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A prospective multicentre trial of the ovulation method of natural family planning. I. the teaching phase*

  • World Health Organization
    Author Footnotes
    † Reprint requests: Mr. J. M. Spieler, Task Force on Methods for the Determination of the Fertile Period, Special Programme of Research in Human Reproduction, WHO, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland.
  • Author Footnotes
    † Reprint requests: Mr. J. M. Spieler, Task Force on Methods for the Determination of the Fertile Period, Special Programme of Research in Human Reproduction, WHO, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland.
    ‡ The Task Force Investigators for this study were William Gibbons, M.D., and Francesca Kearns, R.N., Faculty of Health, San Lucas Centre, San Miguel, El Salvador; Marie-Mignon Mascarenhas, M.D., and Aloma Lobo, M.D., Family Welfare Centre, Bangalore, India; John Bonnar, M.D., and Esther Bradley, M.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Dublin, Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, Republic of Ireland; John France, Ph.D., and Margaret France, M.A., Postgraduate School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National Women’s Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand; Vicente Rosales, M.D., and Bienvenido Angeles, M.D., Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines; Henry Burger, M.D., Prince Henry’s Hospital, Medical Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia; Jeffrey Spieler, M.Sc., Special Programme of Research in Human Reproduction, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland; and Hubert Campbell, M.D., Department of Medical Statistics, Welsh School of Medicine, Cardiff, United Kingdom.
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      The percentage of 869 women in five countries capable of being taught to recognize the periovulatory cervical mucus symptom of the fertile period was determined in a prospective multicentre trial of the ovulation method of natural family planning. The women were ovulating, of proven fertility, represented a spectrum of cultures and socioeconomic levels, and ranged from illiteracy to having postgraduate education. In the first of three standard teaching cycles, 93% recorded an interpretable ovulatory mucus pattern. Eighty-eight per cent of subjects successfully completed the teaching phase; 7% discontinued for reasons other than pregnancy, including 1.3% who failed to learn the method. Forty-five subjects (5%) became pregnant during the average 3.1-cycle teaching phase. The average number of days of abstinence required by the rules of the method was 17 in the third teaching cycle (582% of the average cycle length). To what extent the findings of this study can be extended to other couples remains to be demonstrated.
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