Regulation menstrual cycle with hormones and using the rhythm method


#1

I tried to get answers for this question but I did not get an answer from the “Ask an Apologist” forum.

I try to draw the situation again in this thread. The issue is birth control for very serious medical reasons and if the NFP does not work as they should (sorry NFP’s guys, I totally disagree with you about NFP, theoretically the work, but practically depends on the person: I have friends that went trough different courses and learned the symptom-thermal method and have now new unwanted although beloved babies).

We have to remember why contraception is a sin. It is a sin when before, in or after the sexual act the spouses use any kind of mean to render it sterile. It is not a sin to regulate ovulation or the levels of hormones by itself.

The sin is the act itself, not the prevention of ovulation or the regulation of hormones. If a couple make use of the pill to regulate the menstrual cycle and abstain from sex when fecundation would theoretically be possible based on a rhythm method, is that a sin? They have sexual contact only in the phase that by the rhythm method (now regulate tightly) is labeled as infertile, I do not see where the problem is. Yes, they make sure that the infertile phases are really infertile, but this is an indirect consequence of the use of the pill: according to the rhythms method they are already infertile “naturally”.

But if there is a problem with allowing or not ovulation to occur here an alternative method: to regulate the level of hormones (primolut-nor)** ONLY** in the second part of the cycle to assure a constant menstrual cycle, stop taking it to induce the bleeding and abstain from sex when ovulation (now planed) is REALLY occurring around day 14. Where is the moral problem with this method?

Merry Christmas to you all.

Jose


#2

[quote=josea]I tried to get answers for this question but I did not get an answer from the “Ask an Apologist” forum.

I try to draw the situation again in this thread. The issue is birth control for very serious medical reasons and if the NFP does not work as they should (sorry NFP’s guys, I totally disagree with you about NFP, theoretically the work, but practically depends on the person: I have friends that went trough different courses and learned the symptom-thermal method and have now new unwanted although beloved babies).

We have to remember why contraception is a sin. It is a sin when before, in or after the sexual act the spouses use any kind of mean to render it sterile. It is not a sin to regulate ovulation or the levels of hormones by itself.

The sin is the act itself, not the prevention of ovulation or the regulation of hormones. If a couple make use of the pill to regulate the menstrual cycle and abstain from sex when fecundation would theoretically be possible based on a rhythm method, is that a sin? They have sexual contact only in the phase that by the rhythm method (now regulate tightly) is labeled as infertile, I do not see where the problem is. Yes, they make sure that the infertile phases are really infertile, but this is an indirect consequence of the use of the pill: according to the rhythms method they are already infertile “naturally”.

But if there is a problem with allowing or not ovulation to occur here an alternative method: to regulate the level of hormones (primolut-nor)** ONLY** in the second part of the cycle to assure a constant menstrual cycle, stop taking it to induce the bleeding and abstain from sex when ovulation (now planed) is REALLY occurring around day 14. Where is the moral problem with this method?

Merry Christmas to you all.

Jose
[/quote]

The most pertinent part of your quote is this: It is not a sin to regulate ovulation or the levels of hormones by itself.

Yes, it is a sin. The Pill is contraception, and contraception is always a moral evil and a mortal sin. The intent of supressing ovulation is to make oneself sterile. The Pope specifically addressed this issue (hormonal contraceptives, the Pill) in the encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1967. Please look up Humanae Vitae on the web.

Always and everywhere contraception is wrong. The pill is no different than any other contraceptive. You cited that it is illicit to render the act steril before, during, or after. The pill renders the act sterile before, during, and/or after by one of three methods:

  1. supressing ovulation as its primary function. Yes, this is rendering the sex act sterile.

  2. changing the mucus to slow sperm transport. Yes, this is an attempt to render the sex act sterile.

  3. changing the endometrium to render it hostile to implantation thereby aborting a baby conceived if 1 & 2 fail. This is the worst action of the pill and is estimated to happen somewhere between 10 and 30% of the time.

