The Passing of a Great Scientist and Friend of the Billings Method™
by Sue Ek
Recently, we received the news from the WOOMB International directors: “It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the death on 17th October 2019 of Professor Erik Odeblad. Of course, the sadness is for ourselves and especially for his family. We believe he will be welcomed home by his Creator and greeted joyfully by his wife and fellow collaborators in the Billings Ovulation Method® who had returned home before him.”
The WOOMB Directors went on to say, “He was a giant amongst the scientists, well known in scientific circles before he collaborated with Drs John and Lyn Billings. His work gave us so many insights into the significance of the cervix in producing the different mucus types and its role in sperm migration and survival. We join with all who give thanks for a life very well lived. We have all been privileged to be the beneficiaries of his talents.”
In addition, “Professor Odeblad was recognised as one of the founders of what we now know of as the MRI. In the 1970s he collaborated with the Drs Billings and along with Professor James Brown, provided the validation of the Billings Ovulation Method®. We give thanks for his contributions to our knowledge.”
In 1996, BOMA-USA had Dr. Odeblad as a featured speaker at our conference in St. Cloud, MN. His presence helped us attract nearly 200 people. In fact, we had to move our venue to accommodate so many people. I have a vivid memory of helping him check in to the hotel. It was unknown to me that he was a chocoholic. While I was at the front desk getting everything in order, he eagerly nudged me and pointed across the room, saying, “Sue! Sue! Chocolate!” It took me a while to realize that he wanted me to take him to one of those candy machines that raise money for charity by charging a nickel (at the time) in exchange for a chocolate mint. The restaurant had closed so this was his only source for chocolate at that late hour. It was such a funny scene, but maybe you had to be there.
Years ago, when we were still printing and mailing our newsletter called BOMA News, we collaborated on a couple of articles. In the winter 1997 issue, we printed his interesting explanation of the various types of cervical mucus and what he called “cell-to-cell communication.”
His extensive research on the properties and purpose of the various types of cervical mucus, as well as his discovery of the reason for the Pockets of Shaw, sets us apart from other Natural Family Planning methods. For example, we are confident in our three requirements for Peak Day (changing, developing pattern; ending in slippery; followed by a definite change) because of Dr. Odeblad’s discovery of the sequence of events that leads to the Pockets of Shaw being activated after ovulation. He determined that when the follicle containing the egg ruptures at ovulation and progesterone is released, the Pockets of Shaw are activated and cause a drying effect on the cervical mucus. So, it is because of his remarkable understanding of the Pockets of Shaw that we require an abrupt change from the slippery sensation in order for Peak Day to be identified.
As a devout Swedish Lutheran, his faith planned a significant role in his life as a scientist. As Marian Corkill of WOOMB said in an email, “It is our understanding that when he was required to do abortions he quit his obstetric and gynecology position at the University of Stockholm and undertook further research in physics. This led to him being appointed a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. His time at Berkeley was significant as it was here that he learned of the work in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, the forerunner for what we know today as MRI. His contact with Nobel Laureate Bloch led him to modify a spectrometer so that he could study human cells and secretions, particularly cervical cells. His pioneering work took a long time to be publicly acknowledged but in 2012 he was awarded the European Magnetic Resonance Award which was combined to include both Basic Science and Medical Sciences.”
We will forever be grateful to God for bringing such a tremendous gift of faith and intellect to the Billings Family. May he enjoy eternal peace.
BOMA-USA provides education and training for The Billings Ovulation Method® which is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you to recognize the body's natural signs of fertility.