Prof. Dr.med. Josef Franz Rötzer

Since March 1951 the Austrian physician Dr. Josef Rötzer developped new knowledge for practical application of the natural conception regulation with the support of his wife Margareta (d. 2006) and since 1974 with the help of his daughter Elisabeth Rötzer. He is considered the founder of the first true sympto-thermal method.

Main areas of work:

  • Development of basic and secondary literature on the sympto-thermal approach of NCR
  • Advisory services, research and training of teachers about natural conception regulation.
  • Contributions of a medical anthropology for the meaning of the biblical and Christian view of man.

Note: For the history of NCR with extensive references see download area

The beginning 1951

It all started with a DIN A5 sheet of paper that had been distributed at a stand at the Vienna Spring Fair in 1951. Title: "Birth control also allowed by the Church". In this stand a basal thermometer was advertised, with which the fertile and infertile days of women could be determined. This piece of paper showed the explanation that a woman has a lower temperature level in the first part of the cycle which is followed by a high tempetature level at the time of ovulation.


Personal report of Prof. Rötzer to these first beginnings
The first attempt to measure the temperature was with the help of my wife. Since we did not receive medical samples for this special thermometer, we used an ordinary one. I took care of the thermometer, got up a little bit earlier in the morning than my wife, came with the thermometer to her and said: "Darling, please measure". When husbands talk this nicely to their wifes, no woman can resist. The first few weeks measuring the temperature succeeded very well and my wife delivered almost an ideal curve for the table recording.
I never heard in a lecture of this option to determine the fertile and infertile days of a woman through measuring the temperature. The decision of the Americans to open the medical library in Vienna for Austrian doctors was really helpful. So it was possible for me to study the English-language literature on topics such as "waking temperature" or "cervical mucus". For the practical application I had to find a way to inform more women about it and to gain co-workers. Apart from the temperature, my wife made other observations which she told me: During the time of the temperature-rise there was a peculiar vaginal secretion of mucus and also a pain in the lower abdomen. I wanted to also inform other women about these observations. A provision in the law for public health officers  that they should also take care of family counseling was helpful.

What led to the first real sympto-thermal method according to NCR?

Since 1951 the following consideration from Dr. Rötzer hung in the air: How can the scientific knowledge be translated into such clear rules of interpretation so that the NCR is applicable for more and more women and couples with high reliability?
The literature had to be studied, the knowledge had to be told and the experiences and reactions of women and married couples had to be gathered and to be re-integrated into one’s own research.
What clear rules are needed? How to make the scientific knowledge fruitful for the practical application? Where can misunderstandings arise? How extensive - how easy to follow do the instructions have to be? Again and again, the scientific evidence and the experience of the practical application are interconnected and checked. Initial lectures took place. In 1962 there was the first publication and in 1965 the first book was printed for the practical application: Matured in 14 years of tireless groundwork.
The originality of the work of Rötzer lies in the realization that it is necessary for a reliable procedure of NCR to evaluate the measurement of the waking temperature in dependence with the woman’s introspection.

Expert opinion on the scientific work Josef Rötzers from 1965

Submitted by the Central Institute for marriage and family relations in Cologne, from July 20, 1965
Excerpts from this letter:
"(...) Thanks to the careful and scientifically ‘clean’ publications of Dr. J. Rötzer in various magazines, we became aware of him. In addition, we learned to appreciate his teaching skills and his knowledge in lectures to scientists from different nations. His work (...) deals with the entire spectrum of the complexity of birth control in the eye of a conscientious doctor who is fully familiar with the latest state of research. For us it is important to emphasize that the work of Rötzer is free from any bias or one-sidedness, which unfortunately isn’t rare in today’s "serious scientific" circles. (...) The fact deserves to be pointed out that Dr Rötzer has not only excellent theoretical and scientific knowledge in the issue of birth control, but he has also gained vast experience through his consulting activities in a remarkably extensive field of study.
Dr. Rötzer's profound theoretical knowledge and practical experience prompted us in May this year to ask him to hold the keynote speech at our doctors meeting in Altenberg. The thorough explanations and the presentation of a section of his work had far surpassed the expectations of all participants, half of whom were teachers and professors of German universities. In the very extensive discussion, Dr. R. surprised us again and again with his profound knowledge and his critical answers on intricate and detailed questions. (...).

