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The Science of FAMs: NW Exclusive Interview with Dr. Mike Manhart, PhD

Fertility Awareness Methods are all about Following the Science: An Interview with Dr. Mike Manhart, PhD

Mike Manhart, Dr. Manhart, Michael Manhart, Michael Manhart PhD, Dr. Michael Manhart PhD, FACTS, CCL, Sympto-thermal method, STM

As a PhD in microbiology with a successful “first” career as the director of Research and Development at Procter & Gamble, you might say that Dr. Michael Manhart is someone who “follows the science.” Dr. Manhart’s journey to using fertility awareness was therefore what you might call a conversion. In fact, both Dr. Manhart and his wife have backgrounds in science, which made them both “totally skeptical” when they stumbled on to the concept of fertility awareness.

At first, Dr. Manhart equated fertility awareness methods (FAMs) with something new age, “like horoscopes,” he says. But that all changed when he and his wife took their first fertility awareness class together. “When they started describing normal reproductive physiology, I thought, ‘Oh, well I studied all of this in college and grad school,’ but I never really thought it applied to my wife!” From there, he says, it was the “underlying science and the underlying consistency with the underlying physiology that got us excited about fertility awareness.” They used the method in their own marriage, and then eventually became fertility awareness teachers themselves.  

Now, as Chair of the Board for the Couple to Couple League, an organization which teaches the SymptoThermal Method of fertility awareness (one of the most effective methods of fertility awareness available), Dr. Manhart is a key leader in the effort to make FAMs as scientific and evidence-based as any other method of family planning available. He has published peer-reviewed studies comparing and evaluating the efficacy of various FAMs, and evaluating cycle tracking apps that claim to be effective for family planning. 

When it comes to most methods of family planning, like hormonal contraception and contraceptive devices and implants, the tendency is to disregard fertility. “Fertility is one of those things that the attitude is like, ‘make it go away,’” says Dr. Manhart, “Whereas it really should be, ‘let’s embrace it,’ and understand who we are, and live with it, so that we can be who we are as humans—both man and woman.” That is what FAMs do, and as Dr. Manhart explains, they do so based on scientific evidence—and they have benefits that extend beyond their ability to help couples reliably plan their families.  

Other questions answered and topics discussed by Dr. Manhart in this video include…  

How fertility awareness and natural family planning can help couples get pregnant faster, and detect issues with infertility earlier… 
Which new forms of technology hold the most promise for women’s reproductive health and fertility… 
The growing interest among medical students and new physicians in gaining better information about fertility awareness… 
Why it’s important to understand how your period- or fertility-tracking app works, and to make sure it aligns with your fertility goals… 
How fertility-tracking apps advising condom use differ from Fertility Awareness Methods (and why they’re not as effective at preventing pregnancy)…
The importance of a husband’s involvement in the success of a FAM, and how the Couple to Couple League’s model embraces that… 

Watch the rest of our Natural Womanhood Exclusive Video Interview with Dr. Mike Manhart and Mary Rose Somarriba to discover: How Dr. Manhart is not only following, but leading the science behind our understanding of fertility and natural family planning, why the SymptoThermal Method is so effective at both avoiding and achieving pregnancy, and what we can expect for the future of fertility awareness and FemTech.

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