Fertility Education & Training

guidelines to charting your fertility cycle, page 22 of 26

4. The Double-Check Concept: Need for a double-check indicator before ovulation

Dr. Flynn saw the need for a double check in the pre-ovulation phase and so designed a Calendar Rule based on cycle history which would act as a guide to remind a woman of the previous pattern of her cycles. It would pick out the earliest ovulation that she had experienced in the last year. This calculation would basically tell a woman the last day of infertility before ovulation, on a statistical basis, that had been infertile for ALL the cycles in the previous year(s). When she reaches that day, the Calendar Rules reminds her: “One cycle in the last year, you had a short cycle and you were fertile immediately after this day. Are you sure it’s not happening again in this new cycle?”

If you choose to use the mucus indicator alone to define the onset of the fertile window, it certainly gives greater flexibility for intercourse, but greater care must be taken to ensure genuine DRYNESS exists with no mucus present. Otherwise, the surprise pregnancy rate rises.

The following summary of rules may seem complicated, mechanical and restrictive to what we call “Natural” Family Planning, but they are very necessary in the learning phase. Once couples have experience, they can assess their needs and adjust the rules accordingly.

People come to NFP in many different situations. As teachers of NFP, we are always concerned for those who have critical reasons for wishing to avoid / postpone pregnancy. Some health risks in particular cause great anxiety. Therefore, we have to be confident that we have researched the means for obtaining all the benefits and efficiency of NFP, with no health risks, and thereby enrich the lives of the couples who come to us. The rules following are a synthesis of research and teaching of NFP throughout Europe. All European Associations have modified versions of these rules and we all collaborate to form the European Institute for Family Life Education (EIFLE). We have regular conferences world wide to further research into fertility, its indicators, its impact upon family life and marriage enrichment programmes. What we have presented is based on research to date and has been proved to be effective in European studies.