A crucial, important outcome of the Altenberger doctors meeting was the final broad consensus on fundamental questions about birth control. The profound revision of the entire complexity of "birth control" by Dr. Rötzer was taken notice from the assembled doctors group with broad approval. Especially praised was that Mr Rötzer has strong scientific documents which are - at least in Europe - to declare as unparalleled. He has demonstrated that he has a truly comprehensive knowledge of the literature of this issue (...)

Important publications in 1965, 1968 and 1969

After the first publications in 1962 the first textbook for the practical application entitled "Kinderzahl und Liebesehe" was published in 1965. It delivered the practical basis for learning the NCR.

In 1968 this approach was first published in a medical journal: Rötzer, J .: Erweiterte Basaltemperaturmessung und Empfängnisregelung. Arch. Gynäk. 206 (1968) 195-214.

In 1969 Rötzer published his book about the importance of brain research to determine the character of man under the title „Menschenbild, Sexualität und Ehe“ (Theologische Brennpunkte Band 21/22, Verlag Gerhard Kaffke 1969).
An excerpt from the foreword of this monograph:
"When body and soul are just two aspects of the same entity, every aspect must be able to testify for something essential about the whole thing.
Therefore, it seems justified to try using the medicine to make statements about the character and the overall nature of man. Here this study is deliberately limited to the juxtaposition of medical contributions to anthropology and issues of sexuality. One reason has its basis in a particular pressing issue of our time in which a general “oversexualisation” seems to deprive our people of the freedom of his actions. On the other hand the medicine can teach fundamental elements for the presentation of the nature of human sexuality. "

Rötzer's NCR becomes worldwide. Lectures and training courses

In the 60s, Dr. Rötzer was granted - in addition to guest lectures at several universities - lectureships for pastoral medicine at the Universities of Innsbruck (Austria) and Regensburg (Germany). Another lectureship was granted for the philosophical-theological educational institution Linz / Donau (Austria), as well as a lectureship for Pastoral Medicine at the philosophical-theological educational institution of the Diocese of St. Pölten (Austria).

In 1973 Josef Rötzer took part in a meeting in Washington, which was organized by the American Foundation "The Human Life Foundation". This foundation deals internationally with the issue of Marriage and Family Planning. At that meeting in 1973, the numerous contributions to the discussions from Dr. Rötzers in front of doctors, gynecologists and theologians have been so well received that he then regularly received invitations to overseas. The fruit was numerous: Long-lasting relationships in many countries and the management of numerous training courses in natural conception regulation (NCR): USA, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan.
An immediate fruit of this first meeting in Washington was a research assignment of this American foundation "Human Life Foundation". The mandate was to carry out a study on the reliability of the NCR by Rötzer. This study appeared in 1978 in the US (Roetzer, Josef: The Sympto-Thermal Method:. Ten Years of Change The Linacre Quarterly, The National Federation of Catholic Physicians' Guilds, Vol 45, November 1978 NO.4, p.358. - 374).

1986 Foundation of INER

Since 1981, the need was getting stronger for so-called "multipliers" who can pass on the knowledge of NCR in courses. Over the following years it appeared more and more necessary to organize these multipliers training in a professional way. Therefore, in 1986, the Institute of natural conception regulation Dr. med. Josef Rötzer e.V. (INER) was founded.
This association is registered under German law and is a non-profit organization.

1992 Award of the title of professor

In 1992, the Austrian Federal President paid tribute to the scientific research of Dr. Rötzer and awarded him with the title of Professor. As the basis for this ceremony Mag. Marko Loncar wrote the text "Scientific Contributions of Dr. univ, med. Josef Rötzer", which he finished with a list of references. This list of references included 44 publications by Rötzer from the years 1962 to 1991.
From 1992 until today, it is the task of our institute to supplement this bibliography with further publications by Rötzer. The literature ranges from topics such as "stepchild cycle observation", “desire for a child” or "more than 50 years working in the service of NCR".
It is particularly referred to the book: „Die Frau und ihr persönlicher Zyklus. Von der Vorpubertät bis in die Wechseljahre – Ergebnisse jahrzehntelanger Zyklusforschung“.

... Until 2010: President of INER e.V.

Some figures:
2010 the association “INER Prof. Rötzer e.V.” included more than 1,400 members, wherein a couple is considered as one member. This figure does not include the members of the INER branch institutes in Italy, Georgia, Poland and Paraguay, which conduct their own membership lists. Alone in the years 2009 and 2010, 400 NCR day courses were held in German-speaking countries, in which 69 new multipliers have been trained. On the international INER Congress in 2010 more than 240 participants from 11 nations participated. For this congress Prof. Rötzer has written a text entitled "My request", which was presented at the Congress and published in the INER messages No.56.

