Natural family planning (NFP)
Part 3- Interest and use
NFP is a method that requires shared responsibility and cooperation of both partners. It is suited for faithful marriages. With appropriate choice of an NFP method, women with any kind of cycles or no cycles, breastfeeding, or entering menopause, can use NFP.
In the United States, currently only about 1-3% of couples currently use pure NFP to avoid pregnancy. There are no statistics on the use of NFP to conceive or on the use of FACM. However, population-based surveys that I conducted in Missouri and Utah suggest that up to 25% of women of reproductive age would be interested in using NFP or FACM to avoid pregnancy, and up to 33% to conceive. In Utah, men had similar interest. These surveys also suggest that the use of FACM is much higher than pure NFP. Our population-based study in Utah found that while 3% of couples were using pure NFP, 13% were using some kind of fertility awareness combined with condoms or other barriers.
Why donâ€™t more couples use NFP (or FACM)?
1) Most couples donâ€™t know someone else who uses it.
2) The number of qualified NFP teachers available varies geographically, but is still limited in most places.
3) Insurance companies do not reimburse couples for professional health services related to NFP to the extent that they do for contraception or sterilization.
4) Physicians and health professionals are widely uninformed (or misinformed) about modern NFP, and usually they do not even discuss the option with patients. Most medical schools and continuing medical education programs lack adequate and accurate information about NFP.
Why do some LDS couples use NFP?
Couples who use NFP have told me the following (all adapted from written statements provided directly to me by LDS couples).
1) It improved their relationship in all aspects.
2) They gained a sense of freedom and control over their powers of procreation.
3) They experienced a greatly increased appreciation and higher priority for sexual activity once the fertile days are over.
4) They talked about sex more, and talk about other things more.
5) The woman had increased respect for her husband because of his willingness to abstain during the fertile days for her sake.
6) Days of no intercourse were replaced with other loving activities. This enhanced their sexual life.
7) They had an increased understanding and appreciation for their bodies, and felt their expressions and feelings of love were deeper when they made love.
8) They gave God even greater reverence for the gift of procreation.
9) They felt more prepared to teach their children about reproduction, both medical facts and respect for the process.
10) The abstinence required made teaching children about the sacredness of sexuality more believable.
These advantages should not be interpreted to mean that the use of NFP is always easy. Almost all of these couples also indicated that they struggled with learning and applying NFP in their lives for some period of time (usually at least a month or more typically, several months) before they began noticing these benefits. NFP is a way of life or a lifestyle that is quite different from other methods of family planning that are promoted in the world around us.
For more religious and moral perspectives on NFP from a variety of viewpoints, including LDS, visit
click on LINKS, and scroll to â€œmoral and religious perspectivesâ€?