Your fertility is an integral part of your sexuality. Many popular methods of birth control treat fertility as if it were a disease, using drugs, devices and surgery to “fix” it. Natural Family Planning is a natural and effective alternative which treats fertility as a gift. It is based on years of scientific research into human reproduction. Instructors, trained in the physiology and management of human fertility, can help you to achieve your family planning goals.
Simple to use indicators of fertility
The best way to recognise a woman’s fertile phase, in each cycle, is to observe and record, on a daily basis, powerful indicators of fertility – including cervical secretions and basal body temperature. These indicators enable you, as a couple, to decide when to make love to avoid (or achieve) pregnancy regardless of cycle length.
How to learn
To see an NFP teacher through our agency couples can contact Catholic Marriage and Fertility Services on (08) 9241 5000 to arrange a suitable appointment. Alternatively, couples can learn online through the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning by visiting www.acnfp.com.au
Frequently Asked Questions
Is NFP contraception?
No. NFP is not contraception. Not all methods of Family Planning are contraceptive. NFP works by choosing to abstain from genital contact during the fertile phase of a woman’s cycle. A contraceptive is any agent or device used to prevent conception. Abstinence is not contraceptive. Couples are simply making an informed decision to avoid or achieve pregnancy each cycle.
How does NFP compare to contraceptive methods for planning a family?
Natural Family Planning compares very well with modern contraceptive methods. A 2007 study by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology involving 900 women who contributed 17,638 cycles of information confirmed that the Sympto-Thermal method of Natural Family Planning is 99.4% effective when used as directed to avoid a pregnancy. This makes it as effective as birth control pills.
Why does CMFS promote NFP in their courses and what are the advantages of this method?
Catholic Marriage and Fertility Services promotes Natural Family Planning in its courses for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that Natural Family Planning is the only approach to family planning which is approved by the Catholic Church and CMFS is a Catholic organisation. In other words NFP is Catholic friendly. Other reasons include:
- NFP is highly effective for both avoiding and achieving pregnancy.
- NFP has no side effects.
- NFP is very cost effective.
- NFP can be used by most couples in most situations.
- NFP promotes shared responsibility for fertility in a relationship.
- NFP promotes couple communication.
Our courses provide an opportunity for couples to get reliable information about Natural Family Planning which is not easily accessible in the community.
Can NFP be used by shift workers or people who are fly in / fly out?
Yes. NFP can be used by couples where one or both partners are doing shift work or fly in/fly out. However, CM&FS advises all couples to learn NFP from a teacher accredited by the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning. These teachers are trained to assist couples in learning NFP and can provide extra information and support for couples in these situations.
What if I have sub fertility but want to achieve a pregnancy?
There are many reasons why couples may experience sub fertility such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis, etc. In many cases of sub fertility Natural Family Planning can assist couples to achieve a pregnancy. NFP supports couples to achieve a pregnancy by helping them to identify the most fertile time in each cycle. After 6-12 months of charting fertility cycles a couple may be referred to other health professional for further investigation if they are not achieving pregnancy.
Can I use NFP if I have irregular cycles?
Yes, NFP can be used even if you have irregular cycles. Out-dated methods such as the rhythm method relied on women having regular twenty eight day cycles to be effective. These days, scientists understand that cycles can be affected by many factors including travel, stress and illness. Cycle lengths can also vary from woman to woman. Modern methods such as the Sympto-Thermal method of NFP teach couples to recognise their own unique signs of fertility regardless of cycle length.
Is natural family planning just another name for the rhythm method?
No. Old NFP methods such as the Rhythm Method assumed that women had regular 28 day cycles which we now know is not the case. Modern NFP methods such as the Sympto-Thermal method use the most recent fertility research to help couples recognise the fertile and infertile phases of each cycle regardless of cycle length.
How long does it take to learn NFP?
Most couples find that it takes a couple of cycles before they feel completely confident to use the method autonomously. However, the initial cost that you pay to learn through Natural Fertility Services will cover you for as many appointments as you need to feel confident for six months, with no extra charge. Re-service is available after 6 months for a small fee.
Can I learn NFP online?
Yes. Whilst it is ideal, and many couples find it preferable, to learn NFP face to face with an instructor accredited through the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning this is not always possible if couples don’t have easy access an NFP service. Also, in today’s world some couples prefer the convenience of learning online. However, this can be difficult with a lot of couples struggling with conflicting information from different sites. If you would like to learn online we would recommend the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning. They are a very reliable online service at www.acnfp.com.au.