Fertility Awareness Method


Is Natural Family Planning (NFP) the same thing as the secular Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) ? Any clarification is appreciated. Thank you.


FAM is different from NFP.

NFP instructs genital contact during the fertile time is to be avoided. FAM instructs genital contact is OK if using a barrier method of contraception.

FAM uses the same charting technique as STM.


Yes, this is the big difference. But the actual charting methods are very very similar. I learned FAM before I converted, and then took an NFP class. That was the main difference. The way of taking and charting temps, cervical fluid and position, and other signs (such as ovulation pain, etc) are all pretty much the same. If you know FAM, you know the basics of NFP, just omit the part about using ABC during fertile times and abstain for those days. I still use my FAM book as a reference, even though I am actually using Creighton method now.


Yup… that’s the difference…

But the general “charting” rules are the same as the sympto-thermal method…
FAM material can be a good learning resource for NFP users… as long as you are taught to use it within the morality of the church…


Thanks, thats what i was wondering. I am trying to work up the courage to pitch it to my agnostic wife. I need to secularize it to the best of my ability so that she may think about it. There is no problem with the barrier method because I will not use them. So, in conclusion: FAM would be a good way to get a non-catholic onboard NFP? Thanks


That’s why I love promoting this “side” of NFP… it’s a great way to draw in non-Catholics…


oh… I meant to add…
Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a great FAM resource…
Just ignore the contracepting parts… :wink:

Take baby steps… introduce it totally as a secular thing… maybe she’ll be drawn in!!!


I would think FAM would be less reliable, especially when using a mucus-based fertility symptom method. Getting DW all hotnbothered right around ovulation time is sure to make for confused mucus readings! Methinks real NFP makes more sense for those with legit reasons to avoid, even apart from the moral issues around barrier methods.


FAM is not mucus-based, it is STM. It uses temps too. The ones that don’t use temps are Creighton and Billings.


I see. No experience with STM here. We’s Billing folk! Mucus is more trustworthy than temp, IMO.


Just FYI… STM is temperature AND mucus…
They work together in the STM.


On FAM being less reliable - in her book, Toni Weschler suggests using a barrier during fertile periods, but reminds readers that it is risky. If a barrier fails during an infertile period, pregnancy won’t happen; but if it fails during a fertile period, pregnancy is highly likely. Since failure rates are based on both fertile and infertile periods, the actual rate if using a barrier with FAM is much higher than stated in literature about the barrier method!!

So yes, in a way, FAM would be less reliable if used with a barrier method. But both FAM and NFP are based on the same science. In theory, each is equally effective when used properly.



Now I’m really confused, so I need to be a bit explicit. If STM and FAM both partly rely upon mucus symptoms, how can arousal and lubricants NOT mess up the reading of symptoms just before and after ovulation?

My understanding is that in the early days, you watch for mucus to appear. When it does you abstain until three days AFTER mucus shows pweak symptoms (slippery, wet, stretchy). Female arousal tends to make symptoms like this, so intercourse in the early days (even with a condom) would seem likely to spark a false positive for the onset of mucus. Thus, FAM would seem to have you using a condom for two+ weeks a month?


DH and I use STM, and I check my mucus patterns all throughout the day. Since I know when I’m aroused, I don’t “count” that feeling of wetness as part of a mucus observation. Just like after intercourse, the next day, you don’t really “count” the stuff coming out down there, because it’s most likely just seminal residue (this is what I was taught, btw). And since temps are used to cross-check, I don’t worry about it too much, but that’s just me. :wink:


Has anyone had complications with using anti-histamines like zyrtec and testing mucus?


I have heard of that. I think it depends on whether the individual is really sensitive to the effects of the antihistamine. It effects some people more than others.


I just read Taking Charge of your Fertility, and thought it was a wonderful read. I just ignored the part about barrier methods. I especially liked that once you are aware of your cycles/patterns, it can be used to diagnose potential problems, INCREASE the chance of having a baby, as well as point to signs of impending menopause. My DH even picked up the book and said “Wow! There’s a lot of good stuff in here!”


Excellent question. I was wondering the same thing.




DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.