Island Sexual Health Society Be informed, not surprised!

Fertility awareness method of birth control

2006 May 24

Fertility awareness methods are also called:

* FAM
* Natural family planning
* Natural birth control

Fertility Awareness methods are based on abstaining from intercourse during a woman’s fertile period. These methods do not offer any protection against “sexually transmitted infections”:/infections.

“Contact us”:/about/contact/ for recommended resources about fertility awareness, or see our “resources section”:/resources/.

h3. Fertility awareness is more than “the rhythm method”

There are various techniques used to estimate when a woman ovulates, including temperature, monitoring mucus changes, etc.

Usually an egg is released around the middle of each “menstrual cycle”:/body/menstruation/ (called ovulation). The egg can live up to 24 hours and sperm can fertilize an egg for up to 5-7 days after intercourse.

In total, a woman is fertile for up to 10 days in her monthly cycle, including days both before and after ovulation.

h3. Effectiveness depends on the method, and diligence

The effectiveness of fertility awareness methods depends on which technique you are using to estimate ovulation, and how diligent you are. The effectiveness rate varies greatly, from 70-90%.

If you are interested in using any of the Fertility awareness methods, we recommend that you research them further. See our “resources”:/resources/ section.