Question 57


Our daughter is a newly married woman who does not have regular cycles, really unable to use NFP because of that, and has no other choice (in her mind) than to contracept. She knows NFP has worked for us; however I do know when I ovulate so NFP has been, thank God, very easy to do for us. How do you advise someone like that? There is no way she could pursue her PhD, and have a child right now. 

As her mother, I told her she needs to realize we must not take decisions like this into our own hands. It is not our place to decide when is the right time for us to bear a child. That is God's decision, and he will not give us anything we cannot handle. I explained giving birth is the closest she will ever be to God as she will be part of creating life and be a part of God's plan. Yet, the highly educated mind of hers researched the fact that NFP statistically doesn't work, mostly because she cannot tell when she is ovulating due to her irregular cycles, and she cannot successfully do this. I also told her God gave her free will as well. I cannot 'tell' her what to do but I told her how I felt about it, and she needs to pray about it. She talked to a priest before marrying. He told her in her circumstance she has no other choice, so in a way he told her that she has to do whatever she needed to do. I appreciate any advice you can give me. – A Distraught Mother

Dear Distraught Mother,

Thinking that NFP cannot work due to irregular menses is predicated on the old "Rhythm Method." Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies perpetuate this with their products designed to replicate the "normal cycle." Ovulatory cycles range from 26 to 35 days and do not obey calendars. 

The great news is that the same researchers who brought the birth control pill to the market in 1960 have spent their careers researching natural fertility regulation. Please recommend the WOOMB website to your daughter ( ) and click on the OMRRC (Ovulation Method Reference and Research Center) for the history and research behind the simplest and most scientifically pure NFP method. All women, despite their reproductive history or stage in life can easily identify the roughly 96 hours of fertility per month. The numerous studies cited will testify to the 99.5% effectiveness rate. Experts in my field quote a pregnancy rate of 10% with typical use of the pill (Trussell, Pearl Index). 

More importantly, if cycles are irregular, there is usually an underlying metabolic disorder which lies undiagnosed with typical gynecologic treatment. The Billings Ovulation Method chart is a bioassay of the ovarian hormones. This means that the charted changing or unchanging pattern of discharge is diagnostic and guides treatment. While there may be other NFP methods with varying detection methods, only the BOM chart reflects the actual production of estrogen and progesterone. One million hormonal assays and 55 years of research confirm this. 

Best wishes, 
Mary W. Martin, M.D.,FACOG