Archive for the ‘ovulation’ Category

MedTech Investor: Check Out the Assumptions of Our Minimum Viable Product Scenario

August 2, 2016

Warhol, Andy, Dollar Sign, 1981Some time back, I published here a blog post titled “The Ovulona is not another ovulation kit, my dear” in response to a Jennifer K. who had written: How is this different from the other ovulation kits on the market today? It seems very similar to products I have seen before. At the time, my blog posts were addressed to all the fertility info-seeking Jennifers (and Jeffreys, too) out there in the social networks but not particularly to the women’s healthcare technology investors.

Now it’s the latter I am reaching out to.

And I refer to Home Page of bioZhena’s Weblog to be reviewed in connection with the business assumptions. (Or Reproductive Health IQ Does Matter, a LinkedIn post.)

In the present post, we present the bioZhena Business Assumptions. This is to draw attention to the big picture that emerges even in the Minimum Viable Scenario (MVS), the detailed assumptions of which have been worked from bottom up (with due attention to the TAM, SAM and the SOM). bioZhena Corporation’s goal is to implement the Full Value Scenario that was constructed based on the MVS. More on this in the closing paragraph of this post.

Here is a summary of the MVS, the Minimum Viable Product Scenario:

SUMMARY OF MINIMUM VIABLE SCENARIO’S SERVICEABLE AVAILABLE MARKET IN THE U.S. ALONE

US Trying-To-Conceive (TTC) Serviceable Available Market $$ (at the TTC mean cost of $2,600 p.a.) is $21,320,000,000

US Trying-To-Conceive Serviceable Available Market $$ (at the TTC minimum cost of $200 p.a.) is $1,640,000,000

US Initial Off-Label Birth Control Serviceable Available Market (SAM) $$ is $82,492,000

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Projection: FIRST PRODUCT SALES IN MONTH 16 POST FUNDING (first product application already FDA-cleared)

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Summary Comparison of Minimum Viable Scenario (MVS) with Full Value Scenario (FVS)

FVS compared with MVSClick on the image for better legibility

(the URL is: https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/comparison-mvs-cf-fvs.pps )

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And now for the assumptions – with pictorial embellishments for dividers between the market segments.

Listing sources of market data (with some comments) followed by the resulting numerical USD market size assumptions.

‘Satyre et Bacchante’ by Jean-Jacques Pradier, marble, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille.

‘Satyre et Bacchante’ by Jean-Jacques Pradier, marble, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille.

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Birth Control (BC) Market

CDC 2014 survey: 61.7% of the 60.9 million US women ages 15-49 practice contraception (= 37.6 million contraceptors), and of these 48.1% use the most common methods (the pill, sterilization, condoms, and long-acting reversible contraceptives). That leaves 38.3% or 23.32 million non-contracepting women.

un.org Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015 Report, Annex Table II: Number of US married or in-union women using contraception = 28,600,000. Number of US women who have an unmet need for family planning = 2,560,000. Worldwide number of women using contraception is 758,000,000 and the number of women who have an unmet need for family planning is 142,000,000 (these are median data as of 2015). Couples often desire to control not just the number of children, but also the timing. We address this desire or need by design.

Next, per Guttmacher Institute 2016 fact sheet, nearly half (45% or 2.8 million) of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the U.S. were unintended in 2011 (and 42% of those ended in abortion). Contraceptive failure rate plays a big role in this. Meaning that, for 2.8 million of the 37.6 million contracepting women, their method fails (and they seek a solution). 43 million US women were at risk of unintended pregnancy in 2008. (Public expenditures on unintended pregnancies nationwide were estimated to be $21.0 billion in 2010.)

For this Minimum Value Scenario, the conservative assessment of the number of US women in the birth control market is to choose between the 43 million at risk in 2008 and the 2.8 million of unintended pregnancies in 2011 plus the 2,560,000 who have an unmet need for family planning. We choose the latter, which is much smaller, i.e. 2,800,000 plus 2,560,000 = 5,360,000 as the number of US women in the family planning (BC) market segment for our Serviceable Available Market. Indisputably conservative.

