A happily married couple, Thomas and Ella, have two children named Cody and Rachel. Thomas has two jobs to support his family, and then Ella can stay home to take care of their young boy and girl, along with housework. After a long night of hard work, Thomas came home to Ella crying in the bathroom. “Ella, what is the matter?” he asked. She wiped away her tears, took a deep breath, looked Thomas deep into his brown eyes and said, “I’m pregnant”. They both knew they were not prepared for another child to come into the family, but once Thomas and Ella talked to a doctor about their options they decided to keep the baby. Yet, now they had to make a responsible change for future to prevent this from happening again. The doctor provided two methods to choose from: natural family planning or contraceptive devices. Family planning is a significant subject in our culture with the exponential growth of the world population, but society must consider the sustainability of all family planning methods. By comparing the methods of two contraceptive choices of natural family planning and artificial contraceptives, the goal is to decide which is the overall superior option. While studying the effectiveness of artificial contraceptives and natural family planning, supporting and opposing arguments of each method must be provided to make a reasonable judgment.
Although contraceptive devices can prevent pregnancy and some sexually transmitted disease as well, natural family planning is the better option for those who are in a consistent intimate relationship. The natural family planning method, also known as fertility awareness, does not contain unnatural hormones or chemicals, and tracks the normal monthly changes of women’s body fertility. Consistent with Richard J. Fehring, a researcher from the Marquette College of Nursing, natural family planning (NFP) is a method of avoiding or achieving a pregnancy by studying the patterns of fertility and withdrawing from intercourse while the female is fertile. Couples observe signs of fertility in the woman by tracking the woman’s body temperature, mucus secretion and other signs. This method can also be referred to as the fertility awareness method, periodic abstinence, or the rhythm method (Fehring 2). Petra Frank-Herrmann, a professor at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, found “For a contraceptive method to be rated as highly efficient as the hormonal pill, there should be less than one pregnancy per 100 women per year when the method is used correctly.” Frank-Herrmann led a study including 900 women using the method of natural family planning.
She verified, “the pregnancy rate for woman who used the [NFP] method correctly in our study was 0.4%, which can be interpreted as one pregnancy occurring per 250 woman per year. While the effectiveness of natural family planning is equal to or greater than that of any oral contraceptive rate, which is about 0.7%” (“Natural Family Planning Method As Effective As Contraceptive Pill, New Research Finds”). The evidence suggests that natural family planning is a more sustainable method of pregnancy prevention than contraceptive devices. Natural family planning helps to preserve good health because it does not include chemicals, pills or other harmful devices. It also may be applied during regular or irregular cycles throughout a woman’s life while off contraceptives. While NFP helps women feel more in tune with their bodies, together couples may feel more respected and not take for granted the purpose of intercourse when planning a family (Peterson). This way a woman will not feel solely responsible because NFP is a shared responsibility and lifestyle. Not only is natural family planning as effective as artificial contraception, but also is also less harmful to our environment compared to artificial contraceptives.
The key of NFP is it is natural, thus it does not contaminate one’s body or the surroundings since it has an absence of chemicals. Micheal Martin-Loeches, a medical researcher in the European Journal of Contraception & Reproduction Heath Care, determined that a good awareness of natural family planning increased women’s sexual desire compared to the common level of sexual desire of women. Along with health benefits, natural family planning is an exceptional option for those who cannot afford forms of birth control or having a larger family to provide for. The increasing population is a hitch with the importance of natural family planning and awareness of fertility because High-fertility still persists in much of the developing world, ensuring that population growth will continue. In 2006, average family size among the 4 billion people living in less developed countries outside of China was estimated at 3.4 children, with an annual population growth rate of 1.8% (Population Reference Bureau, 2007b). At this rate, the population of these countries would double in just 39 years. Even taking projected declines in fertility in these regions into account, the number of people living in less developed countries outside China is projected to increase by more than 60% by 2050, from 4 billion today to more than 6.5 billion (Speidel, Weiss, Ethelston, & Gilbert, 2007).
