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Planning or Postponing Pregnancy
STATEMENT TO THE 25th SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY for an Overall Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Istanbul+5) read to the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole, June 7, 2001, by Susan Fryer,BA (Soc.) NGO representing WOOMB International Inc., on behalf of the Caucus for the Advancement of the Billings Ovulation Method, C.A.B.O.M. (translated into six languages and circulated)

Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for this opportunity to tell you about the World Organisation Ovulation Method/Billings, (known as WOOMB International) and to explain how its work is relevant to this conference.

WOOMB is an entirely volunteer, non-profit organization, incorporated in Los Angeles in 1977. Its objective is to teach every woman in the world the facts of her fertility and how to use this information to achieve or avoid pregnancy. This is a basic skill, like knowing how to feed a baby, which is passed down from one generation to the next.. Studies all over the world have demonstrated that, with this basic knowledge, couples can plan their families naturally with confidence and without mechanical or chemical use.

The Billings Ovulation Method was developed over several decades by an international team of medical researchers and clinicians, led by Drs. John and Evelyn Billings of Australia. It is based on a woman's vulval observations of what she feels and sees and is not to be confused with the rhythm or temperature methods. Where it is known and practised it is acclaimed as both the most effective way of avoiding pregnancy, even when cycles are irregular, and as a primary treatment of infertility. Professor James Brown, an internationally renowned endocrinologist, has used the method to achieve pregnancies in many couples whose infertility is of undertermined cause without prior investigation or the expensive intervention of fertility experts.

The spread of the Billings Ovulation Method throughout the world has been remarkable. It is now taught on an organized basis in over one hundred countries on every continent. Dr. Evelyn Billings' book "The Billings Method"" has been translated into 22 languages and over 50 million copies have been sold. The most frequent reactions to the method are amazement at its simplicity and bewilderment and even anger at not having heard of it before!

A dramatic example of the way this natural method has spread in recent years is its adoption in China. China carried out its own trials of the method and concluded that it is more effective than the most widely used birth control technique, the intra-uterine device. They also found that it was effective in helping sub-fertile women in China achieve pregnancy.

So how is the Billings Ovulation Method relevant to the objectives of the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements? Human Settlements by definition denote people living together in harmony. The basic unit of settlements is the family, and the Billings Method acts as a bonding agent for the mutual support and physical and psychological well-being of all family members, transforming a house into a home.

  • a) It empowers the woman with knowledge of how her cycle works and so lifts her self-confidence, self-esteem and status to equal partnership in marriage;
  • b) It fosters communication and love between parents who can make responsible informed joint decisions on the number and spacing of their children.

  • c) It emphasizes the value of the child, the planned as well as the unplanned.

  • d) It leads to parents recognizing their responsibility for the sexual education of their children. The mother who understands her own fertility communicates more easily with her daughter before puberty why menstruation occurs. This communication is then ongoing. Adolescents need to know that nature's sign of their health and fertility is a normal event . The knowledge, together with discussion of all aspects of sexuality, strengthens their resolve to resist peer pressure and to realise that waiting until marriage to engage in sexual intercourse is not only a challenge they can undertake but is the way to avoid sexually transmitted disease. Since 1980 school programmes have shown that a third to two thirds of sexually active teens return to chastity with the knowledge of the Billings Method.. (Hanna Klaus, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. , USA)

Women have embraced the Billings method regardless of their socio-economic status, culture or religion. It is easily understood by all - the blind, the illiterate, those living in absolute poverty and those members of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups identified in the Habitat Agenda. There is no cost to health or purse in the teaching or practice of this natural, eco-friendly method. Women and governments are free of the costly complications of contraception.

The philosophy of WOOMB is to recognize and endorse the innate dignity and freedom of the individual. It rejects imposed solutions to meet external agendas that fail in this basic test and lead to such aberrations as forced sterilization and blackmail aid linked to population control programmes which show cynical disregard for the dignity of the individual. This is consistent with the Istanbul Declaration that states that "human beings are at the center of our concern for sustainable development, they are the basis for our actions."

In conclusion, the Billings method presents to those concerned with human settlements a tool that meets the criteria of the Istanbul Declaration and is worthy of endorsement and promotion. To quote Professor S.Z. Qian of the Jiangsu Family Health Institute, "The Billings Ovulation Method is the safest and most effective method so far available for fertility regulation". Thank you . (Further information: or