The Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction was founded in 1985 to answer the call for reproductive health care that fully respects life. The challenges in Pope Paul VI's 1968 letter Humanae Vitae prompted Thomas W. Hilgers, MD, to begin scientific research in the applications of natural fertility regulation and to open the Pope Paul VI Institute in order to build a culture of life in women's health care throughout the world. The Institute 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.
Its healthy, moral solutions to issues in women's health care impacts the lives of thousands of women, couples, doctors, medical students, priests, and babies on national and international levels. The Institute's developments — Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System and NaProTechnology— are building a culture of life in women's health care through its current programs and services.
Today, the Institute is located in Omaha, Nebraska, and is a 14,000-square-foot international research, education, medical, and service center. With a staff of 22 full- and part-time professionals and a mere annual budget of $1 million, the Institute is dedicated to continuing its founding mission to build a culture of life in women's health care throughout the world.
Real Problems...Unreal Solutions — Current Reproductive Medicine
The artificial reproductive technologies were introduced with the birth control pill in 1960. These last 55 years of artificial reproductive technology represents fertility control in areas on family planning and reproductive health. It employs contraception, sterilization, abortion, and in vitro fertilization (abortive). Artificial reproductive technologies are now considered the only option for couples with reproductive and gynecological health problems and concerns. Physicians have stopped looking for the causes of the conditions and treatment is aimed only at the treatment of the symptoms.
Oral contraceptives, which are potentially abortifacient, provide only symptomatic treatment when prescribed for women's health problems, and they do not affect the underlying causes. The birth control pill is used to "treat" menstrual cramps, recurrent ovarian cysts, abnormal bleeding, premenstrual syndrome, acne, irregular cycles, and endometriosis. Abortion is used to "treat" high-risk pregnancies. In vitro fertilization is used to "treat" infertility and miscarriages. These unreal solutions to real problems are all abortive approaches.
Real Problems...Real Solutions — Pope Paul VI Institute
The Institute networked a natural system of fertility regulation—the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System (CrMS)—with a women's health science—NaProTechnology. These provide effective, morally acceptable, and sexually healthy options for women and couples. The CrMS and NaProTechnology enable couples to reconnect love and life in the area of fertility regulation and in reproductive and gynecologic health.
Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System— A natural fertility tracking that generates standardized information about women's reproductive health and enables couples to achieve or avoid pregnancy effectively. It is the only system that can be used with NaProTechnology to help diagnose and treat reproductive health problems.
NaProTechnology — (natural procreative technology) A new women's health science that uses the Creighton Model System to help a woman reach her optimal state of reproductive health. Its medical and surgical approaches, developed over decades of research and now emerging in peer-reviewed medical literature achieve real solutions to problems such as infertility, problem periods, pelvic pain, miscarriage, and postpartum depression. In the summer of 2004, a major medical textbook, "The Medical & Surgical Practice of NaProTechnology", authored by Dr. Hilgers, was published. This textbook is a compilation of almost 30 years of dedicated research and provides a strong professional case for doctors and medical schools. In 2010, a book for the general public, "The NaProTechnology Revolution: Unleashing the Power in a Woman's Cycle", will be released.
About Dr. Hilgers
Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers is the discoverer of NaProTechnology and the founder of the Pope Paul VI Institute. His first research in the natural means to regulate fertility was conducted in 1968 as a senior medical student. After completing his residency at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo, Dr. Hilgers became a geographic full-time member of the faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Louis University School of Medicine. He established the St. Louis University Natural Family Planning Center, a research center funded by research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Missouri Division of Health. This work was brought to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine in July 1977 with the establishment of the Creighton University Natural Family Planning Education and Research Center. During this time, Hilgers and his co-workers developed the CREIGHTON MODEL FertilityCare™ System.
Dr. Hilgers is a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine. He is also a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1976) and the American Board of Laser Surgery (1988). He is the only member in the State of Nebraska of the prestigious Society of Reproductive Surgeons.
Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D., is the director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Nebraska. He is currently a senior medical consultant in obstetrics, gynecology, reproductive medicine and surgery at the Pope Paul VI Institute and is the director of the Institute's National Center for Women's Health. He currently serves as the medical director of the Pope Paul VI Institute's dedicated Reproductive Ultrasound Center, which is nationally accredited by the Ultrasound Practice Accreditation Commission of the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine. He is also the medical director of the Institute's National Reproductive Hormone Laboratory, which is a dedicated reference laboratory for reproductive hormone studies. John Vasiliades, PhD, serves as technical director of that laboratory, which is fully licensed for interstate commerce.
Through the leadership of Dr. Hilgers, the education programs of the Pope Paul VI Institute have become both national and international in scope. Over 1,000 teachers of the CREIGHTON MODEL System and 300 physicians have been trained. Now, several off-campus Creighton Model education programs have also been developed.
Dr. Hilgers, who has been involved in education and research throughout his professional life, has authored several books and numerous research articles, mostly in the areas of reproductive medicine and surgery. He is the author of nearly 110 professional books, book chapters, and articles. He has also produced eleven videotapes, numerous audiotapes, and presented seven different poster sessions at professional meetings.
In addition, he is the recipient of five different research awards including an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts and an honorary doctorate of Public Health from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. In 1994, Pope John Paul II appointed him to full membership in the Pontifical Academy for Life and with his wife, Susan he served for five years on the Pontifical Council for the Family. In 1997, the Nebraska Family Council named Dr. Hilgers Physician of the Year. In 2001, he was presented with the John Cardinal Wright Award by the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and in 2004 he was the recipient of the Linacre Award, one of the highest awards given by the Catholic Medical Association. The Hilgers are the parents of four sons and one daughter.
A list of professional organizations that have participated in the independent and voluntary review of the work being conducted by Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D., and the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction:
1. American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (certification by training, written and oral examination)
2. American Board of Laser Surgery (a review of 25 cases plus an eight hour written examination)
3. Society of Reproductive Surgeons (an 18 month case load review)
4. Creighton University School of Medicine Division of Continuing Medical Education (all CME offerings of the Pope Paul VI Institute)
5. American Academy of Family Physicians (CME review)
6. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (CME review)
7. American Medical Association (CME review)
8. Ultrasound Practice Accreditation Commission of the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine (clinical case review and accreditation of the Institute's dedicated ultrasound division)
9. Nebraska Health and Human Services System (review of Pope Paul VI Institute's National Hormone Laboratory)
10. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Care Financing Administration for the Pope Paul VI Institute's National Hormone Laboratory CLIA certification for Interstate Commerce
11. College of American Pathologists (laboratory quality control)
12. Inter-laboratory Comparison Program from Bio-Rad Laboratories
13. Pope Paul VI Institute FertilityCare™ Allied Health Education Program (reviewed and accredited by American Academy of FertilityCare™ Professionals; program meets standards of the Academy, which are the highest in this field)
14. FertilityCare™ Center of Omaha (formal approval from the American Academy of FertilityCare™ Professionals Commission on Service Program Approval)
15. FertilityCare™ Center of Omaha (official affiliate of the FertilityCare™ Centers of America)
In addition to the above, the following formal affiliations exist with the Pope Paul VI Institute:
- Creighton University
- University of Nebraska Medical Center (currently inactive)
- Methodist College of Nursing - Ultrasound Department.
The Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction is a multi-faceted organization which dedicates its programs of research, education, ethics, and service to building strong marriages and healthy families. As the Institute pursues the development of a morally and professionally acceptable reproductive health service, it is committed to the development of a culture of life based on responsible parenthood, responsible fertility regulation, and ethical means for the treatment of infertility and related reproductive disorders. Taking its direction from the wisdom of the Roman Catholic tradition, the Pope Paul VI Institute has been built on the rock of faith, continues to take its strength from that faith, and looks forward to serving God's people into the third millennium by the light of that faith.