Getting Started with FAM

Are you new to the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)? Do you want to learn how to use this method for natural birth control or pregnancy achievement? Read on!

If you haven’t already, please refer to (and bookmark) the abbreviations page, as we use a lot of those around here! 

What is FAM? In a nutshell, FAM is a collection of methods that require you to observe 1 or more of your fertility signs to determine when you are fertile or infertile. The most effective type of FAM is sympto-thermal (STM), which uses cervical mucus and basal body temperature observations.

*FAM is NOT the same as the rhythm or calendar method!!!*

Step 1 – Pick a Method

click photo to enlarge

By far, sympto-thermal is the most popular category in our FAM Facebook group, with TCOYF and Sensiplan being the 2 most popular methods. All other categories can be explored further here (external link).

Step 2 – Find an Instructor or buy a Book

Please do not try and learn a Fertility Awareness Method solely from our Facebook group (which is simply a support group) or this website. Here’s an overview of recommended resources for learning the sympto-thermal method:

Taking Charge of your Fertility (aka TCOYF)
♦ Fahrenheit
♦ Designed for self-teaching (very limited unofficial instructors available)
♦ Efficacy not specifically studied
♦ This has long been the “FAM Bible” and is never a bad purchase!

Sensiplan (handbook & workbook recommended)
♦ Celsius
Instructors are available but are not inexpensive (around $450 USD)
♦ The most thoroughly studied method to date, with perfect use efficacy reaching 99.6% (using an instructor)
♦ Additional free materials can be viewed here

♦ Fahrenheit (instructors can provide Celsius materials)
♦ Instructors are available and usually cost between $100 – $200 USD
♦ Additional supplemental learning materials are available through an instructor
♦ Very similar to Sensiplan

NFPTA (Natural Family Planning Teachers Association)
♦ Celsius and/or Fahrenheit, depending on the instructor
♦ Learning materials are custom created by each instructor (unavailable for solo purchase; above link has *brief* summary PDFs)
♦ Instructors are available and usually cost between $150 – $300 USD
♦ Very similar to Sensiplan

**Note – If you are self-teaching it is strongly recommended that you practice for at least three full **ovulatory** cycles before relying on the method for birth control. The efficacy for self-teaching has not been studied**

Step 3 – Gather Needed Materials

Purchase a BBT (Basal Body Thermometer)

View our top picks below (priced low to high), or click link above for more options:

Mabis (aka ReliOn) – Inexpensive, Fahrenheit, also available at Walmart USA
Easy@Home EBT-100B – Inexpensive, F/C, backlight, soft beep
iProven 113i – Fairly inexpensive, F/C, backlight, extra soft beep
Femometer Vinca II
– More expensive, F/C, neat extra features, syncs with an app (the app is OK but not one of our top picks)
– Pricey (but priceless to some) wearable thermometer, popular for anyone with interrupted sleep, F/C. As of September 2022, there are NO acceptable alternatives for a wearable thermometer for avoiding pregnancy – See FAQ

Download a charting app

Quick picks below – find these in the Apple Store or on Google Play:

Read Your Body – Created by FAM users, for FAM users, by nonprofit organization The Body Literacy Collective. Crowdfunded entirely by members of our FAM group and other like-minded FAM users. Packed with features – manual chart interpretation, automatically syncs with Tempdrop, highly customizable (works with any method), maximum data privacy. Free 30 day trial, then $1.99/month or $14.99/year USD. A group favorite!
Kindara – Sadly, *NO LONGER RECOMMENDED* but an old group favorite. The pink/orange charts you’ll see in our FB group are Kindara charts. The free version is sufficient. *USE AT YOUR OWN RISK* – the company was sold and the new owners appear to have abandoned all support for Kindara. As of August 2022, the app still works well enough but there is no guarantee for how long and it seems to have disappeared from The App Store. Group member reports indicate that customer service is completely nonexistent.
OvuView – Android only, solid choice, syncs with Tempdrop, free version is fine
Fertility Friend – Solid choice, if arguably not very “pretty,” free version is fine
Paper / Printable charting options

If you need confidence that this method works, join our TTA Success event to view successful charts! (must be a FAMBC Facebook group member) >