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Fertility Awareness Network (FAN)

The Fertility Awareness Network (FAN) is an educational coalition of teachers of Fertility Awareness Method. Our goals are:

1) To promote the knowledge and practice of Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) and Natural Family Planning (NFP) amongst the public.

2) To share resources and information amongst our members so that we may support and learn from one another.

If you would like to learn FAM or NFP, FAN has an information packet can help you locate an instructor. The packet includes:

a list of FA instructors (who teach in a secular context),
a list of NFP organizations (which typically teach in a religious context),
a suggested reading list,
tips on how to obtain instruction, even if there is no teacher in your area. The fact is, there are very few qualified, secular teachers of Fertility Awareness. However, if you prefer not to work with one of the NFP organizations, it is quite feasible to work with one of us by phone. Many people who send for our packet end up doing that.

If you'd like to receive our info packet, we do ask for a small donation ($5 suggested). You'll find our mailing address below, and we also take PayPal: send donations to "admin@fertaware.com." We are a nonprofit and donations for the packet help pay for our phone, website, etc. If you're snailmailing a check, make sure to include your email address, printed clearly, so that we can send you the packet! Here is our address:

Fertility Awaress Network
PO Box 1190
New York, NY 10009-1190
email us

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Fertility Awareness Network, please contact us. Women who have completed a recognized training program in Fertility Awareness, or who are close to completing one, may apply. Practicing teachers without certification may also apply. There is no printed application as yet, but all applicants will be interviewed with respect to training, competency, and professional practices. You will be asked to provide information on your background & training, samples of your teaching materials, a brief description of the courses or consultations you provide, and an overview of your practice. It is expected that you will maintain a website. If you are accepted, a modest membership fee may be charged. Please note that FAN is a secular, pro-choice organization which is committed to teaching anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, sexual practices, etc. If your belief system is different, please consider affiliating with one of the professional organizations for NFP teachers.


Teacher Training/Certification

If you are interested in becoming a Fertility Awareness instructor, or in incorporating FA into your existing health care practice, these are the steps I recommend. For more information on becoming an instructor, and to purchase a study guide, please see Katie Singer's website.


Just about everyone who wants to teach Fertility Awareness is motivated by her own experience using it. Charting your own cycles is the first step for anyone considering becoming an instructor. Chart for at least 6 months before approaching a teacher-training program. What are you getting out of it? What is unclear to you? Is there anything you don't like about it? What makes you want to share this practice with others?


Beyond charting your own cycles, the next step is to read as much as you can on the topic. "The topic" is a fairly broad category, including not only Fertility Awareness but infertility, menstruation, gynecology, pregnancy, sexuality, nutrition, and other related subjects. You can find some suggested resources in the information packet of the Fertility Awareness Network (top of page) and more in the study guide offered by Katie Singer. Keep a list as you read. If you end up studying with someone (see next step), your teacher will help you develop your resource list.


If you're going to teach, you need to see how other people teach, what sort of things come up in class, etc. Fertility Awareness classes are offered only sparsely throughout the US and Canada. Classes in Natural Family Planning are much more widely available. To locate instructors & classes in Fertility Awareness and Natural Family Planning, send for the information packet offered by the Fertility Awareness Network, above. (If you're not clear on the differences between Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness, see the FAQ page.)


When you become a Fertility Awareness instructor, you become a health care professional. Would you go see a massage therapist or use a midwife who had not been taught by others in his or her field, who had not had supervision and assessment along the way? No matter how much you read, there is a limit to how far self-education can take you, and it irresponsible to begin teaching without obtaining adequate training. Avail yourself of the expertise that is out there.

There are many ways one can go about studying Fertility Awareness. Much will depend on where you live, your financial situation, how you learn best, what your beliefs are, and most importantly, what you plan to do with the information. If you are planning to go whole hog and devote yourself to teaching Fertility Awareness, alone or in conjunction with other aspects of women's reproductive health care, I encourage you to participate in the only structured, secular program in place in North America. It is an excellent, extremely comprehensive program:


If you are not able to participate in the program offered by Justisse, or if you are looking for a less comprehensive education, you may consider mentorship. This is especially appropriate if your intention is to integrate FA into some other type of instruction or practice. Say for example you are an acupuncturist, and you don't want to offer classes in Fertility Awareness, nor do you have the time for a whole new degree at this point, but you do want to be able to read the charts that your patients bring in to you. Or you work with teens, and you want to encourage them to chart their cycles, but you don't plan to teach them how to use the information for anything but self-knowledge, nor will you offer counseling based on the charts. Mentorship might be a good option in those cases. Several members of the Fertility Awareness Network are available for mentorship, myself included. For more info, contact me, or send for the information packet of the Fertility Awareness Network (above).

Of course if you are a practicing Catholic, or in other ways share Catholic values such as being opposed to abortion, premarital sex, in vitro fertilization, etc, you would do well to check out any of the Natural Family Planning programs. You might also consider studying with these organizations even if you do not exactly share their belief systems. They have a lot to offer, in terms of scientific & medical knowledge, as well as many years of experience in conveying the information to others.


No matter what route of instruction you take, or how you intend to share Fertility Awareness, it's vital to keep up with current news & developments in your field, and to stay on top of the media as it stumbles through the complex worlds of fertility, reproductive health, etc. As a health care practitioner, you are never done learning.

There are myriad ways to stay in the loop - newsgroups, Google alerts, rss feeds, email newsletters, etc. If you are a health care professional who advocates Fertility Awareness, or if you are an instructor of FA or enrolled in an FA training program, see section on FA Professional Yahoo Group, below. Your mentor or teacher can help you develop a list of resources, and I'm sure you can share some with her, too. No one person can keep up with everything that is available, even in one relatively small field.


Which brings me to my last point, the importance of community. Fertility Awareness professionals are few and far between. It is VITAL that we work together, to share information, to work toward common goals, to respond to the media, and in general to ensure that women will have access to this information, now and in the future. You may already be a member of a professional organization, especially if you're a healthcare practitioner, in which case you already understand the benefits of being in a group in which expertise can be shared and support can be offered. If you are planning to teach Fertility Awareness, or if you are already doing so, don't do so in isolation. Support your colleagues, and draw from the support that they can offer you. See section above re the Fertility Awareness Network.


FA Professionals Yahoo Group

If you are a health care professional who advocates Fertility Awareness in your practice, or if you are a Fertility Awareness instructor, you may want to join the Fertility Awareness Professionals Yahoo Group. This group is for the dissemination and discussion of news and information related to Fertility Awareness and reproductive health. This group is primarily for healthcare professionals and educators (both established and in training). Note: this is not an Natural Family Planning group. If you are an NFP professional, please see the NFP Professionals Group. If you do not understand the difference between NFP and Fertility Awareness, please visit the FAQ section.


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