Which FABM to Choose: Q&As with Instructors and Users

What do you call someone who uses fertility awareness?

We’ve all heard some version of that joke used in reference to FABM (fertility awareness-based methods) and NFP. While fertility awareness has a bad wrap, that punchline glosses over an incredibly complex and beautiful system for understanding and working with a woman’s body.

While our grandparents only had “the rhythm method” available for faithful family planning (which is what that joke is based on), that is certainly not what natural family planning is today. Somehow, the science of fertility awareness has made leaps and bounds, but the stereotype remains unchanged: FABM/ NFP is nothing more than an ineffective means of planning your family.

It’s not only false, it’s not even half the picture. The fact is hormonal birth control is downright antiquated (not to mention anti-feminist), and it’s high time for fertility awareness to become more mainstream.

When it comes to making fertility awareness more accessible, there are three big facts we need to establish:

  1. It is just as effective at avoiding pregnancy as birth control, without the side effects (scroll to the end for effectiveness statistics).
  2. It gives all women between puberty and menopause invaluable information about their overall health.
  3. There are many method options to choose from based on one’s situation. 

Once those facts are known, there is still a huge question lingering that isn’t easy to answer:

Which method is right for me?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could not only know what your options are, but then get some kind of comparative analysis from instructors and users of each method to see which is the best fit for you?

At the risk of sounding like a used car salesman, that’s exactly what this project is all about!

Now, you can scan Q&As from instructors and users of 5 methods of fertility awareness:

Billings Ovulation Method
Creighton Model Fertility Care 
FEMM Health
Marquette Method
Sympto-Thermal Method

Each instructor answers:

  • Why they became an instructor
  • Costs and process to become an instructor
  • A brief description of how the method works
  • Why women choose the method
  • How being an instructor has increased understanding of fertility and faith
  • Resources for those interested in learning more

Each user answers:

  • Why they chose the method 
  • If they used other methods, including birth control, what the transition was like
  • Emotional, financial and intellectual costs
  • Favorite and least favorite thing about the method
  • How fertility awareness affects faith life and marriage
  • What they would tell those interested in learning more

Each Q&A includes a brief bio, photo, and links for you to connect or find instruction.

Click through the links below to read all the Q&As!

Instructor Q&As

Billings Ovulation Method
Creighton Model Fertility Care
FEMM Health
Marquette Method
Sympto-Thermal Method

User Q&As

Billings Ovulation Method
Creighton Model Fertility Care
FEMM Health (coming soon)
Marquette Method
Sympto-Thermal Method


Rates of Effectiveness

“In medical research, effectiveness rates come in pairs. Effectiveness studies report a perfect use effectiveness rate (also called the correct use effectiveness rate) and a typical use effectiveness rate. Both numbers are important, and they are meant to be compared to each other.”
A large discrepancy between the perfect use and typical use rates for a medical treatment would be a bit of a red flag. What it suggests is that a significant portion of the study participants found it difficult to follow the instructions perfectly, and that in that struggle, they weren’t able to experience the therapeutic effects of the treatment.”
Excerpts from, “How Effective is Natural Family Planning (NFP)” by Louise Boychuk at Vitae Fertility

MethodPerfect UseTypical Use
Billings Ovulation Method+97.9-100%94.9-99.5%
Creighton Model Fertility Care99.5%96.8%
FEMM Health++98-92%
Marquette Method98.4%98%
Sympto-Thermal Method99.6%98.2%
Hormonal Birth Control (pill)99.7%91%
+ Billings numbers are given in a range since studies have been conducted individually by country, and numbers therefore vary country-to-country.
++Since FEMM Health was more recently developed (2012), concrete studies of method effectiveness have not yet been completed, thus the range of typical use effectiveness only.
* When choosing a method of fertility awareness, effectiveness rates should be considered in conjunction with how the method works (ie fits in your lifestyle and fertility needs)
* These statistics do not include women who are postpartum or menopausal