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Two men of science, two very different paths to fertility

Most of us don’t think of people suffering professionally because of their faith, but it still happens.

Dr. Josef Roetzer, who died earlier this month, was an example. Roetzer is the Austrian doctor who improved fertility awareness science in the 1950s. His work led to the development of the sympto-thermal method of natural family planning.

Roetzer studied human fertility, recording observations from more than 300,000 cycles. Roetzer discovered that by combining temperature in formation with mucus observations, periods of fertility and infertility could be identified with extreme accuracy. His work was revolutionary, but it was shunned by the establishment, which was dominated by the pharmaceutical industry.

Austrian Bishop Klaus Kung reportedly said that Roetzer “suffered many a setback in his work” due to his Catholic faith.

The Austrian bishops funded Roetzer from 1966 to 1974 so he could continue his research. In 1986, he founded the Institute for Natural Family Planning, which today is run by his daughter, Elisabeth. At the age of 91, Josef Roetzer died on Oct. 4.


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