Sat. Apr 4th, 2020

Naprotechnology

Until recently, the term naprotechnology was poorly known. I heard about it for the first time, probably last year. It became famous when certain political and social circles started to oppose naprotechnology with the method of in vitro fertilization.

Today, as we know, the new government has withdrawn the reimbursement of the latter, despite its effectiveness. Instead, the government’s naprotechnology programme is being talked about. So let us see what it is and whether it can be considered a medical method at all.

Basically, we distinguish between infertility and infertility. Concepts are often confused, which I wrote about some time ago. The first means complete lack of fertility, e.g. due to a lack of ovaries or testicles producing oocytes or sperm.

The second is the problem with obtaining a pregnancy, usually described as lasting for 2 years, despite sexual intercourse 3-4 times a week. Infertility will generally not be cured (although it would potentially be possible to create a sperm or oocyte from a somatic cell by reprogramming and induction of stem cells). Infertility treatment, on the other hand, is an assisted pregnancy treatment.

In vitro fertilization is a combination of male and female reproductive cells in laboratory conditions, “in glass”. Oocytes from women and sperm from men are placed in a plate with a suitable fluid. Then you wait until one of them penetrates the oocyte and the embryo is formed. Then the embryos are placed under observation.

Some die, others develop very well, and some are just walking away. When they reach the blastocyst stage, i.e. when they differentiate between the embryonic line (embryoblast) and the extra-blast line (trophoblast) and the transparent casing (hatching of the embryo in a video takes place about 25 seconds), they can be introduced into the uterus.

We can only hope that the embryo implantation will be successful. It is worth noting that the quality of embryos varies. Sometimes those which, according to morphological features, seem to be worse, are implanted better than the exemplary ones.

With the method of in vitro fertilization we can counteract various problems which are the cause of infertility. For example, if the transparent casing from which the embryo hatch (hatches) is too hard, we can use laser or enzymes to damage it properly. In a natural situation such an embryo will not be implanted and die, and thanks to this technique we will save it and allow you to get pregnant.

Another example is the introduction of sperm into the oocyte using a micromanipulator – a picture often shown in the media when discussing the subject of in vitro fertilization. It is used when the sperm has a problem with oocyte penetration. Of course, there can be a lot of disorders around fertilization and implantation. Some people cannot be excluded by this method.

In vitro fertilization has one more important advantage. Before implantation of the embryo we can examine it in various ways. When the embryo divides, further cells are created, called blastomers. We can take one of them, isolate DNA from it and check its quality.

Each embryo will be different (except for clones), because before the combination of male and female DNA, during meiosis (during gametogenesis) there is a crossing-over. Homologous chromosomes usually exchange their segments in random places. This increases genetic diversity and makes us 50% related to siblings and parents rather than 100% related to each other.

If one of the embryos contains a mutation causing hemophilia or cystic fibrosis, we can choose another one for implantation. In vitro fertilization is a good way to obtain healthy offspring in genetically ill people. It is worth reading this book about the method of in vitro fertilization.

The company offers naprotechnology as a way of treating infertility. What does it have to say about it? The website mentions, among others, the natural cycle of a woman, mucus examination or diagnostic tests. The authors assure us that naprotechnology is more effective than artificial means of procreation.

There are some diagnostic ultrasound examinations, biochemistry and blood hormones. They could be tempted to have sperm motility tests and other tests, maybe even perform them, but I did not find such information on the website.

It looks like the simplest diagnosis that is made before a couple decides to fertilize in vitro. After all, if the cause of infertility can be found and eliminated, everything can be done naturally, without the participation of embryologists. So why is this patch of something special, a patch of naprotechnology attributed to it?

Naprotechnology has a lot to do with quacks. Really, although at first it may sound unbelievable. Check it out. A naprotechnologist is supposed to be more of a companion than a doctor to his clients. It has to show interest. Not that the doctor does not have to, but you know how it looks in practice.

The dry approach of the doctor and lack of time will reward the herbalist or witch doctor with an exceptionally captivating interest in the patient’s problems. A naprotechnologist is supposed to serve the same purpose. After all, you can also go to a real infertility treatment clinic and perform ultrasound, genetic, hormonal, sperm tests, etc… It does not require any naprotechnology.

Naprotechnology is a trick. Marketing, religious, ideological. Pooled diagnostic research, lined with ideology, opposition to in vitro fertilization, often of a radically religious nature. It is like taking a package for the diagnosis of thyroid diseases, calling it e.g.

ThyreoNatural and announcing it as an alternative to thyroid treatment, because this artificial treatment is wrong and leads to something that we do not like about it. It sounds absurd, doesn’t it? And this is what happens with naprotechnology. The use of standard diagnostic procedures, hostility towards artificial methods and, additionally.

It is a diagnostics with blood or ultrasound tests, cycle tests, mucus tests and matching the time of intercourse. There is no question of treatment. There is also no question of higher effectiveness than in vitro fertilization, because there are no tests that would confirm it. We cannot talk about any effectiveness here.

A lot of space is devoted to the criticism of in vitro fertilization in these lectures. As I said before, this is just a cover-up for that very purpose. The second place is marketing. I also draw attention to the fact that people who come forward with infertility problems are usually in their 30s.

That is, when a woman has a very limited time to get pregnant safely. Losing it to naprotechnology misses the goal, because then it may be too late for effective in vitro fertilization. Its effectiveness also decreases with the age of a woman.

This is a typical example of how ideology and religion in their fundamentalist form enter science and medicine with their shoes. Apart from creationism, anti-vaccination movement, opponents of GMOs or people insisting that homosexuality is a disease, the movement connected with the promotion of naprotechnology is another one that ideologizes science, wanting to bend the reality under some specific conditions.