US costs of personal birth control average $1,006/year (Health Aff (Millwood) 2015 and americanprogress.org 2012). Since average ACA saving was 20%, then 100% = $ 251.5 times 5 = $ 1,257.50.  So, $ 1,257.5 – $ 251.50 = $1,006. (ACA = Affordable Care Act.) Double-check the reasonableness via this tweet.

Hence Our Birth Control (BC) Numerical Assumptions For the Minimum Value Scenario Are:

Number of US Women in the family planning (BC) market is 5,360,000

US Serviceable Available Market (SAM) $$ is $5,392,160,000

Worldwide Number of Women in the family planning (BC) market is 758,000,000

Worldwide Total Available Market $$ is very large even with only the unmet-need number of 142,000,000 women

E.g. if the estimate is based on the above US cost average, TAM is $142,852,000,000

Oh joy  Found on poodlefuzz.tumblr.com

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Initial Off-Label BC Market Upon the Ovulona Launch Assumed At 1%

Commercial market research compendium reports: The Trying-To-Conceive (TTC) tests are utilized for the unauthorized off-label use of aiding women’s natural birth control practice.

Quote: “About Half Who Use Tests Do Not Want Pregnancy”.

(http://www.marketresearch.com/Packaged-Facts-v768/Home-Medical-Tests-143386/).

Here we assume only 1% of the 8,200,000 US Fertility-Impaired Women Ages 15-44 (see below the CDC data on the TTC market), which is 82,000 women, translating at the assumed mean annual BC cost of $1,006 into an off-label $82,492,000 SAM upon the Ovulona launch into the TTC Market. To reiterate, we assume that 1% of those in the market for a tech tool aiding conception are in fact in the market to help themselves to avoid pregnancy by fertility awareness and will be off-label Ovulona users as soon as the Ovulona becomes available in the marketplace.

This is a reasonable conservative assumption in view of the 69.5 million US Catholics (the largest religious body in the United States) comprising 22% of the population[1] as of 2015. The assumed 82,000 women represent a mere 0.1% of the Catholic population. See an example of unsolicited expression of interest in the Ovulona from a US Catholic. Ovulona market research with 5,000 US women revealed that 70% of those who would buy the Ovulona would switch from their present contraception method.

The assumed SAM number of $82,492,000  represents 30.5% (but read on) of the annual retail sales of ovulation prediction kits (OPKs or LH kits) in the U.S. as they were reported in 2008/2009 when OPKs outpaced the annual sales of home pregnancy tests. The NYT article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/business/media/02adco.html?_r=2 cited the annual OPK sales data of $270 million from IRI (Information Resources, Inc.). They derived it from in-store scanners at the retailer level for all of their major CPG clients (Consumer Packaged Goods companies) except for Wal-Mart. This info courtesy of Edward Saettone (via Linkedin Answers).

At annual growth rate of over 10% for personalized diagnostic tools (per PricewaterhouseCoopers), this suggests a SAM over $560,000,000 in 2016, and the assumed off-label SAM of $82,492,000 then represents ~15% of this documented and extrapolated figure for annual sales of OPKs in 2016. The SAM percentage (~15%) will be further reduced by the sales of the electronic ovulation predictor tests that have entered the market in the last decade or so.

For the worldwide assumption we take as base 6% of the worldwide number (758,000,000) minus the number in least developed countries (60,800,000) because: 1.  Only 6 per cent of married or in-union women worldwide used rhythm or withdrawal in 2015 (per un.org …/trendsContraceptiveUse2015Report.pdf), and 2. it is well known that especially this sub-population of women (and men) keep looking for a better tool to help them practice fertility awareness/natural family planning.  6% of 697,200,000 = 41,832,000.

Hence Our Numerical Assumptions For the Minimum Value Scenario Are:

Number of US Women off-label users upon device launch into the TTC Market segment (below) is 82,000

US Off-Label Serviceable Available Market $$ is $82,492,000

Worldwide Number of Women off-label users upon device launch is 41,832,000

Worldwide Total Available Market $$ is very large

E.g. if the estimate were based on the above US cost average, TAM is $42,082,992,000

 pregnant 2

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Trying-To-Conceive (TTC) Market

CDC PUBLIC HEALTH GRAND ROUNDS 2015, slide 36 titled “Impact of Lack of Insurance on Decision-Making”: Non-ART: $200 – $5,000 (and IVF: $10,000 – $15,000). Out-of-pocket costs can be substantial and impact patient decision-making and risk-taking – referring particularly to the IVF. (ART stands for Artificial Reproductive Technologies such as IVF, In Vitro Fertilization). We take $2,600 as the mean annual cost of TTC (Trying-To-Conceive, non-ART).

