February 4, 2021
Editor’s Note: In 2013, FACTS began to train speakers to provide the presentations we created to share the science of fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) with medical professionals, students, and the public. We have now equipped more than one hundred speakers to share the FACTS in their universities, training programs, hospitals, clinics, and communities throughout the United States and internationally.
This past year, we have featured a FACTS-trained speaker monthly to highlight the diversity and expertise of our talented speakers. Our Speaker Training Program helps us fulfill our mission to educate medical professionals and students about the science behind fertility awareness. Through our webinars, conferences, and various speaking events throughout the year, we provide evidence-based information so patients benefit from a medical community that is well informed about FABMs.
This month, we are delighted to introduce a friend of FACTS from Europe! Ronda Léchaire-Callahan, a Sympto-Thermal Method educator in Switzerland, relies on FACTS as a source of accurate information for her clients and trainees. We are grateful for her support of FACTS and her contributions to the success of our webinar program.
Meet Ronda Léchaire-Callahan
Ronda Léchaire-Callahan leads two non-profit women’s health organizations in Lausanne, Switzerland: a birthing home named Eden she founded with a team of midwives, and Eden Fertilité Institute, which offers French-speaking training in the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) of natural fertility in accordance with the Sensiplan® interpretation rules. Ronda and her team developed their unique methodology and educational materials to offer the STM Eden Fertilité approach, which is client-centered, secular, and supports a holistic approach to fertility.
The mother of two young children, Ronda has practiced fertility awareness since 2003. She first trained as a Sympto-Thermal consultant in Switzerland in 2005 and has been certified by Sensiplan® PFN Belgium since 2019. She organizes training courses and conferences regularly in Switzerland and abroad, and runs the first and only Sensiplan e-learning course. Ronda is a board member of Ecologie du cycle féminin and a member of the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals (AFAP).
Experience as an STM Educator
Reflecting on her adult students after an introductory workshop on the menstrual cycle and the Sympto-Thermal Method, she notes their initial reaction is often to ask, “Why weren’t we taught this before? This should be a part of the school curriculum.” A grateful nurse who took her course remarked, “This workshop completely changed my outlook on my body and my fertility.”
“Fertility awareness is empowering for individuals and for couples,” explains Ronda, and the relevance of this information reaches beyond women. “I’m seeing more and more men who want their partners to switch to ‘natural contraception.’”
Both women and men benefit from instruction in FABMs and charting the female cycle in a variety of ways. “When clients come back with their first post-hormonal contraception cycle, many are delighted to see an immediate increase in libido. Being able to accurately observe the different phases of their cycle also allows clients to anticipate cycle length (e.g., my period will likely come later, since I ovulated later than usual). Instructors can also help pinpoint potential health issues related to the cycle and/or fertility and refer clients to the appropriate health professionals for diagnostics or treatment.”
The International Impact of FACTS
As an educator, Ronda finds tremendous value in the resources and educational opportunities FACTS makes available. Expanding on the educational impact of these resources for her work in Switzerland, she explains, “I use FACTS’ knowledge base in our train-the-trainer certification to ensure our holistic fertility awareness educators at Eden fertilité have the most up-to-date scientific information related to FABMs.” Her desire to learn more led her to facilitate case study discussions in the online FACTS elective, where she finds “the interaction with medical students around (her) work with Sympto-Thermal clients very stimulating.”
Ronda considers FACTS “an essential source of accurate, scientific information around everything related to FABMs.” She praised the apps study[i] conducted by Duane et al as “a great reference used in all of Eden fertilité’s training programs. Being able to refer to FACTS as an organization of medical and fertility awareness professionals during our courses allows potential clients and students to have greater confidence that FABMs can be effective (to avoid or delay pregnancy).”
Growing Interest in Fertility Awareness
Ronda is very aware that FABMs are gaining in popularity. She recognizes the value of listening to your clients and patients to understand their needs and concerns more fully. “If an individual desires a birth control method with similar or even more reliability than the pill, the World Health Organization refers to the Sympto-Thermal Method as being 98-99% effective. To obtain this high level of effectiveness, it’s essential to work with an instructor over several cycles.” Yet, she knows “other less reliable methods may fit with your client’s lifestyle.”
For this reason, she advises medical professionals to “be equipped to present basic information on several FABMs so you can do an initial orientation that will fit (each person/couple) best.” Ronda also urges medical professionals to “stay in touch and support FACTS as they continue to develop new tools that you will be able to use with the growing number of individuals and couples who are interested in fertility awareness. In mainstream medical circles, fertility awareness methods have a bad reputation. This is largely due to inaccurate and outdated education in medical schools and midwifery programs. FACTS plays an important role to ensure medical professionals receive up-to-date scientific information on everything FABM related.”
More About Ronda Léchaire-Callahan
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Ronda first studied in Switzerland at fifteen years of age. She earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Lausanne and has worked as a French teacher, teacher trainer, and education director for over fifteen years in various organizations in Switzerland, Madagascar, and Atlanta. In 2020, she attended the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne and completed a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Sexual Health: Approaches to Prevention and Promotion.
[i] Duane M, Contreras A, Jensen ET, White A. The Performance of Fertility Awareness-based Method Apps Marketed to Avoid Pregnancy. J Am Board Fam Med. 2016 Jul-Aug;29(4):508-11. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2016.04.160022. PMID: 27390383.
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