Diocese of Parramatta

Newfound Hope through LMF’s Inaugural Seminar for Married Couples Hoping to Conceive

The Diocese of Parramatta held its first seminar for couples hoping to conceive, entitled “Waiting for Gabriel” on Sunday 20th November, 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, was thrilled to have the unique opportunity to have all three systems of natural fertility awareness methods presented in the one event.

An opportunity where educators from all three disciplines come together and work collaboratively to provide couples with the most complete and thorough presentation of their options is a new occurrence. It’s 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 just limited to those attending. “Having three methods together has been extremely nourishing professionally”, 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, Bourne had attended the National Fertility Conference “Restoring Fertility Holistically” in Melbourne, only the third one of its kind, in which members from all natural fertility disciplines, as well as an array of NaProTechnology doctors, surgeons, GP’s and psychologists, were present. The focus of the national conference was centred around restorative practice through NaPro Technology to assist couples experiencing infertility. A relatively new approach to addressing infertility, NaPro Technology (Natural Procreative Technology) aims to identify the various causes of infertility and to directly treat them, with success rates significantly higher than that of IVF (in vitro fertilisation). Studies[1] show that the success rates of NaPro Technology ranging between 38%-82% depending on the cause of infertility, whereas the success rates for IVF range between 21%-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 NaPro Technology. With Billings Ovulation Method educator, Margaret Coakley, and Sympto Thermal Method educator, Bourne, the afternoon was well rounded with information. Two couple testimonies balanced this out with 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, Fr Paul Roberts of the Parramatta Diocese provided a spiritual element in the form of a thoughtful reflection which incorporated both scriptural and practical input.

And the way forward from here? Life, Marriage and Family Director, Ben Smith feels this is a positive start to what he hopes will be an annual event as part of the greater effort to provide married couples within the Parramatta Diocese 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 T: (02) 8838 3460 E: nfs@parra.catholic.org.au


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.


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

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