Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 72 (4) November 2022


Fertility Awareness Methods.

I work as a GP and as Fertility Awareness Methods Co-ordinator. In 2018, I did an online elective to learn about Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) of family planning, through FACTS (Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science, I would highly recommend this for any healthcare student or professional wanting to have a working knowledge of what the various NFP methods are. The course is full time over 2 weeks or can also be done part time over 4 weeks.

FACTS is an organisation that exists to promote education about FABMs amongst healthcare students and professionals and was founded in response to a huge lack of awareness and education. I was blessed to meet the co-founder, Dr Duane, back in 2012, whilst volunteering at a clinic in Washington DC. This is where my interest in NFP, as a doctor, began. As a Catholic GP trainee, I was challenged to understand what can be offered to patients, in line with Church teaching, when it comes to family planning. I did the FACTS elective alongside part-time GP work. The course was divided into modules covering all the evidence based FABMs. Each module had a recorded lecture by an expert in the method, the main research articles evidencing the method effectiveness and a quiz to check your knowledge. There were webinars and discussions with other students. The clinical part of the course involved sitting in on clinics with instructors of different methods. I mainly sat in virtually, via zoom, with instructors in America. I also spent a few days at the NeoFertility clinic in Dublin. Assignments included summarising a recent research article and interviewing a couple who use a FABM.

FACTS celebrated their 10 year anniversary last year. They have expanded their educational programs. There are now two online electives that healthcare students can do: “FABMs for Family Planning” and “Fertility Awareness for Women’s Health”.

There is also an online CME course that healthcare professionals can do, with modules covering Modern FABMs for Family Planning, Special Topics, Restorative Reproductive Medicine, Medical Applications and FEMM Tech.

I hope that more healthcare students and professionals in the UK will come forward to take part in FACTS electives and courses. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were preceptors who could facilitate students to sit in on UK based clinics. Wouldn’t it be great to have trained FACTS speakers in the UK, to share accurate evidence-based information about FABMs in our medical schools. Slowly but surely we can replace the misinformation that causes so many to dismiss NFP as out of date and ineffective.

Do let me know if you get involved with FACTS. It would be great to network with likeminded individuals in the UK!

Dr Jessica Beckett