The Deacon's Bench

New York City has a new place for women to get health care — and it’s unlike any other:

Women facing infertility and other reproductive difficulties have a new place to turn to for help. It’s in Manhattan, and it offers something that has not previously been available in the region: a specially developed infertility treatment that is both effective and pro-life. 

The new facility is “Gianna: The Catholic Healthcare Center for Women.” In addition to treating infertility, it offers general women’s health care including obstetrics, prenatal care and routine gynecology. Everything it does is in accord with Church teaching on marriage, sexuality, procreation and the dignity of human life.

Its method of treating infertility is based on a complete understanding of the way a woman’s body works, and also can be used to avoid pregnancy.

All patients are welcome regardless of their beliefs, but the center’s pro-life ethic and its founders’ faith touch every aspect of its work.

“We are Catholic, so that shapes the way we treat each person,” said co-founder Dr. Anne Mielnik.


Dr. Mielnik is a family physician specializing in women’s health and infertility. Her co-founder is Joan Nolan of Syracuse, a specialist in natural family planning. Last year they established the John Paul II Center for Women, a nonprofit organization, with the goal of creating centers throughout the United States to offer pro-life medical care to women and to give them an alternative to treatments that are not pro-life, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The Gianna Center, which opened officially on Dec. 8, is the first of the centers they envision.

The center uses NaPro Technology to treat infertility and to assist couples to avoid pregnancy. NaPro–the trademarked name stands for “natural procreative technology” was developed by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, founder of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Neb.

In a recent interview, Dr. Mielnik talked about some of the differences between IVF and NaPro Technology. IVF involves the creation of embryos in a laboratory which are then implanted into the uterus. If the embryos begin to grow, one or more are almost always aborted. Unused embryos are frozen and stored.

NaPro does not involve the creation, abortion or storing of embryos. With NaPro, women use a specially designed method to track their cycles and find the underlying causes of their infertility. The doctor then prescribes either medical treatment or surgery aimed at making conception possible. 

There’s much more at the link.

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