All three of these action of the Pill make it immoral to ever consider.

You may disagree with NFP’s effectiveness (although there are many studies that show its effectiveness), but please recall that NFP is an alternative to complete abstinence, not an alternative to contraception. If a person has a very serious reason to avoid pregnancy, they should abstain until such time as they do not have a reason.

If they cannot remain abstinent completely, they can use very conservative NFP rules to engage in relations.


#3

I would like to respectfully disagree with you. The Catholic Church has always approved of use of the pill for legitimate medical reasons. There was a question similar to this on the “Ask an Apologist” thread. I think it is buried somewhere on a previous page. Whether or not you could actually control ovulation by taking the pill for a short period of time each month is a different question. I think it is a medical question rather than a moral question. It was unclear just what kind of medical problem that this person had, so it was hard to tell whether or not she would be justified in taking the pill for medical reasons.


#4

[quote=Listener]I would like to respectfully disagree with you. The Catholic Church has always approved of use of the pill for legitimate medical reasons. There was a question similar to this on the “Ask an Apologist” thread. I think it is buried somewhere on a previous page. Whether or not you could actually control ovulation by taking the pill for a short period of time each month is a different question. I think it is a medical question rather than a moral question. It was unclear just what kind of medical problem that this person had, so it was hard to tell whether or not she would be justified in taking the pill for medical reasons.
[/quote]

Yes, absolutely, the principle of double effect would apply if one were taking the Pill to treat a disease. However, please reread the original post. He specifically states that the Pill would be used as “birth control for serious health reasons”, not as a treatment for a condition. In that case, the principle of double effect does NOT apply. The intent is purely contraceptive, not a tolerated effect of an intent to treat a disease.


#5

I think you did not get it. The use of hormones is not a sin itself. What is a sin is to have marital relations knowing that the woman can not get pregnant due to the use of hormones.
What I was proposing here is that one uses hormones to regulate the cycle, to have an exact way to use the rythm method. I do not think this is a sin at all. Then, one abstains form sex when it is known the woman can get pregnant based in the rythm method. The couple only have sex in the infertile phase that, by the way, as a second effect, was also rended infertile due to the hormone treatment (see my first post).
Sometimes is difficult to see the issue here. The defenders of the NFP call much attention to the idea of abstention using the method, but this is not what is morally judge. What is important here is the morality of the sexual act and when and how it ocurrs.
Regards,
Jose


#6

I just love the excuses on why people refuse to use NFP. First it isn’t a the rythym method, as you know there are other methods. I hear the “I had a friend who did NFP and got pregnant,” doesn’t make you a sound judge of the method. It is like thinking your a lawyer, because your uncle is a judge.

Well know you know me. I’m someone who has been using it for four years, and well very two expected children. Not to be graphic, but my husband and I do have sex. I’m willing to bet more then the average couple. We just space our marital relations differently, grouping them in non-fertile phases of my cycle.

Just like the pill it works in theory, but not is practice. I know plenty of family and friends who got pregnant on the pill, of course the never blame the pill or their misuse of it; they are just “really fertile”. And those are the ones who actually had the baby, many people get pregnant on the pill up to a 10% chance but never know it because the conceived life is aborted before a chance to implant in the womb.

Good news is that you acknowledge NFP does work, you know it is a person problem not a science problem. Start from there. A great secular website is www.tcoyf.com on the subject.

And the answer it is a sin, and pumping in all those hormones can make a woman a little cranky i.e. b@tchy. I don’t recommend it.


#7

Dear Renee1258,

It looks to me that the fans of NFP get disturbed if somebody does not accept them as a perfect method for birth control. Actually they are not. Good if you can use them with reliability and your life is not at risk with a new pregnancy!. I know that there are a lot of persons out there that can not use them. That is why I always say that in theory they are perfect, but in the praxis there are more “mistakes” using NFP than using other methods. That number is bever given by the defenders of NFP.
Please, think a bit about it.
Now, here the discussion is about the morality of the act not about the excuses or not excuses about using NFP or if they are the best “way of life” for our marital relationship not even about if you have more or less sex using NFP.