To make the world aware of the natural family planning method, the world population growth rate may steadily regulate over time. Fortunately, the NFP technique is inexpensive and when it is learned it can be used for the entirety of women’s reproductive lifetime with minimal additional cost. A natural family planning couples class and a few minor materials may be purchased at the most to have the most efficient outcome. Those who choose to use this natural method do not generally experience moral issues since NFP is widely accepted by most faiths and cultures. This method also correlates to an increase in a relationship’s trust and intimacy when completed thoroughly (NHS). Nevertheless, everyone does not support the NFP method; therefore, they have contrasting views and ideas for pregnancy prevention. When the opposing view is depicted a main point that is brought to attention is that it may be difficult to continue the commitment for each partner to follow the fertility schedule’s pattern. The menstrual cycles must be examined multiple times before one can become absolutely confident of pinpointing a female’s fertile time (NHS).
Continuing the counterargument, factors such as stress, illness, lifestyle and use of hormonal treatments disrupt one’s fertility signs so they become hard to follow. Also during the fertile time of a couple must withdraw from sex or use another method of contraception, as a fertile time period may last up to 16 days. Those who decide to abstain from sex seem to commonly experience relationship problems (NHS). Those who are not pleased by or successful with NFP look for immediate alternatives with out always doing necessary research. Contraceptives, like the pill or condoms, may be extremely effective in preventing pregnancy as well, but they come with altered and varied advantages and disadvantages depending on its form. When taken as directed, the oral birth control is 99% effective and reaps many additional benefits. A menstrual flow is lighter, less cramping, decreases the risk of developing uterus or ovarian cancer, and conditions including the following: anemia, breast-related disease, endometriosis and ovarian cysts (Hampton). The oral contraceptives do not physically interfere whatsoever with the foreplay or intercourse while performing any sexual activities, as condoms may interfere in this manner.
Others opposing to NFP merely look into the positive effects of contraceptives; hence, they may not think about how the oral birth control has a lack of protection for sexually transmitted diseases and creates the possibility or missing a pill and upbringing extra side effects. Oral birth control should not be taken when women are young, with a history of blood clots, cardiovascular disease, and frequent smokers. There is also an increased chance of women to experience high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes (Hampton). According to a study from the Washington University in St. Louis of Medicine, “86% of subjects knew that the annual risk of pregnancy is less than 10% if no contraception is used. More than 45% of women overestimate the effectiveness of pills, the patch, the ring, and condoms. Among women who use reversible contraception, most choose less-effective methods such as condoms at 26% and oral contraceptive pills at 45%. Reliance on less-effective methods contributes to the fact that nearly one-half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended” (Eisenberg et al.).
Along with the possible failure of protection and less awareness of possible pregnancies, contraception can alter hormonal and estrogen levels. This study found in the European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care states, “a decrease in sexual desire was observed in relation to an average or poor relationship with the partner, coinciding with the aforementioned authors’ conclusions regarding the psychological influences and level of sex education in the decrease of sexual desire in users of contraceptive methods” (Martin-Loeches et al.). Further studies by Wynne Parry, a senior writer from Live Science Research, indicate contraceptives can also damage the environment by filling water with hormones; hormonal contraceptives increase the levels of certain hormones in women to prevent pregnancy. The hormones traces can be found in the waste dispersed from women who use contraceptives such as the pill, patches, and vaginal rings. Consequently, the problem is causing water treatment plants to be upgraded, which economically makes the government sacrifice the peoples’ money.
This dilemma has been observed to de-masculinize those who ingest it regularly, which animals are extremely sensitive to consuming added hormones. It is tremendously vital the amount of waste generated from contraceptives packaging as well. In retrospective, following the natural family planning method is one alternative to pregnancy prevention that will not hurt our environment. Each step towards cutting down on waste and decreasing our environmental carbon footprint can be beneficial and leads to prosperous and healthier ecosystem. The various forms of contraceptives may have shown success and brought about numerous benefits, but natural family planning succeeds best in pregnancy prevention due to its advantages in the health, environmental, economic and other features. With the world’s population grasping the importance of keeping sexual activity to a natural intimate experience, this allows a couple to work together to space out their children in a way that is both morally and ecologically acceptable. Further studies have and will continue to make NFP a valuable contribution to the sexual health of our people.