The nation’s largest and oldest natural family planning organization, the Couple to Couple League (CCL), is celebrating its 50th anniversary by launching a new website, the Fertility Science Institute. It significantly expands the organization’s outreach to include anyone curious about using scientifically-backed fertility awareness-based methods of family planning.
CCL has traditionally taught engaged Christian couples how to plan their families in ways that are respectful of the woman’s natural patterns of fertility and infertility, without the risks of hormonal birth control and other forms of contraception. With the launch of the Fertility Science Institute, they’re casting a wider net for family planning.
In a press release, CCL stressed their intent to address the whole spectrum of women and couples’ reproductive lifespans, offering “courses and resources for mothers and daughters, young adults, couples new to FABMs, postpartum moms, perimenopausal women, and women struggling with irregular fertility.” The common denominator in every CCL offering is an understanding of fertility as a gift rather than a disease.
The “Mother Daughter” section introduces moms to CCL’s “Live the Love” program, which offers multiple age-appropriate tracks for teaching preteen and teenage girls about “the beauty of womanhood” and “the gift of their fertility.”
The “Young Adult” section features the forthcoming Charting for Health course for young women, in addition to Fertility Awareness-based coaching in the symptothermal method of family planning. It also features individualized modules on painful periods, PMS, PCOS, and more. While hormonal birth control can come at a terrible cost for teens and young women, fertility awareness methods put them in touch with their bodies’ “fifth vital sign” to monitor their health.
The “Couples” section connects couples with virtual or in-person instruction in the symptothermal method of family planning, which claims a 98% effectiveness rate of avoiding pregnancy when used correctly. By receiving instruction in an evidence-based fertility awareness method, couples learn that they needn’t compromise pregnancy prevention effectiveness in order to avoid the physical and emotional harms of hormonal birth control.
The much-anticipated “Postpartum” section seeks to help demystify the challenging period between giving birth and the return of regular cycles, when a woman’s signs of fertility may fluctuate substantially. This can cause anxiety for women seeking to postpone pregnancy after childbirth. CCL’s postpartum class counters the narrative that women must take birth control to space their pregnancies, and addresses the needs and questions women have about using the symptothermal method successfully during this time. A digital forum offers postpartum women an opportunity for community, and a place to discuss various topics.
The “Perimenopause” section helps women who are at a loss for where to look for answers to common discomforts and symptoms of this phase. And while, like postpartum women, signs of fertility may vary in this group, the Fertility Science Institute’s offerings aim to bring a sense of understanding to perimenopausal women.
Finally, an “Extra Care” section on the Fertility Science Institute website discusses reproductive issues like heavy, painful periods, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), irregular cycles, and endometriosis. Too often, girls and women faced with one of these reproductive issues are told that their only option is hormonal birth control. The Extra Care section offers real answers and resources that address root causes, rather than approaches which merely cover up symptoms.
CCL’s Executive Director, Katie Zulanas, spoke to the need for the Fertility Science Institute, noting that “[o]ngoing research has shown that Millennial and GenZ women are hesitant to embrace hormonal contraception and desire more natural methods to understand and navigate their fertility.” CCL seeks to fill the gap for those seeking to learn the language of their bodies, and couples seeking to plan their families naturally.
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