Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an option to help Catholic families either achieve or avoid pregnancy, including spacing children. This practice observes and tracks fertility signs to accurately determine when a woman is fertile and when she is infertile. In the same way, the NFP also helps couples who want to get pregnant achieve their goal easier.
Married couples are called to be “procreators” and follow God’s plan, but this does not mean that couples must have a family of 10 children. If that is God’s plan, it is fine, but it is also God who provides the natural tools and resources as a means for family planning using natural methods and without permanently damaging the sacred biological functions of men and women.
The Archdiocese of Denver offers workshops and courses for couples who want to learn more about the NFP methods and thus live in grace according to God’s plan. This year, the Archdiocese began teaching the Marquette Model so that couples would have the option of choosing a method that fits them best.
“I have noticed over the years that not every method suits every couple. There is great value in a diocesan NFP program’s ability to offer different methods that help meet the learning or lifestyle needs of a couple. NFP does not have a one size fits all approach,” said Carrie Keating, NFP and Marriage Specialist, to the Denver Catholic.
Although the Marquette Model has been around for approximately 20 years, it has recently received more exposure through social media and through people sharing their experience using this method.
Adding the Marquette Model filled a gap within our diocesan NFP program by providing a method that is more objective in its approach to collecting and interpreting the biomarkers of a woman’s fertility.”Carrie Keating
The Marquette Model method uses the Clear Blue Fertility Monitor along with test strips for women to measure the hormone levels in their urine and identify the beginning and end of their fertile window during each menstrual cycle. If used correctly, this method helps couples trying to conceive identify the most fertile days to increase their chances of pregnancy. For couples who want to avoid pregnancy, this method helps them identify the days they should abstain from intercourse to avoid it.
“This method is very flexible and has the option to incorporate monitor readings, cervical fluid observations, and temperature readings for couples who feel more comfortable with identifying multiple fertility markers or who are coming from other NFP methods and want to continue using that data,” said Theresa Sullivan, RN, BSN, a local Marquette Method-NFP Instructor.
The Marquette Model is designed for every woman and couple. The benefits of opting for this method may vary depending on the needs of each woman. Since there are different ways to monitor the fertile phase, this method also helps women with special reproductive circumstances, such as irregular cycles, breastfeeding, pre-menopause, and postpartum. The monitor is very accurate and easy to use at home and this model is “reversible” as couples may change their family planning goals at any time.
“It is highly recommended to be used only with the guidance of an instructor as this increases efficacy, knowledge, and autonomy,” Sullivan said. “The Marquette Method teachers are all trained medical professionals, including nurses and doctors. We are trained to help women and couples learn more about their bodies and identify any issues that might be preventing cycle regularity or causing infertility.”
For a couple’s life, the benefits of NFP as a whole are enormous: The wife preserves herself from chemicals or devices and remains with her natural cycle. The husband becomes more involved and is responsible for family planning. They both learn a higher degree of self-control and a deeper respect for each other, which results in better intimacy for the couple. And finally, the couple becomes more aware of their extraordinary and generous contributions and responsibilities as procreators with God.
“Adding the Marquette Model filled a gap within our diocesan NFP program by providing a method that is more objective in its approach to collecting and interpreting the biomarkers of a woman’s fertility,” Keating concluded.
For resources on NFP in the Archdiocese of Denver, visit archden.org/eflm/nfp.
To find a local instructor for virtual or in-person sessions for the Marquette Method, visit coloradomarquette.wixsite.com/instructors .