CDC Reproductive Health data last updated 2015: Number of US women ages 15-44 with impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term: 6.7 million or 10.9%. Number of US married women ages 15-44 who are infertile (unable to get pregnant after at least 12 consecutive months of unprotected sex): 1.5 million or 6.0%. The sum of the primary and secondary infertility sufferers in the U.S. is 8.2 million women.

NIH Analysis of 277 Surveys 2012: Worldwide in 2010, 48.5 million couples were unable to have a child, of which 19.2 million couples were unable to have a first child (primary infertility), and 29.3 million couples were unable to have an additional child (secondary infertility, and the figure excludes China). Due to population growth, the number of couples suffering from infertility has increased since 1990, when 42.0 million couples were unable to have a child. Also, from WHO Evaluation Of Surveys 2004: More than 186 million ever-married women of reproductive age in developing countries were maintaining a “child wish”, translating into one in every four couples or 25%. We note this but opt for the NIH data, above.

Hence Our TTC Numerical Assumptions For the Minimum Value Scenario Are:

Number of US Fertility-Impaired Women Ages 15-44 is 8,200,000

US Serviceable Available Market $$ (at the TTC mean cost of $2,600 p.a.) is $21,320,000,000

US Serviceable Available Market $$ (at the TTC minimum cost of $200 p.a.) is $1,640,000,000

Worldwide Number of Women Who Are Unable to Have a Child is 48,500,000

Worldwide Total Available Market $$ is very large

E.g. if the estimate were based on the US non-ART cost average of $2,600 (see above), TAM is $126,100,000,000

Boatswain is piloting the Eagle to the dock

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In closing, the reader is reminded that the above are the Assumptions for the bioZhena Minimum Value Scenario (Minimum Viable Product Scenario), which scenario represents the proverbial “low hanging fruit”. This is because our core product’s first application has FDA 510k clearance for aiding conception & generating diagnostic menstrual profiles for physicians. Our goal is to pursue the Full Value Scenario of the bioZhena Business Plan because of the potential of the bioZhena technology – summarized in the single slide here (the URL is https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/single-slide-biozhena-technology-potential-on-white-background1.pps ). Aiming to go well beyond personal reproductive management (which is, admittedly, where it all started, as evident from the whole bioZhena’s Weblog and other web presence).

And for Investors – PPM at https://www.equitynet.com/profile.aspx

Might check out first  Home Page of bioZhena’s Weblog

bioZhena & Women’s Fertility Watch(ing)

March 3, 2015

bioZhena & Women’s Fertility Watch(ing)

Let’s bring women’s personal management of sex life (“can I conceive today?”) into the Space Age.

And provide diagnostic vital-sign menstrual profiles to doctors & payers along the way.

https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/ovulona-quick-intro-4-slides1.pps

Lovers (Mr. and Mrs. Hembus) - Kirchner

Recapping why a non-hormonal birth control option for women is a good idea because of the drug’s brain effects

End of the year, and trying to get pregnant

December 14, 2012

The best you can do for your fertility awareness and natural family planning in the absence of the Ovulona™ when you want to conceive a pregnancy. (Not valid for pregnancy avoidance.)

Now, at the end of the year, …

"...Josef Lada did far more than illustrate the Hasek's Good Soldier Svejk novel, and his idealized paintings of carol singers and family gatherings are, for many in this country, an enduring symbol of Czech Christmas." http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/josef-ladas-paintings-an-enduring-symbol-of-czech-christmas/pictures/obrazy/lada-josef/vanoce.jpg

“…Josef Lada did far more than illustrate the Hasek’s Good Soldier Svejk novel, and his idealized paintings of carol singers and family gatherings are, for many in this country, an enduring symbol of Czech Christmas.” http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/josef-ladas-paintings-an-enduring-symbol-of-czech-christmas/pictures/obrazy/lada-josef/vanoce.jpg

…the stat counters monitoring the visits to the posts of bioZhena’s Weblog show something that I want to share with you. Namely: The most visited blog posts at this time of the year are those addressing the issues involved in trying to conceive (the flip side of natural birth control). Those blog articles exhibit distinctly higher viewing statistics than the stats of the posts on other topics of reproductive health – whereby some of those topics exhibit a different seasonality of increased interest.

