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A request for rectification of a material published in ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’

08/05/09

Dear Madam,

In accordance with Article 31 of the Press Act fo 26th January 1984, I request that you publish the following disclaimer to the article entitled ‘The Church endorses pseudo-science’ which you published on page 2 of edition no. 75 of your Lublin edition of ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ on 30th March 2008:

‘On 30th March 2009, the Lublin edition of ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ featured an article entitled ‘The Church endorses pseudo-science’ which contained incorrect and inaccurate information about NaProTechnology and other methods of treating marital infertility.

It is inaccurate and tendentious to bring to the forefront an untrue statement by Prof. Szamatowicz, namely that: ‘NaProTechnology is false science’. As supposed grounds for such an assertion, M Szamatowicz statest that: ‘in certain situations such as heavy damage to the fallopian tubes or endometriosis, NPT is practically helpless.’ Such an assertion is contrary to today’s scientific knowledge.

In cases of tubal obstruction, results obtained by classical microsurgery techniques, as reported by Gomel V. in ‘Salpingostomy by microsurgery’ (Fertility and Sterility 29; 380 – 387, 1978), are 29% pregnancy rates and not 3% as claimed by the article quoting Prof. Szamatowicz. Moreover, treatment results with the use of microsurgical techniques developed by Prof. T. Hilgers total a 58% pregnancy rate with patients followed through to 42 months after surgery (Pope Paul Vi Institute Research 2004). Success rates attained with in vitro fertilization procedures, on the other hand, as reported in ‘ 2001 Assisted Reproductive Technology Success rate: Human Services, are a live birth rate of only 27,5%. Even though time has passed, these results have not noted any improvement in subsequent years.

Where the underlying cause of infertility is endometriosis, the comparison of results of classical surgical treatment – 53.9% (reported by Jones JW, Rock JA: Restorative and Constructive Surgery of the Female Genital Tract’ Williams and Wilkins Baltimore / London 1983) with results attained by IVF – 30.8% (2001 ART Success Rate) also shows a fall in success rates over the 20 years since the introduction of ARTs. The results reported by the Institute of Pope Paul VI in 2004, however, are 78% success with patients followed for 36 months after surgery.

Recent data on the effectiveness of NaProTechnology treatment is included in the peer reviewed scientific publication: Joseph B. Stanford JB, Parnell TA, Boyle PC, ‘Outcomes from Treatment of Infertility With Natural Procreative Technology in an Irish General Practice’ which was published in 4th September 2008 in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 2008, 21: 375-384. This study follows the practice of an Irish General Practitioner in Galway in the years 1992 – 2002 during which 1239 couples came forward for infertility treatment. The average age of the women was 35.8 years, and the average time in which they were unsuccessfully trying to conceive was 5,6 years. 33% of couples had been earlier subjected to Assisted Reproductive Technologies – IVF. The pregnancy rate attained was 52%, and approx 30% of couples who had previous failed attempts at IVF also achieved live births.

The assertion that ‘In NaProTechnology the woman is an object, not an subject’ is also false. The medical examination comprised two parts: the subjective assessment and the objective assessment. The subjective assessment includes everything the patient tells us: the history taking. The objective assessment comprises the physical examination and additional tests or diagnostic examinations (laboratory, imaging by scan, surgical investigation). The basis of NaProTechnology is in depth patient assessment by interview in which the doctor obtains detailed information about the ovulatory cycle of the woman which cannot be obtained in any other way but through the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS). This represents a breakthrough in diagnostic capabilitiess even in relation to physical diagnostic procedures since their timing can be accurately fine-tuned to the individual woman’s physiological cycle, which gives the physician a much greater capacity to diagnose causes of infertility and other women’s health conditions than traditional methods alone without underpinning by this new tool. These new possibilities are based precisely on the empowering of the married couple who comes to us for treatment. It is the couple who becomes the expert of its own fertility and is to recognize its own biological rhythm, its limitation and their causes in order to work cooperatively with the CrMS instructor and the NaProTechnology physician.”

Respectfully,

Dr Maciej Barczentewicz, Obstetrician Gynaecologist
The John Paul II Foundation Institute of Marital Infertility Treatment