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Fertility doctor promoting more effective methods than IVF says women deserve to know how their body works

Professor Pilar Vigil

Expert: Professor Pilar Vigil.

A WORLD-renowned doctor says natural fertility methods can greatly improve a woman’s health over a lifetime as well as help restore fertility.

“Every woman deserves to know how her body works,” Chile’s eminent gynaecologist and clinician, Professor Pilar Vigil said, visiting Australia for the National Fertility Conference, the annual event of the Australasian Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine.

Professor Vigil is a leader in the emerging field of Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM), which aims to restore optimum health by treating underlying causes and therefore enabling natural conception to occur.

The first priority to assist timely and accurate investigation is for women to understand the physical signs – or biomarkers – indicating normal, healthy patterns of fertility and infertility in their menstrual cycle.

“Only three per cent of women around the world know what their cycle is telling them; our challenge is to inform women – they don’t know what they are missing,” Professor Vigil said.

“This knowledge is so important for a woman’s wellbeing; the power in a woman’s cycle is found in the story each cycle tells about her health.”

Professor Vigil said improving reproductive health was part of refining a person’s overall health.

Having hormonal balance is key to a woman’s wellbeing and overall health, and she is a staunch critic of contraception methods that upset a woman’s hormone balance.

“What happens nowadays is a 13 or 14 year old girl is given a contraceptive implant and this lowers the girl’s estradiol levels during her whole adolescence,” Prof Vigil said.

Estradiol is a female sex hormone that is the predominant estrogen throughout a female’s reproductive years.

This hormone has a significant impact on reproductive and sexual function as well as on other organs, including the bones.

“Of course she’s not going to get pregnant, but she’s not ovulating either, and it will have important effects for her life later on,” Prof Vigil said.

She said studies showed that women with the correct hormonal balance could have better health over their entire lifetime.

“At an early age improved resistance, then improved fertility, then prevention of diabetes for women in their 40s and 50s, later on you’re going to prevent some cancers like breast cancer and in vitro cancer,” she said.

Since 2014, the annual National Fertility Conference has brought together medical practitioners and fertility awareness instructors working toward effective fertility treatment informed by cutting edge medical research.

Treatments differ, but they sit under the umbrella of the Australasian Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine and are an alternative to assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF.

They aim to be respectful of physical, mental and spiritual health, relationships and embryonic life.

“They are all very good,” Professor Vigil said.

“Different methods of fertility awareness are like different languages.

“So I think we should be able to talk to each other. I think it is so important to have a platform that puts all of us together.

“Each method is trying to identify ovulation – and they are all trying to find the fertility window.

“Whether you are charting the mucus (which nourishes and transports the sperm), the estrogen rise, or the shift in basal temperature, or all of these together. They are all very good.”

Prof Vigil, who studied medicine at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, said her Catholic faith guided her personal and professional life.

“What I do, I do because I think it is the truth for every human being. Not only Catholics,” she said.

“Being able to read what messages are in ourselves is something that every woman around the world should know.

“This is a knowledge that is good for everybody.”

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