Natural Family Planning: Nature's Way - God's Way

42. My Experience with the Temperature Method of Regulating Birth

About thirty years ago I became interested in the basal body temperature changes during a woman's menstrual cycle. Before long I came into contact with Father Wilhelm Hillebrand (later Dr. med. h.c,), who was the first person to develop a rhythm system of Natural Family Planning that used the temperature cycle. In 1954 1 wrote a guidebook providing general instructions on the temperature method of regulating births. Part of the time I advised and regularly cared for several hundreds of patients who were planning their families with the temperature method.

In 1967 a report of the experiences during 1946-1965 could be published, including 59,566 cycles of 996 women, The longest observation of a patient was nineteen years; the average was four years and ten months. The average age was twenty-eight years and nine months. The results depended upon whether couples used the strict form or the combined form of the temperature method.

The combined form of the temperature method

Eighty percent of the couples followed this form of the method, in which days both before and after menstruation are used for intercourse. A total of 48,214 cycles of 689 women were evaluated. The number of unplanned pregnancies observed was 125, for a failure rate of 3.1 by the Pearl index.

The strict form of the temperature method

This method was used by 307 women in 11,352 cycles. According to this strict form of the temperature method, the "infertility time" lasts only from the third day of the hyperthermic (high-temperature) phase until the next menstruation. The number of unplanned pregnancies observed was 8, for a failure rate of 0.8 by the Pearl Index.

In every case after an unplanned pregnancy was reported, the patient was immediately questioned extensively in order to learn the reason for the failure. The most frequent reasons for failures were: genital contact during the fertile days, an incomplete measurement of the temperature, and a mistaken interpretation of the temperature rise, In accordance with the methodology of biostatistics, all patient errors were counted as "failures. "

There is a marked variation in the number of failures of the temperature methods reported in the literature. In our study the highest failure rate was in users of a "combined method," in which the postmenstrual infertile phase was reckoned by a calendar method. The lowest failure rate was among followers of the "strict method."

by Gerhard K. Doering, M.D.

Gerhard K. Doering was born at Schleiz in 1920. He studied medicine at Gottingen. He was assistant at the Institute of Physiology of Gottingen and at the Institutes of Gynecology of Gottingen, Muenster, Tuebigen and Munich. He served as Professor at Munich in 1959. Since 1965 he has been director of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Munich.


Next Page: 43. Use-effectiveness study
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58