Natural Family Planning:
An Alternative View

© 2010 Leonore H. Dvorkin

Note: This article was originally published in the April 2010 issue of the Denver publication Community News. It is a response to two articles praising NFP, also published in Community News. The name of the author of those articles has been removed at her request of October 2010.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) might be working so far for Ms. X and her husband (Community News, February 2010 and March 2010), but I doubt that it could find wide acceptance within the general population.

Contrary to what she claims, according to the American Pregnancy Association and several other reliable sources, it has a whopping 25% failure rate with typical use and a 3-5% failure rate even with so-called "perfect use." That is scarcely acceptable for the average couple, especially in these hard economic times, with more women that ever having to work outside the home.  

One website that she recommends,, is the website of the Catholic organization Couple to Couple League. Looking at their information, I see that two of the people on the board of directors, Linda Kracht and John Burnham, have seven children each.

Fortunately, many happy couples responsibly opt for birth control methods that are considerably more reliable than NFP. Thus they do not have to worry about unplanned pregnancy and can have loving intimate relations at any time during the month that they wish. I find Ms. X’s idea that such freedom is somehow disrespectful to the female body very odd indeed. 

Any couple seeking to prevent an unplanned pregnancy for whatever reason should look at methods of birth control that have proven reliable -- in consultation with a physician, of course. Those methods with a failure rate of less than or up to 1% include male sterilization (with a 0.2% failure rate), female sterilization (0.5%), the Ortho-Evra Patch (0.1-1%), the Depo-Provera Injection (0.3%), and the Lunelle Injection (0.1-1%).

Also, while it is very sad that one of Ms. X’s relatives had breast cancer, the Pill was most likely not the cause. Actually, just getting older is the primary risk factor for breast cancer, as most breast cancer occurs after menopause. The average age of diagnosis is 61. (I was diagnosed at 52.) Other risk factors include being overweight or obese after menopause, consuming alcohol, not exercising, never being pregnant or having the first baby after 30, and long term use of hormone replacement therapy. There are numerous risk factors, some quite surprising. Not by any means are all of them under a woman's control.

For more details, do a Google search on risk factors for breast cancer. Or see the appendices in my book Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Journey (print edition from Norilana Books, 2009, e-book editions from Smashwords and Amazon). There, I detail many risk factors for breast cancer and also many measures that can help protect a woman.