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Marquette Method of NFP offers advantage of simplicity

By ASHLEY SLACK
03/04/2022 | Comments

What do you get when you combine God’s plan for marriage with 21st-century technology? One answer to that question is the Marquette Method of Natural Family Planning.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to methods of monitoring natural signs of fertility to determine a woman’s fertile window, utilizing that information to either avoid or achieve pregnancy.

Before my husband and I were married, I was not yet Catholic and he was not yet living out the fullness of the faith. While the marriage preparation program we completed in Maryland introduced us to NFP, it did not equip us to actually live out the Catholic marital call to participate in the unitive and procreative nature of the sacrament.

As I began the Rite of Christian Iniation for Adults process and discerned converting to Catholicism, my awareness to matters of respecting life grew. I knew what the Church taught about contraception, human sterilization and other reproductive technologies. To ignore it was to imperil my soul as well as my husband’s, so shortly after our second child was born, we started to sincerely try to practice NFP.

Unfortunately, the reality of breast-feeding, frequent wake-ups and the general busyness of young family life was not compatible with the other methods of NFP we had researched and attempted. I remember saying to my husband, “I don’t understand this and I don’t have time to be constantly thinking about NFP!” We were both exasperated.

I struggled to throw the doors open to whatever new life God wanted to create out of our little family. I did not trust that being open to life wouldn’t leave us with more children than we could handle.

I also did not trust in God’s love for me and my family. That is the brutal truth of the matter. I didn’t trust that God cared enough to have a plan for our family, or that his plans are inherently good because he is goodness itself.

It was when we finally found the method of NFP that worked for us that we were able to not only “get” NFP, but to also genuinely open our hearts to the blessing of new life. For some families, the Creighton, Billings or symptothermal methods — which boast impressive success rates — are the best fit. For our family, though, the best fit is the Marquette Method.

We have been blessed in our diocese with a number of wonderful NFP instructors, and now we have added our very own Marquette instructor to the mix. I recently interviewed Ashley Hendricks of Vitae Fertility about the Marquette Method in an effort to shine a light on this effective, accurate and highly- scientific form of Natural Family Planning. It is our hope that the advent of this technology empowers families to embrace the unitive and procreative nature of marriage that God intended for us.

 

Describe the Marquette method of NFP.

The Marquette Method (MM) of NFP utilizes the Clearblue Fertility monitor and research-based protocols to determine fertile and infertile phases in a woman’s cycle. Women test urinary hormone levels using the digital monitor in the morning, and chart once a day. The method is evidence-based, taught by doctors and nurses, and can be used at any point in a woman’s fertility journey.

 

How effective and accurate is Marquette?

In regular cycles, the Marquette Method is 98.4% effective in avoiding pregnancy when used perfectly and 98% effective with typical use. Perfect use means participants in a study followed all the rules to achieve the desired results. Typical use refers to study participants who did not follow all of the rules, but still achieved the desired results. When typical use and perfect use rates are close together, as in the case of MM, it means the method is easy to teach and easy to use.

 

How much does it cost?

The start-up costs include buying a Clearblue fertility monitor, fertility test sticks, and the cost of instruction. The only ongoing cost is the fertility test strips. The number of test sticks needed each month will depend on what reproductive phase you are in.

 

Why use Marquette?

It’s simple. You test with the monitor in the morning and can then be done monitoring your fertility for the rest of the day. It’s objective. It takes the guesswork out of tracking your fertility. It’s effective, and often it allows for more days of intimacy because it can be tailored to a woman’s unique cycles.

 

How long does it take to learn Marquette?

At Vitae Fertility, we have an initial one-hour teaching session with clients. The initial session discusses the basics of NFP (how the body works, how fertility works, effectiveness rates), as well as the specifics of how Marquette works for the phase of fertility the couple is currently in (breastfeeding protocol, regular cycles, perimenopause, special circumstances).

The instructors and client assess individual fertility needs, and then schedule follow-up appointments as needed. Every couple has the support of their instructor via email or text message for a full year with the option to renew for ongoing instruction.

How do I set up private instruction?

You can reach out to me directly at Ashley.hendricks@vitaefertility.com or go to https://www.vitaefertility.com/ for more information.

 

What does the Church say about NFP?

NFP allows couples to experience the full gift of marriage by enabling conjugal love to be unitive and procreative. However, the Church calls us to be responsible, and grave circumstances may cause couples to try to avoid pregnancy. NFP gives couples the opportunity to avoid pregnancy, when necessary, while still following the teachings of the Church.

 

How does NFP help couples to be open to life?

God has given us marriage and fertility as a gift. However, many couples may feel afraid of their fertility and unsure if NFP is right for them. When couples use NFP, they learn to work cooperatively with their fertility and fully give themselves to one another. The USCCB states, “that power to create a new life with God is at the heart of what spouses share with each other.”

Some additional resources for couples interested in NFP or the Marquette Method include www.vitaefertility.com, the USCCB website (usccb.org/topics/natural-family-planning) and Humanae Vitae.

(Ashley Slack is a member of St. Benedict Parish in Falcon.)


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