Archive for the ‘Sympto-Thermal Method’ Category

Some Natural Family Planning Questions

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

A man wrote asking several questions about NFP.  Here are John’s response to those questions or concerns.

Thanks for writing.  I will try to help.

1.  Couple with a serious reason to avoid pregnancy.  You have described a very difficult situation, and I can empathize with your priest.  However, he erred in saying that the couple in that situation can use contraception.  He should read my book, Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality.  In a chapter on the formation of conscience, I quote Pope John Paul II over and over again to show that the teaching reaffirmed by Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae is binding and cannot be changed.  It is not a matter of situation ethics.  In the situation you describe, I would recommend that the couple abstain from relations from the beginning of menstruation until a combination of signs indicate that she is in postovulation infertility.  A woman who is ovulating will have a temperature shift after ovulation as well as having her mucus dry up.  The couple might want to wait for what we call a Rule C interpretation or add one day to the other rules.

I highly recommend that you get a copy of our current manual, Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach at You can download it, but I recommend getting the paper copy with the spiral binding.

2.  Comparative research has shown that the cross-checking sympto-thermal method is more effective than mucus by itself.  I don’t know what you mean by a normal sleep pattern.  We have seen “ideal” charts from a nurse who worked constantly changing shifts.  We address these issues in our manual.  Few mothers of young children have no interruptions of sleep for weeks on end, and that is usually not a problem.  The important thing is to follow the temperature-taking guidelines in our manual.

3.  The question about menopause is too vague for an answer.  Menopause can be a difficult time because ovulation becomes less frequent.  If a woman is well experienced in both the mucus and cervix signs, she can identify the fertile and infertile times very well and can engage in the marriage act with a relative lack of abstinence.  However, if they are very fearful of pregnancy, then the best thing to do, barring gaining confidence in her observations, is to abstain until her signs say she is in post-ovulation infertility.

The Gospel for this past Sunday dealt with the teaching of Jesus about the need to accept and carry our cross daily.  There is no doubt that the practice of marital chastity provides a cross, sometimes light and sometimes heavy.  It is also true that the cross is the price of discipleship.

If you have more questions after you have studied our current manual, feel free to write or call.

In His service,
John F. Kippley
PS:  The man’s Response to John:  “Your response gets to the heart of the matter and helps much. Thank you. (and thanks for the prompt reply).”

Natural Family Planning: A Debate Once Settled

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

The Catholic Church is the only real hope of this country.  The Protestant churches have all caved on the matter of birth control, most of the them have caved on abortion, and I’m not sure how many will stand firm against sodomy as marriage.  Logically, the acceptance of contraception entails the acceptance of sodomy, as was predicted and then fulfilled in the Church of England.

The importance of the Catholic Church is what makes our work so frustrating.

Also frustrating is the fact that the US  Bishops started the Human Life Foundation in 1968 which then succeeded in getting the NIH to run a comparative study of the Ovulation Method (OM) and the Sympto-Thermal Method  (STM) in 1976-1978.  What they found was that the STM was so superior to the OM that they discontinued the study early.  The professional ethics of the investigators would not allow them to put people into the OM side after they were certain that the STM was superior.  As the study reported, “It is of interest that after couples were informed in August, 1978, that a statistically significant trend in the pregnancy rates between the OM and STM groups had been found, almost all of the STM volunteers continued in training and virtually all of the OM volunteers requested to be, and were, thoroughly trained in STM.”

Drs. John Billings and Thomas Hilgers raised objections, apparently forgetting that any faults of the study applied to both sides, and their comments had no effect on the final report in 1981.  So after the bishops got this study, the various diocesan offices seem to ignore it.  It seems to me that dioceses do more promotion of the OM than any other program.  The user effectiveness of the OM in that study was just under 61%.  The Joanne Doud study of the Creighton Model reported a user effectiveness of 96% but when standard statistics were applied (counting the pregnancies that the couples themselves said were unplanned), the rate was 67%.  Yet dioceses seem to think that this is the way to go.

I have to wonder if one reason for the failure of the Church to persuade great numbers of couples to use only natural methods might be that the imperfect-use rates of the most touted systems are in the same ballpark as the Calendar Rhythm that they sometimes compare and criticize.

I am convinced that the bishops need to adopt a core curriculum for NFP that will give couples sufficient information so that they will be able to make informed choices about which signs they want to use or not use.  What we have had for the last 45 years has not been working.  I think it’s time to have both a mandated course and that such a course be sufficiently complete.

John Kippley

Natural Family Planning: The Value of the Temperature Sign

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Here  are some benefits pf using the temperature sign during a woman’s fertile years:

Is a one-minute sign.  Does not take all day to observe.

Provides 99% certainty of pregnancy and saves the test of a pregnancy kit.

Tells you when pregnancy has not occurred.

Tells you when your period is about to start.

Tells you when a very fertile-looking mucus patch was not associated with ovulation.

Tells you when you have irregular shedding.

Identifies a double mucus patch.

May inform a woman that she is sick or has a special situation even if she feels fine.

May give her a clue as to why she hasn’t conceived.

Gives a clear indication of post-ovulation infertility, so much so that one particular type of thermal shift has been found to be equivalent to sterilization.

Gives a good indication of the end of pre-ovulation infertility, thanks to Dr. E. K. Doering.

Works well for a cycling breastfeeding mother.

Gets the husband involved whether trying to conceive or avoid.

Is very objective and easy to learn.

Unfortunately, some persons say things about the temperature sign that are mistaken.  For good instruction on temperature-taking and answers to some common misunderstandings, read Chapter 3 in Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach.  A good basal digital thermometer is recommended at the NFPI website.

Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach