Dr Byron & Francine Pirola are the coauthors of the SmartLoving series. They are also the past president of the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning, a national association responsible for the provision of SymptoThermal Method instruction.
“Twenty years ago we wrote ‘A Total Gift of Self’ – a short booklet designed to pitch the case for FAMs to Catholic couples. We later developed this into a series consisting of the booklet, a 33min DVD and educator resources. As a Total Gift of Self is method agnostic (ie it promotes all morally sound FAM methods) it has been very popular. Around 70,000 copies of the booklet have been distributed through marriage preparation courses in Australia, NZ, UK and USA and many thousands have also accessed the online DVD.
A Total Gift of Self is also part of the SmartLoving Engaged Course which has prepared tens of thousands for Catholic marriage in the last decade. When we analysed the feedback from graduates on the SL Online Engaged course we were stunned to discover that 62% were planning to or already learning FAMs and a further 32% were open to it in the future. Only 5% said they wouldn’t use FAMs.
Our graduates live all over the world so it became obvious that offering an online course to learn how to use FAMs was needed so that we could offer prompt and effective follow up. SmartLoving Fertility is our response.”
There’s an App for that!
In recent years, there has been an explosion in popularity of fertility apps which have been downloaded by tens of millions of users. While some function as simple period trackers based on calendar calculations, some also track basal body temperature, cervical secretions, ovulation tests and other indicators. Many of these also employ sophisticated algorithms to interpret the biodata so that the user doesn’t even need to understand her fertility to use it.
Importantly, most of these apps operate from a completely secular worldview most evident in their indifference to using barriers or withdrawal during the fertile window. Some also record artificial insemination among the ‘sex’ options to note on the record.
A SmartFertility app is in the planning stages and when launched will offer Catholic couples a convenient way to track their fertility in a morally supportive environment.