If you wish to put this in context and review the situation out there, outside of bioZhena’s Weblog, read the attached paper Google evidence of increasing prevalence of subfertility.

A couple of examples of the bioZhena’s Weblog titles most visited at this time of the year:

The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors = https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-fallacy-of-ovulation-calculators-calendars-and-circulating-hormone-detectors/ Don’t let them lead you by the nose with likely this and probable that! You need to know for sure.

Critique of birth control efficacies in NFP as published by Marquette University researchers = https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/critique-of-birth-control-efficacies-in-nfp-as-published-by-marquette-university-researchers/ Comments on a report of two studies http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/cmr_winter-spring09.pdf – they report on what we will call peri-ovulation methodologies.

Some women email me, while some “like” certain Ovulona pages or bioZhena’s Weblog posts.

Citing from one such email: “I am a 41 year old nulliparous woman in good health (with a few minor issues). I have been TTC for 1 year without success and came across Ovulona by accident during a Google search for how to optimise my fertility.”  TTC stands for Trying To Conceive, a standard acronym in the community of sub-fertility sufferers. Or even infertility sufferers – those who have not conceived while trying for longer than a year. (Re: Medical definitions of sub-fertility and infertility.) Nulliparous means no children, medical adjective for women having no previous births.

You know, my dear reader, that the optimal age for conception and motherhood is 20 to 24 years, after which fertility starts declining, and it drops a lot after 35 years of age. Should this be news to you, read The perils of IVF, of ARTs, of giving birth at old maternal age . “About epigenetic evidence that should make you think twice+ before you contemplate In Vitro Fertilization and think that having a baby can wait. The bottom line? Be a young mother!”

And from another reader’s email: “Please let me know if there is any way to buy an Ovulona or to use one for trial purposes.”

In response, I can only explain – apologetically, suppressing frustration – that we do not have any Ovulona units available because we have not yet manufactured the marketable product, due to lack of capital. Then, attempting a little more positive note, I remind the would-be Mums about what some experts call “focused intercourse” – that is focusing on trying to hit the fertile window. In the absence of the Ovulona, this must be done preferably with more than one of the several available methods (several, because they are unreliable, inaccurate – don’t rely on any one of them alone). And I urge you to also avoid stress…

Although the old imperfect methods (including instrumental monitoring of urine samples and/or of the BBT) give only inaccurate estimates, they should help to focus on the right time when the probability of conception exists. Outside of the fertile window you don’t have a chance to conceive.

Here is to illustrate two such imperfect methods in comparison with ours (where our Ovulona not only anticipates but also detects ovulation, which detection is all important): https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/cervix-uteri-and-seven-or-eight-related-things/marquette-comparison-with-lh-kit-and-peak-mucus-2/ .

In this record of a 42-years old woman, our device detected delayed ovulation on cycle day 17, while two other methods estimated ovulation from day 16 to day 18. This lack of precision and accuracy is not at all good for natural birth control and/or for trying to achieve fetal gender pre-selection (= trying to conceive either a boy or a girl). But, with such inaccurate methods, which are available now before we bring the Ovulona into the market, you can see here that you might be fortunate and hit on at least a part of the fertile window. In this example, the LH-indicated days 16 and 17 were fertile days because the sperm are viable for about 3 days. Perhaps even day 18 may have been a fertile day, if the ovum (egg) lived long enough, and depending on when exactly on day 17 the detected ovulation occurred. Such uncertainties will be removed by properly designed experiments with the Ovulona.

In this record of a 42-years old woman, our device detected delayed ovulation on cycle day 17, while two other methods estimated ovulation from day 16 to day 18. This lack of precision and accuracy is not at all good for natural birth control and/or for trying to achieve fetal gender pre-selection (= trying to conceive specifically a boy or specifically a girl). But, with such inaccurate methods, which are available now before we bring the Ovulona into the market, you can see here that you might be fortunate and hit on at least a part of the fertile window. In this example (because of the ovulation delay), the LH-indicated days 16 and 17 were fertile days because the sperm are viable for about 3 days. Perhaps even day 18 may have been a fertile day, if the ovum (egg) lived long enough, and depending on when exactly on day 17 the detected ovulation occurred (morning or evening?). Such uncertainties will be removed by properly designed experiments with the properly designed Ovulona.

