“Christian life ultimately has its meaning in sacrifice – in making an offering of ourselves – totally giving ourselves in love. Because that’s the meaning of the life of Jesus Christ. And we can make that gift of love in all of our relationships, but you, husbands and wives, you are called to live that gift of self-offering and sacrifice in the most intimate bond of your marriage. And in that way, by making a gift, each to the other, you make a gift of yourselves to God.”
–Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, on the 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae
What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a natural and open method of Fertility Awareness that allows husbands and wives to identify times of fertility and infertility in order to achieve or avoid pregnancy, while prayerfully discerning God’s will for their families. Couples can effectively achieve, postpone, or avoid pregnancy by learning to read different biological signs observed throughout a woman’s reproductive cycle. Single women, tweens, and teens can also benefit from learning to understand their reproductive cycles long before they discern marriage or start families.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! All the modern methods of Natural Family Planning mentioned above boast effectiveness rates as good or better than hormonal contraceptives or barrier methods.* As an added benefit, there are zero side effects using NFP, and the information you gain from charting your cycle can be helpful in identifying underlying health concerns.
* Study conducted by Family of the Americas Foundation included women and couples in Guatemala 2010-2013. Presented at International Institute of Restorative Reproductive Medicine, Research and Practical Applications. July 21, 2010: Greenville, South Carolina
* Frank-Herrmann P., Heil J., Gnoth C., et al. “The effectiveness of a fertility awareness based method to avoid pregnancy in relation to a couple’s sexual behaviour during the fertile time: a prospective longitudinal study.” Human Reproduction 22 (2007): 1310-1319.
* Hilgers T. W., Stanford J. B. “Creighton Model NaProEducation Technology for avoiding pregnancy. Use effectiveness.” Journal of Reproductive Medicine 43 (1998): 495-502.
* Howard M. P., Stanford J. B. “Pregnancy probabilities during use of the Creighton Model of FertilityCare™ System.” Archives of Family Medicine 8 (1999): 391-402.
* Fehring, R. J., & Schneider, M. (2017). Effectiveness of a natural family planning service program. MCN, The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 42(1), 43–49.
* Trussell, J. “Contraceptive failure in the United States.” Contraception 2011; 83:397-404.
* Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers
Compared to the cost of contraceptives, NFP is comparatively inexpensive. Different methods and teachers will charge fees to offset the cost of materials and pay for their services. If you’re concerned about the cost of instruction, don’t let that get in the way of your learning! The Archdiocese of Detroit offers annual grants to NFP teachers and teaching centers that allows women and couples who cannot afford the cost of instruction to learn a method free of charge.
For more information about this program, or to connect with a participating teacher, contact the NFP Office at 313.237.4679 or email NFP@aod.org.
If you are in marriage preparation in the Archdiocese of Detroit, the Introduction to Natural Family Planning online course will give you a basic overview of NFP, how it works, and how to choose a method that works best for you and your spouse. This course satisfies the NFP requirement for marriage preparation. You can access the FREE online course here:
NFP can be organized into three different categories, based on the types of fertility signs observed by the method:
- Ovulation Methods
- Sympto-Thermal Methods
- Sympto-Hormonal Methods
Learn more about the individual methods of NFP here, or check out our Method Comparison Chart, a printable resource to help you compare different methods of NFP, effectiveness rates, and links to more information: English | Español
Check out these resources to learn more about Natural Family Planning:
- Introduction to Natural Family Planning: A FREE online course about NFP, how it works, and how to choose a method that works best for you. English | Español
- Method Comparison Chart: A printable resource to help you compare different methods of NFP, effectiveness rates, and links to more information. English | Español
- Natural Family Planning in Real Life: Using NFP can be challenging. You’re not alone!
- El Regalo de la Planificación Natural de la Familia: Esta es la Buena Nueva: la PNF es un don de Dios, si se vive abierto a la Voluntad de Dios, y es para compartirlo.
- NFP and the Joyful Missionary Disciple: Listen to the Open Door Policy podcast with Laura Sparling, a Marquette Model NFP Teacher, as she discusses her faith, family, and NFP.
- Heroic Love and Family Planning: The Detroit Stories podcast talks with Sergio Lopez and Giovanni Vitale about the importance of getting Men involved in Natural Family Planning.