Frequently asked questions


The idea of NFP sounds great, but what if I am/we are still apprehensive?

Short answer: Take small steps.

If you are not at a place to quit your current method cold turkey, then first learn the method of NFP that best suits your needs and begin to chart. Day by day, month by month grow in confidence in learning how to observe and interpret your cycles. While we do not encourage or promote the use of contraceptives, you may gradually wean yourself off of them. If you are on the Pill or some other form of hormonal contraceptive, replace that with a barrier method and use it in conjunction with your chosen method of NFP (essentially then you would be practicing what is known as Fertility Awareness Method). When you are ready, remove all contraceptive use and experience all the benefits of NFP! Just remember that when abstaining from intercourse during the fertile window of your cycle you will not get pregnant; but if you use a barrier or other mode of contraceptive during that phase you could potentially get pregnant because every form of contraception has the potential for failure and you would be subjecting yourselves to the failure rate of the chosen contraceptive. Let us be lovingly clear, FAM is not the same as NFP. We want to invite you to a life of authentic intimacy, be it by small steps or by taking the full plunge.

Why have I not heard of this before?

Short answer: Organizations with influence never trust that the average person can abstain.

It has not been easy to get mainstream society - particularly health providers and schools - to accept that there are viable alternatives of birth regulation for those who don't want to contracept. In recent decades those of us who took sex education at public high schools only received information about the Pill, IUD, and condoms -- and were told that withdrawal and the rhythm methods do not work. Aside from jokes made at the expense of “religious people”, there was absolutely no mention of Natural Family Planning. We are working hard to promote the science behind Serena's Sympto-Thermal Method (STM). Internationally, NFP has been acknowledged to be a safe and viable option to avoid pregnancy. Check out this article on NFP published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information and the BMJ, a peer-reviewed medical journal. Swaying the opinion of medical professionals who have a bias toward forms of contraception has certainly proven to be no easy feat! In secular circles there is growing interest in the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), which is essentially using a form of NFP but contracepting with a barrier or other method during the fertile window of the woman's cycle. Holly Grigg-Spall's book, Sweetening the Pill, has a lot of media attention and is getting women more aware there are actually other ways to manage fertility without hormonal birth control. A documentary about her book is in the works by Ricki Lake. Recently, the Sun News Network and Vancouver 24 Hrs have published articles about more women turning to NFP for non-religious reasons.

What's the difference between NFP and FAM?

Short answer: Abstinence.

Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is essentially using a form of NFP but attempting to prevent pregnancy with a barrier method during the fertile window of the woman's cycle. The problem with this: you are having sex during your fertile time and even if you are not planning on it, your chances of getting pregnant are greatly increased. With any contraceptive use, you would be subjecting yourself to the failure rate of the particular method. Conversely, NFP helps couples identify their fertile window through various signs and symptoms and then recommends abstinence during this time if they are trying to avoid pregnancy. The potential downer to this is that as a couple, you must abstain from sex during this phase. The benefit? A dramatically better chance of effectively planning your family AND the "honeymoon period" that is experienced each cycle when you can resume intercourse at the same time when the fertile phase ends (abstinence makes the heart grow fonder). While FAM is a step towards NFP, it is NOT NFP. The practice of NFP ceases at the point any contraceptive is introduced. If you are using FAM, we encourage you to consider making the switch to NFP -- we can help you! We believe that contraception does not and can never facilitate authentic intimacy between husband and wife. For more on why this is so read more on contraception.