NFP vs. Contraception

Jackie and Bobby: Why We Don’t Use Contraception in Our Marriage

Practicing Natural Family Planning differs greatly from the use of contraception, both in action and in the beliefs behind it.

In Action

Contracteption – Disrups a normally functioning system

NFP – Protects and assists natural fertility

Common Methods of Contraception

Hormonal birth control (most common in the US)

  • Pill
  • Patch
  • Injection
  • IUD (intra-uterine device)

Barrier methods

  • Male condom
  • Female condom
  • Diaphragm
  • Spermicide
  • Films

Sterilization (forms of permanent contraception)

  • Vasectomy
  • Tubal ligation

Please see note at the bottom of the page.


  • Often overrides and suppresses a woman’s natural cycle of fertile and infertile phases.
  • Contraception often includes a long list of serious side effects, such as: cancer, blood clots, depression, and allergic reactions.
  • Deliberate action is taken before, during, or after sexual intercourse to render the act sterile, incomplete, or incompatible with new life.
  • Requires the use of invasive devices/procedures.
  • Creates a barrier between the spouses: May cause impaired sex drive and sexual discomfort/awkwardness.
  • Certain methods may have abortifacient qualities (If conception occurs, the environment may be unsuitable for the development of the baby).
  • The effectiveness of hormonal birth control depends entirely on the commitment and proper use by the woman.
  • Masks health issues; could possibly create later fertility problems.

Natural Family Planning

  • Works with a woman’s unique and natural cycle.
  • There are no harmful side effects.
  • Does not require any invasive device or oppressive medicine.
  • Requires no medical procedures.
  • Many couples report an increased level of intimacy and sexual satisfaction as a result of practicing NFP.
  • All acts of sexual intercourse are open to life.
  • Requires communication and a shared burden by both the man and the woman in order for it to be effective.
  • There are no harmful side effects, only benefits!
  • NFP promotes shared responsibility and understanding of fertility between husband and wife.
“In the classes I learned the effectiveness of NFP and it’s scientific basis. I was amazed. I also loved that from the beginning Mike didn’t want me to submit my body to any harmful side effects that the chemical alternatives like the pill might have. Most importantly I learned that the pill had the ability to act as an abortifacient; no one had EVER told me that, and I had been on the pill for a short time years before.”

– Sharon

Catholic Teaching on IVF and Contraception Explained

Sex is for procreation and the unity of the couple. Equally important is the fact that sex, not in vitro fertilization, is the natural way to bring forth a new life. Contraception and in vitro fertilization violate the nature of not only sex, but also the nature of the person and life itself.
“Unlike artificial contraception-which usually places full burden of family planning on the woman-NFP promotes shared responsibility of the fertility of both the husband and wife. It lends a spirit of togetherness to a marriage.”

– Jennifer and John

Beliefs Behind It

Contracteption – Is not compatible with God’s design of life-giving love

NFP – Is compatible with God’s design of life-giving love


  • The meaning of the word is “against conception, or against beginning.”
  • According to the Catholic Church’s teaching, contraception includes anything that is done before, during, or after the sexual act that renders that act infertile (SOURCE: Humanae Vitae 14).
  • Impinges on the true meaning and design of the sexual act – in essence, it takes the “total” and “fruitful” aspects out of the picture. Doing so makes it out of line with God’s design for married love and the marital act.
  • Furthermore, it blocks part of the natural aspects of intercourse and can easily lead to people using each other for their own sexual satisfaction, even within marriage.

Natural Family Planning

  • Methods that allow for couples to achieve or avoid pregnancy using knowledge of the woman’s fertile signs and symptoms.
  • NFP does nothing before, during, or after the sexual act to render it infertile (see Catholic Teaching page).
  • Marital love is designed to be free, total, faithful, and fruitful, and the sexual act is the physical representation of marital love (see Catholic Teaching page).
  • Anything that takes any one of the above aspects out of the equation would not be in line with God’s design for married love.
  • NFP respects the God-given design for married love, and allows every act of intercourse to be free, total, faithful, and fruitful.
“I can’t tell you how liberated I felt when I threw away that last pack of pills. It felt like shedding a weight.”

– Karina

A note on vasectomy/tubal ligation: Because these methods render every sexual act after them infertile, they are not in line with Catholic teaching on marriage and the sexual act. Consider the following quote from the Church’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae (vasectomy and tubal ligation would both fall under the category of “permanent sterilization.”).

“Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15) Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)”
-Humanae Vitae, 14

NFP promotes the total union in your marriage and is unhindered by any barrier.

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