Nicole Havrilla to bring natural, pro-life obstetric practice to area

North Texas Catholic
(Feb 17, 2017) Local

Nicole Havrilla

FORT WORTH — Say the words “natural family planning” and most people think of a Church-approved way for Catholic couples to postpone or avoid pregnancy. That’s only partially true.

For young mothers like Nicole Havrilla, the scientifically-based Creighton Model FertilityCareTM system has health benefits beyond choosing the right time to have children.

Thanks to charting the Creighton system for years and curative measures made possible by Natural Procreative (NaPro) Technology, Havrilla and her husband, George, avoided the heartache of certain miscarriage. They have two healthy daughters born after full-term pregnancies. A third child is due in February.

“We have this cute little family because of Dr. (Tom) Hilgers,” beamed the business and marketing professional who credits the physician and the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska for treating her reproductive issues in a way that’s healthy and morally acceptable. “There are 1,200 women charting the Creighton model system in the Metroplex who are fully aware of what their bodies are doing, but we have no doctors in Dallas/Fort Worth who will take a pro-life approach to help them.”

It’s a problem the Holy Family parishioner hopes to remedy. A Creighton Model FertilityCareTM instructor for the past 11 years, Havrilla wants to open a NaPro Technology medical clinic in Fort Worth. The relatively new reproductive science works cooperatively with a woman’s menstrual cycle to evaluate and treat conditions like infertility, miscarriage, and irregular bleeding in a framework that adheres to pro-life principles. Similar clinics exist in Chicago, Denver, St. Louis, and Houston.

Spearheading a fundraising campaign is challenging but Havrilla’s firm belief in the sanctity of life and a personal history of complicated pregnancies keeps her motivated.

Working towards her goal, Havrilla and colleague Mandy Cox formed a non-profit organization, WholeLife Authentic Care, in 2014 to raise the $1.3 million needed for start-up costs associated with a medical practice. To date, special collections at area parishes, foundation grant money, pledges, and private donations have earned more than $300,000 for the venture. A Knights of Columbus Council in Arlington will contribute an ultrasound machine.

Spearheading a fundraising campaign is challenging but Havrilla’s firm belief in the sanctity of life and a personal history of complicated pregnancies keeps her motivated.

 “When we were ready to start having a family, I knew I would probably miscarry because my cycles showed so much malfunction,” explained the cradle Catholic, who suffered from endometriosis, cysts, and low progesterone.

Surgery by her NaPro Technology doctor corrected the endometriosis and, after conceiving six months later, a course of prescribed progesterone supplements allowed Havrilla to carry her baby for a full 40 weeks.

Expecting a second baby, Havrilla asked a local healthcare provider to check her hormone levels because of the progesterone needed to maintain the first pregnancy.

“They literally told me I had never miscarried and they would let me miscarry this pregnancy as a diagnostic tool,” she recalled. “They considered my low progesterone levels, indicated by five years of charting cycles, irrelevant and refused to help me.”

Havrilla sought care from an understanding midwife who shipped her blood for diagnosis to the Pope Paul VI Institute.

“Not only did I need progesterone support, but my levels were so low I was starting to lose the pregnancy at 10 weeks,” said Havrilla who was quickly prescribed progesterone injections by Dr. Hilgers.

That’s when the business executive resolved to bring a NaPro Technology medical practice to Fort Worth for women who want to alleviate reproductive and other gynecological issues in a restorative, life affirming way.

Patients charting their cycles with the Creighton system provide valuable biomarkers to NaPro certified physicians who use the data to treat medical problems in a healthy way.

“If your daughter has endometriosis at age 15, we’re not going to put her on the pill. We’re going to help her understand her body so she doesn’t have to go through infertility in her 20s. It’s a natural procreative approach to working with the woman’s body,” Havrilla said, explaining the underlying philosophy. “Doctors don’t do tubal ligations, prescribe birth control pills, or do anything that circumvents or breaks a woman’s cycle.”

Millions of U.S. women have gynecological conditions.

“Many are only getting a quick fix with hormonal contraception,” she pointed out. “It doesn’t help unmask the underlying disease that leaves them suffering for years.”

With Bishop Olson’s blessing, co-founders Havrilla and Cox started the non-profit organization and assembled a team of advisors to help them build a medical clinic, fertility care center, and education resource at one site.

“I don’t know medicine but what I do know is business,” the entrepreneur said confidently. “So Mandy and I found good leadership in areas we needed support in.”

Although the WholeLife Authentic Care center is designed as a non-profit, it will not require constant fundraising year after year. The $1.3 million solicited from donors will cover equipment purchases and operating expenses during the clinic’s first three years.

“By year four we’re sustainable,” said Havrilla, who admits a learning curve is involved. “Medicine is complicated. There are a lot of insurers and we’ll have to understand how to work with them.”

A pool of 280 potential clients, who filled out information forms on the WholeLife Authentic Care website, demonstrates need.

“Most professionals have zero people waiting to see them when they open a business. I have 280 women who want to book an appointment because they want this kind of help,” she pointed out.

The WholeLife Authentic Care clinic, based in Fort Worth’s medical district, will maintain its non-profit status by offering charity assistance to uninsured and under-insured individuals. Havrilla expects to name a certified NaPro doctor for the practice in early 2017. A business manager, nurse, and other staff members are already identified.

In addition to Catholics practicing natural family planning, the NaPro Technology clinic will serve the needs of a second population — women who won’t use synthetic hormones, IUDs, or chemical contraception.

She’s taught non-Catholics, who approach health issues in a natural way, how to chart their cycles in the Creighton system.

“We’re reaching two markets,” Havrilla said. “We’re serving members of our faith and reaching outside of our faith to be an example to others.”

Nicole Havrilla, pro-life, obstetric practice, WholeLife Authentic Care, trending-english