I detect a kind of fundamentalism regarding the use of NFP. And as every fundamentalism makes people blind about facts.
Pitty that you do not know about the whole history about the theological discussions regarding birth control along the centuries. It is not a easy issue.
Regards,
Jose


#8

Josea,

I’m not sure I fully understand the hypothetical situation here. You wrote:

Yes, they make sure that the infertile phases are really infertile, but this is an indirect consequence of the use of the pill

So, they are not taking the pill in order to render themselves more infertile. That is not one of their intentions. What is their intention, if it is not to reduce or alter fertility?

Are you implying that they take it to ovulate every 28 days rather than every 32 days or something? And this is their only goal, i.e. they would still take the pill to achieve this 28 days even if it had no effect whatsoever on their fertility/sex life?


#9

1.) The Birth Control Pill does not Regulate Cycles
a.) The BCP creates a pseudo cycle that does not contain normal ovulation (breakthrough ovulation may still occur)
b.) The use of progesterone in the third phase of the cycle to help maintain levels of progesterone and create a more balanced cycle is licit but should be followed up with sympto-thermal observations to avoid ceasing the supplement when an early pregnancy is under gestation and ceasing the supplement would cause abortus conceptus (the supplement is the mechanism that is sustaining the pregnancy and then as regular means should be continued for 3-4 months.
c.) The BCp creates a simulated pregnancy condition in the body until it is discontinued and then a bleeding episode occurs.
d.) The pill could be taken for a valid medical treatment of a medical condition. However, if she is married she should not engage in relations due to the ability of the pill to kill a newly conceived child.
2.) What is contraception
a.) that which renders the act sterile
b.) Anything that inhibits ovulation or makes the act sterile is contraception.
c.) it does not have to occur with the act but can occur before or after the act.
3.) if this couple is regulating the third phase of the cycle to keep a constant luteal phase (progesterone in phase III only) then it does not act with a contraceptive effecty.
4.) almost all women have a constant luteal phase and thus this treatment is more for depression and menstrual issues.
5.) In regards to NFP
a.) systematic and sympto-thermal NFP is effective
b.) if a couple has serious (life threatening) reasons to avoid pregnancy then a conservative (+1 extra day) phase III rule and relations only in Phase III would be highly advised.
c.) in practicum most unplanned pregnancies are from lack of motivation and not method failure. Either not wanting to follow the guidelines for fertility/infertility or not keeping vigilant (not terribly hard once you are used to practicing the method) watch over the different signs.
d.) Many unplanned pregnancies are unplanned but no suprise.
6.) Rythm doesn’t work.
a.) this is due to inconsistent pre-ovulation and delayed ovulation times.
7.) Even if
a.) Even if NFP doesnt work for you
b.) that doesn’t make contraception right
c.) I would advise contacting CCL or Billings for help


#10

[quote=josea]Pitty that you do not know about the whole history about the theological discussions regarding birth control along the centuries.
[/quote]

http://home.houston.rr.com/mchance3/rolleyes.gif

The real “pitty” is when one of the focal points of a rebuttal involves attributing ignorance to the other party.

– Mark L. Chance.


#11

[quote=CatholicMatthew]1.) The Birth Control Pill does not Regulate Cycles
7.) Even if
a.) Even if NFP doesnt work for you
b.) that doesn’t make contraception right
c.) I would advise contacting CCL or Billings for help
[/quote]

Great post! :thumbsup:

Someone could also contact the Pope Paul VI Inst for help too. Dr Hilgers has done so much much work in this area.


