates from September 2, 2010 through September 11, 2010).

Celebrate Love & Life


This year, the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction–the home of FertilityCareTM and NaProTechnology–celebrates its 25th anniversary! We have festivities planned for this occasion in September. The Labor Day Weekend Celebration of Love & Lfe will be held here in Omaha, Nebraska, where the Institute was founded. There will be two day-long conferences preceeding the celebration.

On Thursday, September 2nd, we will hold the first-ever conference on the Pastoral Directives of Humanae Vitae. On Friday, September 3rd, medical professionals and other interested lay people can attend an international conference on the new women’s health science of NaProTechnology.

The culmination of the weekend will be Saturday’s Family Fun Day. The day of free fun to celebrate the 25th anniversary will have activities for the whole family including inflatables, pony rides, a fire truck and smoke trailer, a police car, face painting, clowns, music, unicyclists, arcade games, testimonials, book signings, and much more!

Saturday evening, there will be a special reception and gala banquet. The weekend will also start and end with two special Masses.

An amazing line-up of speakers are scheduled for the event. For more information, check out the Institute’s web site dedicated to The Labor Day Weekend Celebration of Love & Life: http://www.popepaulvi.com/celebrate-love-life.htm .