This record from a comparative study shows how the old ovulation prediction methods are unreliable, because the two used here predicted ovulation for 3 different days – but the record may also serve to illustrate for you that (and how) you may be lucky and hit at least one of the fertile days. Here, in this record, ovulation was detected – not merely anticipated – by the Ovulona prototype. It was detected on the day of the second urinary LH indication, which is here one day before the esoteric Peak mucus of NFP aficionados; they did not use the BBT in this study. None of the old techniques detects ovulation: they predict it or, in the case of the BBT, indicate that ovulation has occurred.

There are only 3 days in each menstrual cycle during which pregnancy can occur, and it will if you are fortunate. The 3 fertile days are the day of ovulation plus the two days immediately before ovulation.

I’ll now write a long sentence full of the word “trying”, with several connotations. Repeat after me (and grasp what follows): Trying to determine the 3 days of the fertile window without the Ovulona is pretty much impossible, but trying for it – or at least some of it – is better than trying completely in the dark.

That’s because the 3-day fertile window varies, it does not stay put on certain days of the menstrual cycle from one cycle to the next. Check out this earlier bioZhena post for evidence that this is so. See evidence generated by other experts years or rather decades ago – when they hoped that microcomputer-assisted basal body temperature [BBT] monitoring would solve the problem.

From a graph such as the one above, it is evident that to determine the fertile days before ovulation is more difficult than estimating the last fertile day, which is the day of ovulation. This difficulty is a well recognized fact, and it’s not a matter of whether ovulation is or is not delayed by stress of one kind or another. The stress-caused delay (or even complete suppression) of ovulation is one of the things that complicate management of reproductive life.

Now for the encouragement: Maybe, the idea of not being completely at the mercy of chance when trying to conceive a baby, might even help you to be less stressed out about it at a time when celebrating the end of the year (and looking back and looking forward – along with all that Christmas rush) leads to an increased level of stress anyway.

Josef Lada’s idyllic take on Christmas activities in the countryside and in the city, that is to say, in Czechoslovak towns of his day. There, a fish meal on Christmas Eve was and still is one of the traditions, although the country is now two (and good friends). The fishy thing was apparently based on the belief that fish scales symbolize the prospect of money next year to the eater. Maybe some of us should not have turned our nose up about this fish thing… Then the capital for the Ovulona might not have been so slow in coming! Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Josef Lada’s idyllic take on Christmas activities in the countryside and in the city, that is to say, in Czechoslovak towns of his day. There, a fish meal on Christmas Eve was and still is one of the traditions, although the country is now two (and good friends). The fishy thing was apparently based on the belief that fish scales symbolize the prospect of money next year to the eater. Maybe some of us should not have turned our nose up about this fish thing… Then the capital for the Ovulona might not have been so slow coming! Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Perhaps the focus idea may help you not to be stressed out about the thing which is supposed to be pleasurable and not a chore. Suppose that between now and some time in January/February (in the course of the long winter evenings, “za dlouhych zimnich veceru”) you’ll get your focusing organized. You surely will get over the holidays, too… Then, with a bit of happiness, relaxation and luck, come next October you will have the kind of happiness you wish for! And you’ll thus contribute to the birth/delivery statistics for October…

Josef Lada's calendar illustration for October (c. 1940s)

Josef Lada’s calendar illustration for October (c. 1940s)

In this picture, Josef Lada illustrated, long time ago, the characteristics of the month of October. Among them is the rut of the elk, which had given the month its name in the artist’s language. Way back, in those days – the pre-contraceptive Pill days, years and centuries – the difficulty to become pregnant was not a widespread phenomenon, and Mums were  younger than many are nowadays.

The evolution of subfertility and infertility (as a big-time societal phenomenon) in the U.S. is summarized based on data from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005074.html#ixzz2GBMSkUKy  [Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc.] in the next post.