#12

[quote=josea]Dear Renee1258,

It looks to me that the fans of NFP get disturbed if somebody does not accept them as a perfect method for birth control. Actually they are not. Good if you can use them with reliability and your life is not at risk with a new pregnancy!. I know that there are a lot of persons out there that can not use them. That is why I always say that in theory they are perfect, but in the praxis there are more “mistakes” using NFP than using other methods. That number is bever given by the defenders of NFP.
Please, think a bit about it.
Now, here the discussion is about the morality of the act not about the excuses or not excuses about using NFP or if they are the best “way of life” for our marital relationship not even about if you have more or less sex using NFP.

I detect a kind of fundamentalism regarding the use of NFP. And as every fundamentalism makes people blind about facts.
Pitty that you do not know about the whole history about the theological discussions regarding birth control along the centuries. It is not a easy issue.
Regards,
Jose
[/quote]

It is an easy issue. People want sex on demand without the natural normal consequences of ovulation, i.e. open to life. It has been around for centuries. Something called selfishness, nothing complex about it all. NFP practices self control and respect of the human body.

NFP is perfect. People aren’t. That is where you are getting confused. That is why people don’t like NFP, they can’t blame the condom or the Pill. They have to say we had sex during a fertile phase and take responsibility.

I’ve studied NFP for about five years now. I’m up against a multi-billion dollar market of birth control products. The pharmacutical companies would go into a tail spin if there was an effective and free way of determining whether a woman was fertile or not. They are trying to make you buy something.

They lobby the politicians and snuggle with the FDA, for the power to put cute music montages call it a commercial to promote that women need to be medicated as if their bodies were diseased. We need to rid our bodies of ovulation to be satisfying for men at all times.

And before you pity me publicly on the internet for being rather ignorant, I would like to let you know I study intensively on lobbying efforts and political fundraising when I was in under graduate studies, and now I’m a sucessful self-employed attorney.

My husband are in no risk of having an unwanted pregnancy. We do not risk it on faultiness of a condom or the Pill. In you accusation that NFP isn’t perfect, you are claiming that the Pill is. Technically abortion is perfect, because it is full proof way of getting rid of the pregnancy.

I’m sure your friends must love their unexpectant surprise of a new child. This child came out of a beautiful act of marital embrace and you call it unwanted. You have no probelm telling all of us on the internet that this child is unloved by you, do you have plans on telling your friend how you feel? How about the child when s/he is old enough?

Like I said it isn’t a complex issue, it is selfishness. You don’t care what crazy hormones a woman must endure for you to have the please of sex without consequences. Over the centuries people have done some freakish things to their bodies to mutilate themselves, but people get their undies in a wedgie if you just tell them to abstain.


#13

Josea this is from your very first post.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=341518#post341518

The first one is that my wife has no regular cycles and she does not trust the natural methods because one can easily make mistakes, she is terrified with the idea of being in death danger. Our sexual relationship is now restricted to few days before and after her menstruation if we are lucky.

Actually you are using a natural, very unrealiable, and outdated method called rhythym. So now I’m really irked that you called me a fundamentalist.

What is a regular cycle? That is a term the pharmacutical companies came up with. A normal cycle can rage from 24 to 36 days, cycle to cycle. Even long cycles I had post partum and partially breast feeding, I could properly chart. Why can’t you use a more conservative rules to increase the amount by a day or two or three. You admit in this post, that NFP works it is you and your wife worried about making the mistake.

Now this is a very serious concern regarding your wife, but you are still allowed to have sex and even a few times in a cycle with three children to care for that is pretty good. How much sex do you really want and at what consequence? It isn’t really about having or not having sex realtions, it is about having it at any time you want it.


