As a continuation of our Natural Family Planning: How to Get Started Series we will move forward in learning more about the most commonly used, modern, NFP methods. This week we are pleased to welcome LTS member and the NFP Coordinator for Northwest Family Services, Lauren Fuller, to give us a review of SymptoProTM Fertility Education! Thank you Lauren!
Northwest Family Services has been providing quality Fertility Education for over 30 years. Our program, SymptoPro™ Fertility Education (SFE), is an effective, scientifically based method of natural family planning that treats fertility as a normal, healthy process. SFE is based on the research of Dr. Josef Roetzer.
SymptoPro™ is a Sympto-Thermal method of NFP based on changes in a woman’s cervical mucus, waking or resting temperature, and cervix (optional).
Mucus: The woman performs a tissue observation before and after every voiding, observing the qualities of any mucus present. Additionally, she is aware of her vaginal sensations throughout the day.
Temperature: The woman takes her temperature upon waking every day.
Cervix: An optional sign, some women find this additional information helpful. A cervical check may be performed at the end of every day, tracking the changes of the cervix itself.
For an extra 2-5 minutes per day, a couple can discover an accurate picture of the woman’s cycles, which allows them to making family planning decisions about whether to abstain during the possibly fertile time or take advantage of that time to achieve a pregnancy. Additionally, these observations provide crucial health information for those having difficulty achieving.
At the end of the day, she notes the temperature of the morning. She also notes the most fertile sign both seen (by tissue) and felt (by sensation). Additional traits/comments may be used to help round out the picture of the cycle. The couple then learns through personal instruction how to interpret the changes to find the fertile/infertile times of the cycle.
SymptoPro™ Providers are trained to handle a wide range of special circumstances including breastfeeding, premenopause, discontinuing hormonal contraceptives, long cycles, continuous mucus, etc . Clients are encouraged to contact their provider during any change in reproductive status, or any time there is a question. Medical assistance is encouraged when appropriate. Providers themselves may always take advantage of consultation with their supervisor when needed.
Effective use of SFE involves learning from a certified SymptoPro Provider. We offer three ways for women and couples to learn NFP. All of the instructional methods listed below connect the client with a personal provider. Chart reviews with your provider continue for at least the first 4-6 cycles, and then as needed. There is never an additional charge for further consultation.
In Person: This method of NFP education is highly recommended. Each class series consists of three, two-hour classes that meet over the course of one month with personalized follow-up. The benefits to this approach include face-to-face instruction, an easily facilitated relationship with your SymptoPro™ Provider, and the opportunity to ask questions both of your provider and of the other couples. These classes do not ask that you share any personal information with the other class participants. We have certified providers in most states and encourage you to contact us for the name of someone nearby or check our online instructors list.
Online: If your schedule does not allow you to attend an in-person NFP classes, or if you do not have a provider near you, we offer an online NFP course. Containing all of the same information and materials as the in-class series, this option allows for greater flexibility of schedule. You will be assigned a personal provider who will be available to answer questions and provide personalized feedback. The timeline for completion is the same as the in person classes, about a month, though you are given 4 months access to the online course.
Mail-in Correspondence: If you are both unable to make the in-person classes and do not have ready accessibility to a computer, you may opt to learn NFP through our correspondence course. Much like the online course, the correspondence course contains all of the necessary components for learning NFP, but all information is sent via mail.
Each SymptoPro™ Provider or Provider group sets its own instruction fee, usually between $75 – $135. This one-time fee includes the cost of materials, all support needed within a client’s reproductive lifetime, and a small fee to compensate the instructor for his/her time. If you are in need of financial assistance please don’t hesitate to discuss this with your provider.
- SFE allows for crosschecking the mucus pattern against the temperature pattern, which allows for very high effectiveness and confidence among our clients. Additionally, if one sign is disturbed or unreliable (e.g., fever, or yeast infection), one can fall back on the other sign(s) to determine fertile status.
- We provide very objective markers for determining the day’s signs, to allow for ease and accuracy in symptom recording.
- Couples who are taught well, understand the method, are clear about their family planning intention, and carefully follow all the rules for avoiding a pregnancy all the time will experience a 98 to 99.9 percent effectiveness rate. Couples who occasionally do not follow all the rules for avoiding a pregnancy will most likely experience a pregnancy rate similar to condoms and other barrier methods.
- Our method stems from Catholic teaching, but is taught in an ecumenical light, allowing couples easy access to quality fertility education, regardless of faith background.
SFE offers an online charting program for all clients. It allows:
- Ease of charting: Either you or your spouse can access your online chart to enter daily observations. This allows ease of charting while travelling, as well as ease of charting on mobile devices, such as a laptop or tablet.
- Ease of chart sharing with your SymptoPro™ Providers: sending your chart to your provider is as easy as the click of a button!
Online Charting Information:
You will be able to place your own interpretation on your charts, but this program will NOT offer automatic interpretation. Each woman and each cycle may have many variations that would benefit from the trained eye of a provider. We hope that this program allows each couple to do that in a more efficient and timely manner. Remember that help from your provider is always FREE of charge, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve taken the course.
If you have taken our online course or are currently enrolled, this program is FREE. If you learned NFP from one of our in-person courses, or if you took the online course prior to September 2009, there is a one-time fee of 12 dollars. This is not a recurring fee – this one-time payment gives you permanent access to online charting.
Our website: http://www.symptopro.org/
Contact Lauren Fuller for more info firstname.lastname@example.org
This spotlight was written by:
Natural Family Planning Coordinator, Northwest Family Services