“Celebrate and reverence God’s vision of human sexuality.”
What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. The term Natural Family Planning highlights that:
- these methods are based on observations of naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- couples do not use artificial barriers or chemicals to prevent pregnancy.
- couples accept fertility as a normal state of health and share responsibility for family planning by modifying behaviors according to their intentions.
Is a Fertility Awareness-Based Method (FABM) the same as NFP?
Sometimes the term NFP is used along with, or in place of, the term FABM (Fertility Awareness Based Method). In the strictest sense of the term Fertility Awareness Based Method encompasses only the scientific/biological aspect that these methods are based on an understanding of one’s fertility (Item 1 above). As such, the FABM can be used as a natural family planning method, but it can also be used for monitoring any woman’s reproductive health. The difference is that it doesn’t require both spouses to “share responsibility” for the decision of achieving or avoiding pregnancy.
Overview of the NFP Methods (FABMs)
NOTE: The following link http://www.factsaboutfertility.org/resources/ has the most comprehensive overview of the methods, but if we have (hidden) a shorter version of Creighton, Billings and Symptothermal AND Sympto-hormonal, we can use that instead. (NOTE The screenprint below is from the FACTS webinar document- I think it’s a good visual if we create our own).
For additional resources about FABMs or NFP methods, visit the Fertility Awareness Collaborative To Teach the Science (or FACTS) website at: http://www.factsaboutfertility.org/resources/
While FACTS is a national collaborative of physicians, nurses, and NFP educators committed to educating physicians in NFP, they provide individual chapters of their e-learn program (also provided in MP4 files on YouTube) which can easily be used for general NFP education.
Find an NFP/FABM Educator
Many couples would prefer to learn NFP on their own, but we strongly advise that you take a professional NFP course. NFP’s effectiveness is directly related to the quality of the NFP course/curriculum and the commitment of the person completing the training. Click on this link to find professional NPF educators to learn the basics about NFP and appropriately learn the signs of your fertility cycle:
The National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility™
The doctors and healthcare professionals at The National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility™ provide general gynecological care, prenatal care, natural family planning education, and infertility services – all with a deep commitment to honoring a woman’s dignity and the sanctity of human life.* With offices in New Brunswick and Manhattan, The National Gianna Center is dedicated to providing a more natural alternative to assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.
To find a Gianna Center near you, visit: http://spphysicianassociates.com/our-serviccs/gianna-center/
Evolving technologies and Fertility apps
Evolving technologies are now supporting women’s reproductive health. With the rapidly expanding fertility apps and new fertility monitoring (data capturing) devices that are now emerging, you may be questioning if these apps and devices are approved by the Catholic Church, and if they are safe and effective.
The key point is that if you use one of these apps or wearable monitoring devices, the same Church teachings apply. When you detect that you are fertile, you either abstain from having sex (if you don’t want to get pregnant) or you engage in the sexual act, open to the possibility that God will bless your union with new life. God’s plan keeps Him this involved in your martial intimacy. Using any type of artificial barrier keeps God out of the equation, and this is what Church teaching disagrees with.
If couples want to consider any of the new technologies, we strongly suggest the following:
- Take a formal NFP course from a certified teacher, and complete the designated curriculum, online or in person (reference link above).
- Do your research!
- For information and reviews on fertility apps, many of which are essentially charting systems, visit: http://www.factsaboutfertility.org/rating-of-fertility-apps-avoiding/
- For information and research on fertility monitoring (data capturing devices) that are now rapidly emerging, a good place to start is the Marquette University Natural Family Planning website or Facebook page. You can use Marquette’s reliability factor as a standard to compare other fertility methods, apps and wearable devices.The Marquette Method of NFP brings 21st century technology to NFP by integrating new hormonal monitoring technology. It does this by using the ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor, a device used at home which measures hormone levels in urine to estimate the beginning and end of the time of fertility in a women’s menstrual cycle. The information from the monitor can be used in conjunction with observations of cervical mucus, basal body temperature, or other biological indicators of fertility.For further information, visit the following: http://nfp.marquette.edu/You can also search for “Marquette method NFP” on Facebook to find online support groups for the Marquette method and ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor.
- Understand the commitment to daily practice (use of method) you need to make. For NFP to truly be effective, it requires consistent use, mutual motivation and loving cooperation.
- Understand the risks and impacts of any of these methods failing. Can you always be open to the possibility of bringing new life into this world?
- Talk to your spouse about NFP, pray, and make a faith-filled and Christ-centered decision, respecting God’s design for married love.
Infertility and alternatives to In Vitro Fertilization
Click here to visit our Infertility Concerns page to learn more.
To talk with the Archdiocesan NFP Coordinator
For additional information, or to talk with the Archdiocesan NFP Coordinator, call the Family Life Office’s NFP Coordinator at 646-794-3182, or email her at email@example.com.
Please note: This office works under the guidance and leadership of the Vicar General, Monsignor (Msgr.) Gregory Mustaciuolo.
Medical consultants are licensed physicians who support and/or promote the use of Natural Family Planning methods.
Dr. Anne Nolte (nee Mielnik), MD, FCMC, Family Practice
(specializing in the Creighton Method – FertilityCareTM)
Gianna Center (NY) – Catholic Healthcare for Women
15 East 40th St. (just West of Madison Ave) Suite 101
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 481-1219
Dr. Kyle Beiter MD, OB/GYN, FCMC
(specializing in the Creighton Method – FertilityCareTM and NaProTechnology)
Gianna Center (NJ) – Catholic Healthcare for Women
254 Easton Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: (732) 565-5490