Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 69(4) November 2019
Natural Family Planning Teachers Association (NFPTA) -
do we come from? A very brief history.
This article has been adapted and taken from a summary written by Michele Guy from France, in March 2012. The work of Dr Anna Flynn was of particular importance in the formation of EIFLE / IEEF. Dr Flynn worked very closely with her colleague Mr John Kelly and they were both key players in the formation of EIFLE / IEEF and then the development of the Natural Family Planning Teachers Association ( NFPTA) in 1984.
Prior to all of this development the Human Life Foundation (HLF) was established in January 1972 in the USA. It aimed to develop and promote the science and understanding of Natural Fertility, just as Pope Paul VI had hoped. HLF foundation members came from more than 7 countries.
In 1983 the International Federation for Family Life Promotion (IFFLP) was developed from the HLF organisation. It was decided to create different global zones. The NFPTA, is a member of the European zone. All organisations that taught Natural Fertility were invited to join, - those teaching Billings method as well as those teaching the Sympto – Thermal Method.
The first meeting of the European zone (EIFLE ) was organised by Dr Anna Flynn with Dr Claude Lanctot from Canada. It was held in June 1983 in Birmingham. Following this, three sub committees were established.
- Research . This was Anna Flynn’s responsibility.
- Teaching and Training.
- Family Life Committee.
In order to develop the organisation and to maintain standards, the European Council held meetings annually in different European countries. In 1989 the organisation found itself in financial difficulties. They were fortunate to find support from a generous donor who was Dr Anne Melotte from the Netherlands. In 1991, Anna Flynn was elected secretary and was able to work with Dr Melotte and other committee members. Together they developed the European Institute for Family Life (IEEF) which was established in 1992.
The first meeting of the EIFLE / IEEF was held in Birmingham in September 1997. Anna Flynn was a main organiser, despite her poor health at the time. Sadly she died within the year. She added to the research of previous doctors, Dr John Marshall, Dr Jack Dominion, Drs Evelyn and John Billings and many others. * She was internationally known for her work which forms the basis for the understanding and knowledge we use at the present time. In particular she helped to define the beginning of the fertile phase of the fertility cycle.
The work of all of these organisations has been a very big commitment and required generosity of time and energy from the key players, as well as an ongoing commitment to scientific evidence and progress. It has been very hard for our organisation to promote Natural Fertility methods within the UK, although some European countries do seem to have had more success then we have had. We are pleased it has become more accepted within our Healthcare services. We are also encouraged that we have international students training to teach NFP, following the distant learning course. Given time, this will enable more women and couples from other countries, to access knowledge of natural fertility. Pope Paul VI expressed the specific hope that scientists would show that ‘there can be no contradiction between two divine laws- that which governs the transmitting of life, and that which governs the fostering of married love’.
The work of HLF, IFFLP, EIFLE, IEEF and NFPTA have been crucial in enabling a continued response to Pope Paul VI.
Last year the IEEF meeting was held in Italy, and our UK representatives for NFPTA, Olive and Christine, offered to host the next European meeting. This invitation was accepted and we have the privilege of organising the next convention to be held in June 2020 in South West London. More details will follow in the Autumn NFPTA newsletter.
Scientific research for natural fertility has been supported by the Catholic Church over many years, but now NFPTA is a voluntary non-denomination organisation and we welcome people who would like to learn and promote an understanding of Natural Fertility.
* More information is on the website . www.NFPTA.org.uk
- HLF - Human Life Foundation. Established in USA in 1972.
- IFFLP - International Federation for Family Life Promotion. Established in 1983
- NFPTA - Natural Family Planning Teachers Association. Established in 1984
- IEEF - Institut European d’Education Familiale. Established in 1992
- EIFLE - European Institute for Family Life Education. Established in 1992
- IEEF (French) and EIFLE( English ) are the same organisation.