The Billings Ovulation Method was first discovered by Dr John Billings of Melbourne in 1953. He was joined in this work by his wife, Dr Evelyn Billings, and together they travelled the world teaching their method. It is now taught and successfully used by couples in over 100 countries around the world. The Billings Ovulation Method is used by women at all stages of their reproductive lives to achieve pregnancy, to prevent pregnancy and to safeguard their reproductive health.Before the Billings Ovulation Method was developed the only natural family planning method available was the Rhythm Method. This method was based on the assumption that ovulation occurs around 14 days before menstruation. The couple then abstained from sex for several days before and after (as sperm can live for up to 5 days in a woman's reproductive system, and the egg lives for up to 24 hours). However, this method had a high rate of failure because it couldn't pinpoint ovulation with accuracy. Every woman is different, and ovulation can occur from 11 to 16 days before menstruation. To further complicate things, the time of ovulation can vary from cycle to cycle. Also, there can be significant variations in the length of a woman's cycle, for example, because of stress, after pregnancy, or approaching menopause.
Clearly what was needed was a marker of fertility that women themselves could recognise. With this in mind, Dr John Billings made a search of the medical literature. He found several accounts of stringy lubricative mucus produced around the time of ovulation by the cells lining the cervix. Could the mucus be used as a signal of fertility? After questioning a number of women, it became clear that the occurrence of different types of discharge during the menstrual cycle was a familiar observation. It then became a matter of determining whether a typical pattern existed during the cycle, and whether women could identify their fertile phase.With the cooperation of hundreds of women, a standard mucus pattern quickly emerged. It became evident that the sensation produced by the mucus, as well as its appearance, could enable all women to recognise the onset of fertility.By the mid-1960s a prolonged clinical study of the women's charts had been completed, and a set of guidelines formulated for fertility control. At this stage, only the mucus pattern associated with ovulation, and the infertile phase following it, had been identified.
By 1966 Dr Evelyn Billings had recognised the infertile patterns of either dryness or discharge before ovulation. Couples no longer had to endure periods of prolonged abstinence because her research demonstrated that sex could not result in conception while the discharge or dryness that a woman correctly identified as her infertile pattern remained unchanged.In 1971 the World Health Organisation undertook a 5-nation trial and recommended that this method be called the Billings Ovulation Method to distinguish it from other methods of natural family planning. Temperature measurements and Rhythm calculations were discontinued as unnecessary and unreliable.
Over 50 years of scientific research and hormonal studies have confirmed that cervical mucus is the most reliable signal of fertility. Our teaching methods have been refined and updated to establish universally applicable guidelines for fertility control that ensure the Billings Ovulation Method™ is as successful for preventing pregnancy as any method of family planning available today.The Billings Ovulation Method is now finding increasing popularity because it can be adapted to help women having difficulty conceiving to optimise their chances of achieving pregnancy.Every modern method of natural family planning, including SymptoThermal and the Creighton Model Fertility Care system, relies on the research and findings of those who developed the Billings Ovulation Method.