The most effective and healthiest way to cooperate with each other and with God is to use a natural fertility method. There is no need to overwhelm a woman’s natural body rhythms with chemicals or permanently sterilise either a husband or wife to avoid pregnancy. Modern science has developed consistently reliable and practical methods of tracking and determining a woman’s fertility. These natural fertility methods also respect the intrinsic sacredness of the couple’s sexual communion.
11. The Pregnancy Rate is taken from various sources and is the Method Effectiveness (unplanned pregancy in first year of perfect use). This measure is one standard means used to describe the percentage of women per year who have an accidental pregnancy while properly applying the method. This measure does not include pregnancies that result from incorrect use. The ‘User Effectiveness’ is a more realistic measure (counts all pregnancies irrespective of whether the method was being used properly or not) but varies widely depending on the motivation of the subjects and the conditions under which the study was conducted. For all methods the User Effectiveness is higher.
4.World Health Organisation, Multicentre Study, Fertility and Sterility 1981, Vol 36. pp 152, 591
5 .Hilgers, T. and Stanford, J; ‘Creighton Model NaProEducation Technology for avoiding pregnancy: use effectiveness’, Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 1998; 43: 495-502.
6. Guida M., et al. Gynecological Endocrinology 1997; Arévalo M., et al. Contraception May 2002, World Health Organization, Fertility and Sterility, 1981; Trussell, et al., Family Planning Perspectives, 1990 cited in http://www.irh.org/nfp.htm; See also, ‘Consensus Statement: Breastfeeding as a Family Planning Method,’ The Lancet, 19 November 1988.
7. Murtagh, J. (1998), General Practice, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill.
9. Trussell J.,‘Contraceptive Efficacy,’ in Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Stewart F, Nelson A, Cates W, Guest F, Kowal D., Contraceptive Technology: 18th Revised Edition. New York NY: Ardent Media, 2004.
10. For further information, see the manufacturers’ instructions, and: Hatcher, R.A, et al (1994) in Contraceptive Technology, 16th Ed., Chapters 5 & 27, Irvington Publishers Inc, New York. Wilks, J., A Consumer’s Guide to the Pill & Other Drugs, 1996, TGB Books, Melbourne. Kaunitz AM, Arias R, McClung M. Contraception. 2008;77: 67-76 Aisien AO. African Journal of Reproductive Health. 2007 Apr;11(1):90-7 Prescrire Int. 2007: Dec;16(92):248-9 Paterson H, Clifton J, Miller D, Ashton J, Harrison-Woolrych M. Contraception. 2007: Oct; 76 (4): 306
“Sexual intercourse is the ultimate expression of love between us as husband and wife. When words are inadequate, sex allows us to express the depth of our feeling for each other and to reconfirm our commitment to love ‘all the days of our life’. In entering into sex, we hold nothing back – each act of love is a gesture and a celebration of a total gift of ourselves to each other.” – Susan
“After ten years on the pill it was starting to have a bad effect our marriage. I felt irritable and generally unsexy most of the time. Sex became infrequent and when we did make love, it was a shallow experience for us both. I resented being on the pill and I blamed my husband and thought he was selfish. Then one day Greg confessed to almost having an affair. Thank God he didn’t but it gave us a wake up call. We heard about natural fertility methods at a couple’s workshop and decided to give it a go, though at the time, we still didn’t want any more children. When I stopped the pill and we began relying on a natural fertility method the first shock was how sexy and passionate towards Greg I started to feel. We had slipped into using sex for personal recreation. When we started tracking my fertility and reading about the theology behind the method we experienced an amazing rejuvenation in our marriage. I felt healthier and more confident as a woman. We were more together as a couple, making the decisions about our family planning jointly, instead of me carrying the burden alone. And there was a freedom in our lovemaking –it took on new depth and is now a deeply spiritual thing for us; not just a physical act but an emotional connection as well. The irony is, we have less abstinence using natural fertility methods than we did when I was on the pill” – Beth.
Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children.
Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links.