By Macy Rupprecht, DO
November 20, 2019
Editor’s Note: This interview with a user of fertility awareness based methods (FABMs) is part of our series that highlights the reality of using FABMs, including benefits as well as challenges of the various methods. Dr. Macy Rupprecht conducted this interview as part of an online elective with Dr. Marguerite Duane, executive director and co-founder of FACTS. This story provides a hopeful example of a couple that benefited from an FABM as a powerful adjunct to not only diagnose the root cause behind infertility but also restore fertility.
I recently returned from a conference in which I met a woman who has struggled with infertility. She tried several approaches to try to conceive, including fertility awareness based methods, without success. She was open and vulnerable about the struggle she and her husband endured throughout their marriage.
I was impressed by the way this woman conducted herself and the courage she displayed. She has lived out her vocation as a woman and mother beautifully through the call to adoption. I guess I was struck by how much this woman has suffered because of infertility, and I realized I have not spent much time thinking about the struggle of infertility. Perhaps this is partly because, throughout my training, there has been such a focus on preventing pregnancy in women rather than understanding and optimizing their fertility.
An Openness to FABMs
After the leadership conference, I met a woman who presented to her fertility care practitioner’s office for a pregnancy evaluation. Mrs. M was excited about her pregnancy and all the joys that come with it. In our conversation, she disclosed that she and her husband had been using various FABMs since about 6 months prior to their wedding. They were an excited young couple who had a desire to conceive right away.
After marriage, Mrs. M reported that they used the Billings Ovulation Method for about six months and had difficulty conceiving. Fortunately, she found a physician who was open to the use of natural family planning methods. She expressed gratitude to have a physician who was knowledgeable about natural methods and supportive of their decision to use FABMs. The couple eventually switched to using the Creighton Model at the recommendation of this physician.
Mrs. M reported she has truly enjoyed using the Creighton Model because of its specificity and attention to detail, which enhanced the observation of her cervical mucus. The couple conceived within a year of switching to the Creighton Model and delivered a healthy baby boy. She was thankful for a method that helped her through the process of infertility. Likewise, she was grateful to have a physician who offered other options beyond in vitro fertilization (IVF) and similar methods.
Surprised by Quick Results
Mrs. M reported this current pregnancy came as a surprise, even though they were using the method to achieve pregnancy. They expected to have to wait several cycles, given the amount of time it took for her to get pregnant with her first child. Nevertheless, Mr. and Mrs. M are very excited to welcome their new baby into the world in the coming months.
Using an FABM Together
The biggest challenge Mrs. M identified from using an FABM was needing to record her observations of cervical mucus daily. She reported being diligent during her fertile window but sometimes getting lax during stretches of dry days. Although making the observations has become second nature, taking time at the end of the day to record her observations is a challenge. To help combat that, her husband has started to record her observations. This has allowed them to embrace their fertility as a couple instead of viewing fertility solely as the woman’s responsibility. Mrs. M feels that using the Creighton Model has helped them communicate more openly.
A Grateful Physician
Fertility awareness based methods empower women to understand their bodies and fertility in a way that is often lacking in conventional medical practice. As can be seen by the example above, some couples are able to experience the joys of parenthood with the help of these methods. FABMs often have greater rates of success than assisted reproductive technologies; they are more cost-effective and are morally and ethically sound approaches to treating infertility.
Infertility is a very real concern and struggle for many couples. I am thankful that, as a physician, I have been fortunate to learn about FABMs to help patients experiencing infertility explore potential underlying causes more thoroughly. Some couples may never be able to conceive a child naturally, but they deserve the same attention to detail in trying to identify the root causes before throwing in the towel.
Author Bio: Macy Rupprecht, DO is a family physician who completed residency training at the Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program in Wichita, KS. She earned her medical degree at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, VA and was chosen as a National Health Service Corps Scholar. She recently joined the Eastern Shore Rural Health System at the Onley Community Health Center in Onley, VA, where she will complete her NHSC service commitment. Dr. Rupprecht participated in an FABM elective during residency and completed the Creighton Model NFP Medical Consultant training in 2018. She looks forward to using FABMs in her practice to empower women and couples to take ownership of their fertility and help women gain a better understanding of their reproductive system.
We are kicking off our end-of-year campaign to give students the priceless Gift of Knowledge! Educating students is the first step in training a new generation of medical professionals who recognize fertility as healthy and normal. In time, we hope evidence-based FABMs will be integrated into women’s health curricula throughout the country. This will mean more women will learn about their bodies and fertility,and couples will have more choices as they plan their families.
Please join us in sharing the Gift of Knowledge with students!
- Attend FACTS conferences
- Enroll in our elective
- Become a member of FACTS with all its benefits
- Learn through our webinars
- Teach their peers and faculty about the science behind FABMs
- Give women and couples more choices in family planning
- Establish and grow a network of fertility awareness colleagues early in their careers!