#14

[quote=josea]I think you did not get it. The use of hormones is not a sin itself. What is a sin is to have marital relations knowing that the woman can not get pregnant due to the use of hormones.
What I was proposing here is that one uses hormones to regulate the cycle, to have an exact way to use the rythm method. I do not think this is a sin at all. Then, one abstains form sex when it is known the woman can get pregnant based in the rythm method. The couple only have sex in the infertile phase that, by the way, as a second effect, was also rended infertile due to the hormone treatment (see my first post).
Sometimes is difficult to see the issue here. The defenders of the NFP call much attention to the idea of abstention using the method, but this is not what is morally judge. What is important here is the morality of the sexual act and when and how it ocurrs.
Regards,
Jose
[/quote]

No, what you propse is contraception. Again, I urge you to read Humanae Vitae. Anything that bhefore, during, or after the marital act that renderes the act sterilr is contraception. That is what you propose.

Again, NFP is an aternative to abstinence, not to contracpetion.


#15

Dear Renee1258,

Sorry if I offended you, this was not my intention.
When I talked about fundamentalism I did not refeer to you but to the fact that many people defending NFP talk only about how effective they are but not about how many mistakes people make using them. Please go and teach the method for a year in Africa and see how effective they can be. The simply are not OK for every couple. Let me talk about us personally to make the point clear for once: We used the sympto-thermal method before and we had to leave it because the temperature did not work for my wife (you need to have a strict way of life to practice this) because WE were getting up several time at night to care about our other three children, or becuase we were going until late to the cinema or because we drunk a bit or because she got simply a deregulation of her body temperature due to exaustion, a cold or days of hard work etc…
The cervical mucus did not work neither because very very often she had infections and apart form that, for months, the mucus was very often the same in appareance (we are both doctor in biology, we know what we are talking about). The we decided to go back to the old insecure rythm method as you know to have a bit of the unitive aspect of marriage before we got crazy with charts, thermometers and mucus.
To your information, I do not want my wife to be on hormones the rest of her life because my “interest” on sex. I tell you that, for years we have sex only a couple of times at month if we were lucky. And we are practicing according to the teachings of the Church. To your information she was the one suggesting to take the pill with the advice of the doctors, she has not taken any decision yet and I am ot going “to put my wife on hormones” because of sex. I was asking here if it would be possible to take a medication in order to get a very regular cycle and then to abstain from sex using the rythm method because the only use of NFP does not work for us.
Interestingly this method is the one used by our friends (remember they are no Cafeteria Catholics as some of you talk here about your brothers) from Opus Dei because they could not use the normal sympto-thermal methods. And this method (taking medication (hormones) in the third part of the cycle) was adviced and recomended by some Opus Dei doctors.

I said that there is some fundamentalism among the posts here because it is always said that the pill is abortifacient. NO if one use the two methods, NO if one abstains from sex when ovulation could ocurr. But it does not matter what I say here, they always go back to the same old issues.

I was asking about a problem we have, my wife an me, and that it was the same problem of those friends of us some years ago. They are from Opus Dei, they have already five children they studied and went to different courses to learn NFP, and they use the natural methods in a very serious way. He is a medical doctor. What happened is that she got pregnant twice. They did not want another child but they have now two more due to the mistakes she/he made using NFP. The children are beloved by the parents and from all of us. But please, do not be hypocrite: If a couple is using NFP is because they do not want to have another child. Point.
Children, consequences of mistakes from NFP or pill or condoms are not planned, they are “unwanted” but they can be loved if they come. Please, do not twist the argument.

I am going to leave this forum no because we are going to use ABC, we are serious catholics and we will never use them, but because I tried to get an “intellectual” reason no to do it and to understand the teachings of the Church but I could not get a reasonable and convincing explanation why the ABC methods can not be used to make sure that the INFERTILE phases of a woman
cycle remain really infertile as by using a combination of NFP, allowing ovulation and hormones to get a constant luteal phase.

Good for you guys that can use the NFP without problems and without sinning (it would be interesting to know what are the SERIOUS reasons many people have to use NFP) and please, do not be so quick judging people’s intentions. Sorry for my English, I am Spanish.

Regards,
Jose


#16

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