Karen Hemingway, CFCS and Karen Poehailos, MD, CFCMC from the AAFCP Board of Directors were among the attendees at a meeting of the NFP Consortium, held September 23-24, 2016 at Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada. The participants were international, with collaborators from France, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, USA and Canada. A variety of NFP models and interests were represented including Creighton Model Fertility Care/NaProTECHNOLOGY, Billings Ovulation Method, Couple to Couple League, FEMM, SymptoThermal, Cycle Beads, Marquette, FACTS, and the US Council for Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The meeting was in a discussion format, with the topics including our need to collaborate and embrace the best from multi-disciplinary diversity, support patients and clients, evaluate the current landscape on fertility apps, and investigate home hormonal testing (including both progesterone home urine tests and the Ovarian Monitor which can test both estrogen and progesterone metabolites.) We looked at barriers to collaboration, and the role of the IIRRM (International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine) and the Consortium in addressing these issues.
Other discussions involved obtaining unbiased evaluations of the various methods for efficacy, developing standards of education for physicians who want to claim expertise in NFP methodology (any system), and action plans to bring some of these to fruition.
There was recognition that there are definitely differences between the methods, both in their content and user populations. This meeting though showed that we can look to those things we hold in common for building points for the future.
The recent FACTS study on app accuracy demonstrated the need for a solid reliable app (possibly a gateway app to help women decide which method fits them best and then links within the app to that method.) Home hormonal testing can benefit clients and medical applications if proven to be reliable–to aid in diagnostics and help build client confidence in their methods. Another need identified would be to develop some common language (glossary) to aid communication between models to assist medical standardization and those we are trying to reach with these methods.