FACTS Teacher Series: Phil Boyle, MD
By: Louisa Wagner
Director’s Note: As part of our FACTS Teacher series, we highlight the diverse set of physicians and clinicians who contribute their time and expertise to help us educate the next generation of medical professionals via our FACTS elective. Our series continues with Dr. Phil Boyle, a family physician from Ireland and developer of NeoFertility. His experience incorporating restorative reproductive medicine into his fertility clinic in Dublin, Ireland, enriches our elective case studies and enhances educational opportunities for our students. We are also delighted to welcome Dr. Boyle as one of our keynote speakers at our conference, Revitalizing Women’s Healthcare Together on September 29th and 30th. It’s not too late to join us in person in Minneapolis, MN. The deadline to register is September 20th, so sign up today!
Meet Dr. Phil Boyle
Dr. Phil Boyle launched into his medical career directly after graduating from high school. He attended the University of Ireland, Galway, where he completed his bachelor’s degree and residency to become a general practitioner (GP), or family doctor. Presently, Dr. Boyle serves as the president of the International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine (IIRRM) and runs a successful fertility clinic in Dublin, Ireland, which has helped thousands of couples with infertility and recurrent miscarriages conceive. These successes are the result of decades of learning about and incorporating restorative reproductive techniques into his practice.
“Dr. Boyle serves as the president of the International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine (IIRRM) and runs a successful fertility clinic in Dublin, Ireland, which has helped thousands of couples with infertility and recurrent miscarriages conceive.”
Early in his career, Dr. Boyle found himself facing the same problem time and time again in his practice. Catholic patients sought fertility guidance in accordance with their moral standards, which excluded various traditional approaches to both achieving and preventing pregnancy. For example, many of his patients wanted alternatives to in vitro fertilization (IVF). Uncertain of the best solution for his patients, Dr. Boyle began searching for effective options that honored both the health and preferences of his patients.
The Search for an Alternative
Eventually, Dr. Boyle learned about Dr. Hilgers an ocean away in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Hilgers was a Ob-Gyn physician who developed the Creighton Model of natural family planning (NFP) during the 1970’s. At this point, few people were researching NFP or restorative approaches to reproductive healthcare, but Dr. Boyle realized Dr. Hilgers was pioneering a valuable approach to women’s healthcare. For the next 20 years, Dr. Boyle worked with the Creighton Model and the NaProTECHNOLOGY protocols before developing his own fertility awareness-based method (FABM), NeoFertility.
Branching Out: The Future of NeoFertility
In collaboration with Ivana Zecevic, Dr. Boyle built on the cervical mucus charting of Creighton, incorporating several additional biomarkers to develop a charting method he termed NeoFertility. Many of his patients benefited from the addition of basal body temperature (BBT) and urinary hormone (UH) assessment, in addition to charting their mucus patterns when working towards their family-planning goals. Upon observing the success rate of his patients with those additional biomarkers, he co-developed an app, called ChartNeo, with AJ Freda and Melissa Buchan, making NeoFertility more readily accessible. Within ChartNeo, doctors can monitor medications, symptoms, and chart observations in real time. Meanwhile the flexibility of the method affords his patients the option of charting with mucus only or with the addition of BBT and/or UH. Although NeoFertility has diverged from the original methods which drew him into the fertility tracking field, Dr. Boyle still immensely values those methods and the role they played in connecting him with FACTS.
“Within ChartNeo, doctors can monitor medications, symptoms, and chart observations in real time. Meanwhile the flexibility of the method affords his patients the option of charting with mucus only or with the addition of BBT and/or urinary hormones.”
Connecting with FACTS
Dr. Boyle first met Dr. Marguerite Duane, Executive Director and co-founder of FACTS, at an American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals (AAFCP) conference. In Dr. Duane, Dr. Boyle found a fellow advocate for restorative reproductive health based on strong research and empirical evidence. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Boyle trained as a FACTS speaker and began regularly presenting the FACTS webinars. As the demands of his practice increased, he scaled back his role as a speaker; however, he continues to actively participate as a case study presenter for the FACTS medical elective, which is considered to be one of the most highly-rated aspects of this course available to medical students.
In his own words, these case studies “move the theoretical to practical.”
“Get a real patient with a real problem so you can outline the principles of assessment and treatment,” Dr. Boyle said of the case studies he presents, alongside fellow medical professionals, to students. “Give them a tangible and real experience.”
In addition to presenting case studies, Dr. Boyle is currently working with FACTS to develop a program to mentor medical students and residents seeking to incorporate NeoFertility and the ChartNeo app into their practices. The program includes eight lectures and case discussions to elevate students’ understanding to a new level. He is confident that taking time to fully understand the app and the data collected can help practitioners provide even better patient care. Dr. Boyle commented that FACTS has demonstrated a real thirst for this training and education in women’s healthcare that is not adequately discussed in medical school. He believes the FACTS elective, in addition to the type of mentorship program he hopes to offer, are filling that gap and meeting the need for education in FABMs and restorative reproductive medicine.
“Dr. Boyle is currently working with FACTS to develop a program to mentor medical students and residents seeking to incorporate NeoFertility and the ChartNeo app into their practices.”
Dr. Boyle is also studying the effects of estrogen and DHEA on the success rates of pregnancies among his patient population. Findings suggest that patients at higher risk of miscarriage have greater success when given DHEA during their pregnancies to raise their estrogen levels. To learn more about this landmark research in restorative reproductive health, join us at the Revitalizing Women’s Healthcare Together this September where Dr. Phil Boyle will be presenting both his research on this data as well as the use of low-dose naltrexone (LDN).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Louisa Wagner is a recent high school graduate from Seton High School in Northern Virginia with a strong interest in female fertility. As she discerns her next career steps, she has accepted a role interning with FACTS and is excited to be learning more about women’s health and fertility.