Avoiding Pregnancy

Avoiding Pregnancy

What is Natural Family Planning?

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a general term for fertility awareness-based methods of family planning that are science-based, accurate, natural, healthy and effective.

The Catholic FertilityCare™ Center of WNY provides instruction in the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System (CrMS) of Natural Family Planning. When using this system, a woman observes changes in her cervical mucus and menstrual patterns to determine when she is fertile and infertile.

To be effective in avoiding pregnancy, couples choose to engage in intercourse during the infertile phases of the woman’s cycle and abstain from intercourse during the fertile time.

Why Choose CrMS?

It's Natural and Safe

Natural Family Planning methods, including Creighton Model FertilityCare™System, do not use drugs or mechanical or surgical intervention. Because CrMS is entirely natural, there are no side effects or health risks.

It's Effective and Reliable

The CrMS™ teaches a woman to observe changes in her cervical mucus and menstrual patterns to determine when she is fertile and infertile. With perfect use, CrMS™ has a 98.7-99.5% success rate. With typical use, CrMS™ is 94.5-96.8% effective in avoiding a pregnancy. *

CrMS™ is more reliable than other Natural Family Planning methods. It is scientifically based and taught by practitioners who are uniformly educated and trained in an intensive Allied Health Education Program. This provides couples with the most current information with which to answer their questions and address their reproductive needs.

*Reference: Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 37:864, 1992. Hilgers, TW, Daly, KD, Prebil, AM and Hilger, SK. “Cumulative Pregnancy Rates in Patients with Apparently Normal Fertility and Fertility Focused Intercourse.”

It's Convenient

CrMS™ does not require regular trips to the drug store or visits to a physician. During the first year of use, couples attend 8 follow-up sessions in which they receive personal instruction and their fertility chart is reviewed. After the first year, follow-up sessions are generally needed every 6 to 12 months.

It's Versatile

The CrMS™ can be used by any woman, whether she has regular or irregular cycles, is breastfeeding, post-pill or pre-menopausal. It can also be used at any stage of a woman's reproductive life.

It Strengthens Bond Between Spouses

Both spouses in a marriage must be involved for Natural Family Planning to be successful. They must be willing to track when they are fertile and to time their intercourse accordingly. Unlike contraceptives, the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning promotes shared responsibility and encourages the involvement of men for support in decision making. In most cases, CrMS strengthens the bond between husband and wife.

Natural Family Planning vs. Contraceptives

Compared to contraceptives, Natural Family Planning is safer, more effective, more affordable and promotes shared responsibility between spouses.

  • CrMS offers no long-term damage to the reproductive organs, unlike sterilization which is permanent.
  • CrMS protects the couple’s future fertility and offers no harm to a potential pregnancy (as contraceptives have been documented to do).
  • There are no side effects or health risks, and spouses play an active role in the family planning process.
  • Couples may find the three mechanisms of action in chemical contraceptives (as documented in the Physician’s Desk Reference, 2006) to be unacceptable. These include the prevention of ovulation, changes in the cervical mucus so sperm find difficulty in entering, and the thinning of the uterine lining to prevent implantation should the first two mechanisms fail.
  • The Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System is both morally acceptable and environmentally-friendly, as it does not cause packaging waste or result in the pollution of our waterways. 

Getting Started

Learning the CrMS™ begins with an introductory session that explains scientific foundations, methodology, applications to various reproductive categories and how to track your cycles. 

Introductory classes are offered monthly at Sisters of Charity Hospital and by appointment at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo. Individualized Follow-up sessions are available at both locations.

Please view our introductory sessions or call (716) 862-1944 to register or make an appointment.

Individualized Teaching

Learning continues with a series of individualized follow-up teaching appointments that include professional, personal instruction on use of the system and complete chart review. At each private follow-up, the FertilityCare™ Practitioner tailors the system to your specific needs.

These sessions are recommended five times during the first three months of use and an additional three times over the remainder of a year. Subsequent follow-ups are recommended every six to twelve months as needed.

Individual follow-up sessions are usually an hour or less, although the first session can be up to one and a half hours long.

Your professional FertilityCare™ Practitioner is also available for consultation between sessions should any questions arise.


Preliminary expenses for being educated in CrMS vary from place to place but compare favorably with any form of artificial contraception or artificial reproductive technology. The materials provided for charting and tracking cycle patterns are inexpensive and provide invaluable recorded information throughout a woman’s childbearing and pre-menopausal years.

Cost information may be obtained by calling the nearest Catholic FertilityCare™ location listed above or by emailing us.

More Information 

For more information about Catholic Health’s family planning services, click here to email the Catholic FertilityCare Centers of WNY or or call (716) 862-1944.