FERTILITY specialist Cathryn Marshall is on a mission to rid the world of the agony of infertility and she’s looking for other women to join her.
Since 2015, the Brisbane-based fertility practitioner and registered nurse has helped hundreds of women and couples fall pregnant using a natural, Church-approved method, the Creighton Method FertilityCare System.
Now the mother-of-four has taken her mission to the next level after receiving qualifications to train aspiring practitioners the ins and outs of the system.
With more practitioners available in Australia, Mrs Marshall said more women could achieve their dreams of starting a family.
“My vision is a world free of infertility,” Mrs Marshall said.
Developed in 1980 by American physician Dr Thomas Hilgers, who founded the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, Creighton is a natural fertility awareness-based method that teaches women to observe their naturally-occurring phases of fertility and infertility, or when they can and cannot fall pregnant in any given month.
Unlike other methods, Creighton also operates alongside a new women’s health science also developed by Dr Hilgers, NaPro Technology, that monitors and maintains reproductive and gynaecological health.
Women and couples who learn the method from a certified practitioner like Mrs Marshall are required to chart and observe biological markers daily, which can then be interpreted by a physician trained in NaPro Technology.
Biomarkers can pinpoint abnormalities in a woman’s health, including endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, recurring miscarriage and even cervical cancer.
Mrs Marshall said the medical backup that Creighton offered made it a more appealing business than other natural family-planning methods.
“It’s more than just women charting their cycling and finding a nice pattern, that charting can lead to them getting the treatment they need for whatever is going on with their reproductive or gynaecological health,” she said.
Based in Woolloongabba at the Magnolia FertilityCare, Mrs Marshall’s clients on average fall pregnant within 12 months, though it depends on underlying issues.
At least half of her total client base are non- Christians, and many find her business while researching natural alternatives to IVF.
“I’ve had about five inquiries just recently and it’s all been women knowing that there’s got to be a better way than IVF, they just don’t know where to find it,” Mrs Marshall said.
Despite the success rates of Creighton, the number of practitioners teaching the method in Australia have slumped, possibly because many are raising children of their own.
“I think that’s the main thing with a lot of the practitioners in Brisbane lately, is they’ve got young families and family needs become more intense as kids get older as well,” Mrs Marshall said.
“So just trying to maintain that work-life balance has become a little bit harder.”
To combat this problem, Mrs Marshall trained to become a Creighton educator, a program open to Creighton practitioners only, to train aspiring practitioners in Australia.
She is the first Queensland practitioner and only the second woman in Australia qualified to teach the Creighton model to future allied health professionals.
Mrs Marshall is now taking applications for her 13-month training program, which includes two live-in immersion programs at Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre, Ormiston, plus on-site visits from Mrs Marshall.
“I’m planning it for February next year on the hopes that at least the Australian borders will all be open,” she said.
“I’ll be running the first phase in February, the second phase in August, and then just after that August portion, the educator has to go to where the practitioner lives and do an on-site visit.”
Practitioners are expected to teach 18 clients by the end of the training, which will cost participants just over $9000 including accommodation costs.
But Mrs Marshall said price shouldn’t be a deterrent, as more than half the cost could be recuperated during the training program, making it a profitable and life-giving business opportunity.
Mrs Marshall said the work was well suited to women with older children who were not ready to retire, but applications to the program were open to all women.
Mrs Marshall said while Creighton could be seen as a ministry, she saw it as “a Kingdom business”.
“There is that aspect where it’s a ministry, but at the same time God needs us to feed our families and this is an amazing way for women to be able to do that in the comfort of their own home really,” she said.
“I’m of the mindset that it’s a Kingdom business, I’m building this for the Kingdom of God, so if I can financially do well, that means I can feed the Kingdom, I can feed back into God’s Kingdom.”