Prof. Dr. med. Josef Franz Rötzer died on October 4, 2010

Prof. Dr. med. Josef  Franz Rötzer died in the night of 3 to October 4, 2010

Two big personalities

Bishop Laun about Pope John Paul II and Rötzer.:
"Not infrequently, Prof. Dr. med. Josef Rötzer also met with Pope John Paul II: Rötzer, the man of the scientific study of fertility, John Paul II, the Pope of conjugal love. Two big men – each in their competence – wanted to help how to show love in marriage even more and thus to contribute to the happiness of the people!" (Dynamics of Love, page 63)

The institute today

When the Institute of Natural conception regulation Dr. med. Josef Rötzer (INER) e.V. was founded in 1986, this was done initially for the German-speaking countries. Over time, other countries joined this movement and it came to the establishment of INER Italia, INER Poland, INER Paraguay and INER Georgia.

In addition to these countries, where INER is an organized association, other countries including Romania, Croatia or the Ukraine joined this “team”. They are are looking for a union in an informal and voluntary way within the meaning of INER. Individual of more than 20 countries joined INER as members.

In order to internationally promote the spread of NCR, the book "Natural Conception regulation", which is published by Herder, is available in 17 translations.

Our goals

"Health damage, which is caused in a certain percentage of the population by the use of chemistry and technology in the field of birth control including abortion, should be prevented by educating the general public and through the use of institute-trained teachers (multipliers).
In addition to this, public health should be stimulated in a special way by the positive effects of natural conception regulation (NCR), as the NCR doesn’t only want to lead to a natural lifestyle avoiding financially and physiologically very burdensome infections, but also wants to facilitate an early detection of impending disease states, which otherwise usually stays too long undetected. Thus, the NCR has become an irreplaceable factor of health care.
The Institute scientifically works out the basics of natural conception regulation, publishes important results and spread the practical applications of the NCR for all classes of the population on the basis of Prof. Dr. med. Josef Rötzer’s genuine sympto-thermal method (published 1965) with the inclusion of all known ways of natural birth control on the basis of a Christian sexual ethics "

Our tasks
  •      Courses for beginners and experienced
  • Advisory services for personal inquiries
  • Systematic training and planned continuing education of women and men who are willing and able to pass on the knowledge
  • annually international INER Congress
  • Publishing periodic information such as INER messages or annual summary reports for those members who wish to support INER ideologically and financially through the membership fee
  • Collection and analysis of cycle records for practical application
  • Documentation of technical literature
Executive committee, board of directors and Executive Board

The executive committee consists of President, Vice-President and Secretary:

Elisabeth Rötzer, INER President
Since 1974 full-time staff member with her father, Prof. Dr. med. Josef Rötzer. Since the death of Prof. Rötzer in 2010 she became his successor in the management and distribution of NER by Rötzer.

Dr. med. Rudolf Ehmann, Vice-President
1984-2006 chief physician of the gynecological-obstetrical department of the Kantonsspital Nidwalden, Stans (Switzerland).
On the executive board of the following associations:
World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life, European doctors Action,
Association of Catholic Doctors of Switzerland (VKAS), International Medical Association for Natural Family Planning (IANFP), Human Life International Switzerland (HLI Switzerland - founder and first president), Matercare International
Member of the Bioethics Commission of the Swiss Bishops' Conference (SBK)
Humanitarian missions in Cameroon

Katharina Gabathuler, Secretary
Founding member of INER, Dipl. Nurse AKP, wife and mother of 4 grown children, many years of experience in the art of personal counseling and course guidance

Other members of the Board of directors:
Lothar Eck
Dr. med. Hedwig Förster
Walter Gabathuler
Evelyn Hartmann
Erika Meyer Herzog
Dr. med. Vera Kaffanke
Dr. med. Michaela Rhomberg
Waltraut Dorothea Sennewald
Hubert Weißenbach

The Executive board consists of
Walter Gabathuler, 1st Chairman
Elisabeth Rötzer, 2. Chairman
Monika Streinesberger, Secretary
Margret Weissbach, Internal audit
Waltraut D. Sennewald, communication
Jörg Hartmann, representative branch D

The medical advisory board

The scientific basis of the sympto-thermal method of natural conception regulation (NCR) was guaranteed by the founder of the first true sympto-thermal method, Prof. Rötzer himself.
Rötzer had the request to invite colleagues to a medical advisory board. This medical advisory board guarantees the continuation of the institution on this scientific level.

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