Why does it feel like NFP is a secret?
It shouldn’t be.
Natural Family Planning offers a way forward for modern couples, a healthy solution to the challenging issues of family planning.
But at present, confusion predominates, for the simple reason that most people don’t know what NFP is!
Even among Catholics, NFP isn’t widely understood.
Very few people know that NFP exists – and if they do know it exists, they probably think it doesn’t work.
But consider these facts:
- In the US, middle school, high school, and college sex education programs rarely mention NFP in any detail
- US medical schools and nursing programs rarely teach NFP or related methods
- Of 160,000 who marry in the Catholic Church each year, only 4,000 (2.5%) take a course on NFP
- Only 1 in 500 couples (0.2%) who receive counseling through Planned Parenthood are taught about NFP or related methods
Outside of a small niche of committed Catholics, and some alternative women’s health practioners, NFP is almost unknown.
Yet NFP is based in hard science, rigorously evaluated in study after study. No one disputes that NFP:
- Is about 99% effective in preventing pregnancy – statistically equivalent to “the pill”
- Enables couples to conceive much more easily, even those diagnosed as “subfertile”
- Requires no synthetic hormones or surgical procedures
- Has no undesirable health effects
- Provides extremely useful information for a woman about her own health
Beyond these real and quantifiable benefits, many couples discover that when they embrace the practice of NFP, their relationship transforms for the better. No longer is the woman forced to shoulder the responsibility for family planning by herself – along with the side effects of hormonal contraception.
When women learn about NFP for the first time, they commonly say one (or more) of the following:
- “I can’t believe I never learned this before!”
- “Why didn’t they teach us this in high school?!”
- “Every woman should know this!”
- “I only wish I knew this sooner!”
- “This changed my life!”
At present, most couples believe that modern contraception is the only reliable way to plan their families.
This belief is false – but no one has taught them otherwise.
Somehow, one can go through decades of schooling in our society – including advanced degrees in biology and medicine – and never acquire basic, functional knowledge of one’s own fertility.
How did we get to this perplexing state?
Again, it’s complicated. We don’t have all the answers.
But the cure for ignorance is knowledge. More people should learn about NFP, understand what’s involved, and then – based on their own values and their own needs – choose what’s best for themselves and their families.
NFP shouldn’t be the Church’s best kept secret. Catholics especially should learn the truth of the Church’s teachings on family planning. And people of all backgrounds can benefit from NFP.
Fertility Lifestyle teaches NFP from a Catholic perspective, in a style that is accessible to people of all faiths.