April 29, 2020
By Adair Boudreaux
Editor’s Note: During National Infertility Awareness Week, a medical student tells the story of how a fertility awareness based method (FABM) facilitated the diagnosis of infertility and helped a couple conceive their first child. Adair Boudreaux interviewed the couple and wrote this article as a 4th year medical student during a two-week online elective with Dr. Marguerite Duane, executive director and co-founder of FACTS. She relates their experience with the Creighton Model, a comprehensive FABM for tracking a woman’s fertility. With this method, women learn to observe and record the quality and quantity of their cervical fluid in a standardized, systematic way and can time intercourse to either avoid or achieve pregnancy. You may learn more about this method HERE.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Mrs. A, a woman with experience both using and teaching the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. Mrs. A developed an interest in learning the Creighton Model in 2010, hoping she and her then-fiancé could use it effectively when they were married. She was particularly attracted to the simplicity of this “mucus-only” method, as it does not require daily temperature checks or any other testing that must be completed on a strict schedule. She learned how to use this method from an instructional course offered at her university.
Infertility and the Creighton Model
Mrs. A shared that she and her husband struggled with infertility for six years, during which they used the Creighton Model and, at times, LH test strips to track and predict ovulation. By charting her cycle and working with her physician to interpret her chart, Mrs. A was able to address underlying health issues that were contributing to the couple’s infertility.
In 2014, she decided to become a fertility care practitioner trained in the Creighton Model to encourage and educate other women and couples. Five years later, she and her husband welcomed a baby girl into the world. They now choose to use the Creighton Model to avoid pregnancy and are glad they’ll be able to continue using it when their goals change and they decide to have another child.
Learning and Using an FABM
Since learning about the Creighton Model almost a decade ago, Mrs. A has experienced several of its benefits and challenges. The challenges centered around her struggles with infertility, which required time dedicated to charting and planning tests based on where she was in her cycle. In fact, she realized she did not like committing herself to charting daily, so the couple shares responsibility by having him do the charting. This requires a great deal of communication, and she recalls it was especially frustrating when they first faced infertility. Over time, however, this turned into one of the strengths of using this method.
Mrs. A has enjoyed many health benefits as well as growth in her relationship with her husband from using the Creighton Model. Although the communication aspect is challenging at times, it also continuously strengthens the bond they share. In turn, she can recognize the fruit of this communication even in other aspects of their marriage. In terms of her health, using the Creighton Model has made her more conscious of her body and where she is in her cycle, and it has eliminated the uncertainty of what to expect each month. Overall, this method has helped her develop a deeper understanding of herself and the intricacies of her body.
Synergy with Medical Professionals
As I am pursuing a career in medicine, I was especially interested in the couple’s experience interacting with medical professionals while using the Creighton Model. Mrs. A recalls that in high school she felt pressured by physicians to begin taking an oral contraceptive, despite having no health issues and not being sexually active. Instead, this led her to seek out physicians who are familiar with FABMs and the charting process.
In all the years she has been charting, she has had only good experiences with her doctors who are supportive of FABMs. When trying to conceive, she consulted 5-7 fertility doctors who were all supportive of her use of the Creighton Model as a tool to diagnose underlying causes of infertility. She feels fortunate to have had these positive interactions with the medical community, as she knows many women whose experience has been very different.
From Patient to Fertility Care Practitioner
I spoke with Mrs. A about her experience working as a fertility care practitioner. When consulting with patients, she recommends choosing an FABM that fits the individual’s lifestyle and feels most comfortable. She also stresses the importance of making an effortful commitment to the method one chooses, which includes using the system correctly and charting observations daily. Patience is certainly crucial to this process.
Mrs. A is grateful for the opportunity to support and uplift women who struggle to achieve pregnancy, and is proud to be someone her patients trust. For her, one of the most challenging aspects of being a fertility care practitioner is working with couples who have serious reasons to avoid pregnancy, as this requires absolute trust in one another and in the system’s efficacy. For these patients in particular, it is imperative to stay in close communication with their trained educators and physicians to ensure they are using the method correctly and all questions are addressed promptly.
FABMs in a Physician’s Practice
In hearing Mrs. A’s story, I felt inspired by the various ways FABMs can be used to improve the lives of couples, even to diagnose potential causes of infertility. I am interested in pursuing Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility as a medical specialty, and I now recognize the importance of presenting FABMs as an option to my patients rather than proceeding directly with more invasive procedures.
Mrs. A’s decision to pursue training to teach the Creighton Model helps me remember that I, too, can successfully incorporate my growing knowledge of FABMs into my medical practice. By properly educating and motivating my future patients, I hope to spread awareness of the various benefits these methods offer to both women and couples.
Author Bio: Adair Boudreaux is a second-year medical student at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. She is originally from New Orleans and attended Fordham University in New York, where she received a degree in biology. Upon graduation from medical school, she plans to pursue Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility as a medical specialty.
At FACTS, we continue to create opportunities to meet needs identified during this pandemic by offering one or more new webinars each month.
Click on the dates below to learn more and register for these 1-hour webinars, then forward this to a colleague and help us spread the word.
Our Next BONUS Webinar
Stress and its Impact on the Female Cycle
Monday, May 4 at 7 PM ET
Given the popularity of our first webinar on stress and fertility, we will offer a second webinar where we take a more in-depth look at Stress and its Impact on the Female Cycle. Join Dr. Joe Stanford and Dr. Marguerite Duane for a discussion of hormonal changes associated with stress and how they may be reflected in fertility awareness charts.
Earn CME Credit with our Core Webinars!
Below are the webinars we offer every month.
To REGISTER, click on the dates below, then share and invite a colleague!
The Female Cycle as the 5th Vital Sign
This presentation highlights the health of the female cycle and how the fertility awareness chart can aid in the diagnosis and management of common women’s health concerns.
Friday, May 8th, 12:00 pm EST
The Science Behind Fertility Awareness
Our flagship presentation, Fertility & Family Planning, reviews the latest research and science supporting FABMs and their effectiveness to prevent and achieve pregnancy.
Thursday, May 21st, 1:00 pm EST
Save the Dates!
October 1, 2020
FACTS 10-Year Gala | Washington, DC
Join us to celebrate
a Decade of Sharing the FACTS
and to look ahead to the next 10 Years!
October 2, 2020
FACTS 1-Day CME Conference | Washington, DC
Modern Fertility Awareness for Women’s Health
and Family Planning
Our 1-day conference is designed to equip medical and health professionals to offer more holistic and restorative healthcare options for women. Join us to learn more about FABMs and their applications in women’s health and family planning.