Newfound Hope for Married Couples Hoping to Conceive

'Waiting for Gabriel' seminar provides information about Natural Family Planning.
Image: Shutterstock.

From the Life, Marriage & Family Office

The Diocese of Parramatta held its first seminar for couples hoping to conceive, entitled ‘Waiting for Gabriel’, on Sunday 20 November 2016 in Blacktown. Couples from various stages of life attended, whether engaged and preparing for marriage, recently married, married for several years, or married with some children.

Catherine Bourne, who coordinates Natural Fertility Services within the Life, Marriage & Family Office in the Diocese of Parramatta, was thrilled to have the unique opportunity to have all three methods of natural fertility awareness presented in the one event.

An opportunity for educators from all three disciplines to come together and work collaboratively to provide couples with the most complete and thorough presentation of their options was a new occurrence. It is a big step towards ensuring a couple-centred approach where they can access all the information and choose the method that may best suit them.

But the benefits of this collaboration were not limited to those attending. “Having three methods together has been extremely nourishing professionally,” Catherine Bourne explained. “To have input from educators of other methods makes us all the more sure of the effectiveness of these methods and accountable to our own and its thorough teaching.”

This move towards collaboration appears to be a new way forward nationally as well. Just two months prior, Catherine Bourne had attended the National Fertility Conference ‘Restoring Fertility Holistically’ in Melbourne.

This was only the third one of its kind, in which members from all natural fertility disciplines, as well as an array of NaProTECHNOLOGY doctors, surgeons, GPs and psychologists, were present.

The focus of the national conference was centred around restorative practice through NaProTECHNOLOGY to assist couples experiencing infertility. A relatively new approach to addressing infertility, NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) aims to identify the various causes of infertility and to treat them directly, with success rates significantly higher than that of IVF (in vitro fertilisation). Studies [1] show that the success rates of NaProTECHNOLOGY range between 38% and 82% depending on the cause of infertility, whereas the success rates for IVF range between 21% and 24%.

And it was with this restoration of reproductive health in mind that the weekend’s seminar featured guest speaker Dr Van Nguyen, who brought a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area of Creighton Charting and NaProTECHNOLOGY. With Billings Ovulation Method educator, Margaret Coakley, and Sympto-Thermal Method educator, Catherine Bourne, the afternoon was well rounded with information.

Two couple testimonies provided a personal touch as they took attending couples on the story of their own journeys through infertility with both tears and laughter.

With both the informative and the personal presented, Very Rev Paul Roberts EV, Director of the diocesan Institute for Mission, provided a spiritual element in the form of a thoughtful reflection, which incorporated both scriptural and practical input.

And the way forward from here? Ben Smith, Director of the Life, Marriage and Family Office, said it was a positive start to what he hopes will be an annual event as part of the greater effort to provide married couples within the Diocese of Parramatta with newfound hope through information they may not have previously encountered.

To access private and confidential instruction and information about natural fertility awareness, please contact the Life, Marriage & Family Office, tel (02) 8838 3460 or

We offer instruction in the three methods of Natural Family Planning: The Billings Ovulation Method®, The Sympto-Thermal Method and Creighton Model FertilityCare System. These methods are available to all women wanting to know about their reproductive health and couples trying to conceive a child or space children. They are suitable for all stages of life including breastfeeding, peri menopausal and those with irregular cycles. Watch the video.

[1] NaPro data from the Pope Paul VI Institute of Research, 2004; Sharma, 2002; Guzick, 1986


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