What does it cost to learn natural birth control, FAM or NFP?
In France, my homeland, the law requires you to spend about $1,500 to take drivers’ ed before you can even take the test. Then if you fail, which is the case for 40% of applicants, you usually have to wait three months, spending another $800 to maintain your level of learning before you can retake the test. And people do it!
In the US, it’s only about $300 to $500 to take a drivers’ ed class, and it’s not even required. People don’t flinch. Everybody knows that learning to drive is a basic skill of life and that you don’t want to put a young person behind the wheel before they have received sufficient training. I don’t see many parent saying: “They don’t need to learn to drive,” or “Naw, let her learn from a book, she’ll be fine.” My wife drove 20 minutes to take our 2 little munchkins (then 16 and 18) to their class, drive home, and then back again two hours later. We were committed! And the kids were too.
What does that have to do with learning NFP/FAM and fertility charting? A lot in fact…
- Like driving, charting is an essential life skill for a woman. It’s something she will do every day, will give her a real appreciation for her body and knowledge of it, and help her achieve or avoid pregnancy when she’s is sexually active.
- Like driving, you can certainly learn it from a book, but before you get on the road, it’s better that you first take a class from an expert and practice driving safely.
- Like driving, once you have taken lessons with an expert, your ability to drive safely in any condition is multiplied. Women who learn to chart, even when they have irregular cycles, can know exactly when they are fertile or not. They know what’s going on and how to handle a change.
- Like driving, it can cost up to about $500 to take lessons with an expert, although you will see below that it can actually be much less.
- Like driving, once you have learned, and practiced it for a few months, you’re pretty much set for life,
- Like driving, once you know how, you are forever thankful that you learned this skill, and not have to pay to put harmful drugs or dangerous foreign devices in your body.
- Like driving, the skills you learn may well help you avoid serious problems. Learning to chart can help accurately diagnose and treat women’s health issues that are usually just prescribed the Pill to help with symptoms. This health literacy may help you resolve a serious problem with your health, now or later.
But wait, isn’t it cheaper to just take the Pill now that it’s covered by insurance?
What do contraceptives really cost?
It varies a lot depending on the method. According to Planned Parenthood’s website the Pill costs between $15 to $50 a month (which means $180 to $600 a year, or a total of $1,800 to $6,000 for the next 10 years). An implant will run $400 to $800 and last up to 3 years. An IUD costs $500 to $1,000 and lasts between 5 to 10 years.
Now that our government is making insurance companies pay for contraceptives pretty much across the board, it seems that it would all be free. In reality, someone has to pay, whether it’s all of us tax payers, or you and your company through the insurance premiums. Factcheck.org quoted Mickey Herbert, a former CEO of the insurance company Connecticare, saying: “If we know contraceptives cost $600 a year, that $600 by all rights needs to be built into the premiums. I take offense at the president or anyone else who says [contraceptive services] are free.” It make sense to me. There is no free lunch.
Even if it you think it doesn’t end up costing you anything, consider the other side-costs of contraceptives to you: trips to the pharmacy, additional OBGYN visits, costs of removal in the case of an IUD or an implant (don’t do it at home!), personal costs of the side-effects, long-term costs on your health.
What does it cost to take the charting / NFP /FAM lessons?
Learning to chart is the basic skill that a woman needs to practice Natural Family Planning (NFP) or a Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). The way you learn will vary according to the method you use and the teachers who teach it. Remember that these costs are to learn the method and then you will be set for the rest of your life. I am only listing here the methods that actually offer in-person support, and this is by no mean an exhaustive list:
- Creighton FertilityCare: the course includes an introduction followed by 8 individual sessions by a trained FertilityCare™ Practitioner. Cost can range from $55 to $75 per session, a total of $440 to $600. If you learn at a doctor’s office the cost is whatever the cost of a regular doctor’s visit or as agreed upon by insurance with the doctor’s office (for example, $117 per appointment), but it could be covered by your insurance. Then your patient co-pays will vary by insurance– some are $35, some $25, etc.
- Couple to Couple League: The CCL course consists of three classes spaced one month apart. The fees include personal chart review & consulting from a trained Teaching Couple, and the course materials and all you need to get started. Teachers are volunteers. Total costs is $140.
- Northwest Family Service in Portland, OR, offers a series of three two-hour classes within one month plus individual follow-up. They also offer an online class that costs $110 plus course materials. Another team of SymptoPro teachers called Love Naturally charges $135 for in-person instruction which includes all the learning materials as well as a lifetime of support.
- Family of the Americas is the best deal in town. You only pay about $35 for course materials, and the class is given for free by volunteer teachers! It includes two to six small group classes, depending on the teachers, plus any individual time you need.
- Individual providers trained in other methods are also available. For example, Holistic Hormone Health in Los Angeles offers a six-month program that includes 18 video lessons, support through an individual Facebook group, and up to 2.5 hours of one-on-one coaching time, the whole deal for under $500. Another provider called Lovely Fertility in Madison, WI, charges $265 for 6 hours of training (4 sessions). Look for who is in your area!
As you see, costs are no more than drivers’ ed, and they vary a lot, but they shouldn’t be the only consideration! It may take a little bit of research for you to find which method and which teachers you are comfortable with, but all are definitely worth the investment.
This makes a great gift!
A few months ago, my wife and I purchased the Creighton FertilityCare training as a gift to our 21-year old daughter, because we know it will serve her for life and be much better for her health. As a husband, parent or a friend, consider this as a gift you can make to a special woman in your life. Think about it!