Stress and fertility: How stress affects the inherently narrow fertile window

February 2, 2012

This blog post appears as the third result in Google search on “bioZhena” (without the quote marks). The complete title is:

Stress and fertility

How stress affects the inherently narrow fertile window

To read the whole post, click on either of the antique-book images or on Reblogged from bioZhena’s Weblog:

Before you go there, here is a little update. New research into stress and fertility was published since I wrote the blog post in December 2007, and here is a summary of an article titled “Stress puts double whammy on reproductive system, fertility” (see http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/06/15/stress.puts.double.whammy.reproductive.system.fertility ).

 

QUOTE: The new research shows that stress also increases brain levels of a reproductive hormone named gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone, or GnIH, discovered nine years ago in birds and known to be present in humans and other mammals. This small protein hormone, a so-called RFamide-related peptide (RFRP), puts the brakes on reproduction by directly inhibiting GnRH.

The common thread appears to be the glucocorticoid stress hormones, which not only suppress GnRH but boost the suppressor GnIH – a double whammy for the reproductive system. END QUOTE

 

Unlike any other fertility monitoring technology, bioZhena’s Ovulona™ is a Smart Sensor™ in vivo monitor of folliculogenesis. Unlike any other fertility monitor, the Ovulona is basically involved with the always-present stress responses – through monitoring certain end-organ effects on folliculogenesis. The other techniques monitor only this or that circulating hormone – not good enough. The end-organ effect(s) is what counts.

 

Again, to read the whole post, click on either of the antique-book images or on Reblogged from bioZhena’s Weblog

 

For a 2012 update go to What is the mechanism of stress and how does it affect reproduction. An update. And: Be a young mother! (Ovulona™-related published scientific findings by others about disruption of fertility, about PCOS or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, how stress suppresses ovulation, about the hypothalamic amenorrhea of stress and postpartum blues/depression, about a CRH placental clock which determines the length of gestation and the timing of parturition and delivery, and the role of CRH in premature labor. How old age affects folliculogenesis as a stressor. Even how acute stress may induce ovulation in women.)

bioZhena's Weblog

How stress affects the inherently narrow fertile window

Stress can do unwanted things to a woman and her menstrual cycle. In a nutshell, stress can make a woman completely infertile in this menstrual cycle (e.g., LPD, see below), or it can change the position of her fertile window (the time of ovulation included) within the menstrual cycle. Any of this can cause problems and lead to more stress…

The medical term is stress response, and it refers to the overall reaction of the organism to any adverse stimulus, whether it be of physical, mental or emotional kind, internal or external. The purpose is to adapt to challenge, and this goes on all the time. (C’est la vie! Real life is a never-ending series of stress responses.) Should the compensating reaction of the organism be inadequate or inappropriate, a pathological disorder may result.

The HPA axis, the immune system and the…

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Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness – not the old “Rhythm method”!

December 16, 2007

For these and other terms, see the Alphabet of bioZhena at /2007/11/28/the-alphabet-of-biozhena/

Natural family planning (NFP):

This refers to several different methods for spacing, postponing, avoiding or enhancing the possibilities of conception, without any chemical or physiological alterations of the reproductive system (female or male). NFP, therefore, is not merely a birth prevention method but is also utilized to increase the chances of becoming pregnant.

Natural family planning research has shown that among the advantages of the NFP practice is that the required discipline enhances the sexual relationship and dialogue, and that there is a reduction of “dominant attitude” in both men and women practising NFP. Contemporary methods are sometimes referred to as ‘fertility awareness’ (FA) since they are ultimately based on awareness of symptoms of fertility that are readily recognizable or measurable by any woman. Other people distinguish between NFP and FA in terms of the fertile phase: NFP users abstain whereas FA users employ a barrier method of contraception during the fertile phase. In any case, NFP and FA are distinct from the older ‘calendar’ methods such as Ogino-Knaus (the so-called ‘rhythm’ method).

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) refers to “family planning by periodic abstinence” and explains that this is [QUOTE] another name for the method of birth control that used to be called ‘rhythm method’ or ‘safe period’. More recently it has also been called ‘natural family planning’ or ‘fertility awareness’. It isn’t a single method but a variety of methods. Each is designed to help a couple find out which days during a woman’s menstrual cycle she is likely to be fertile or able to become pregnant [END OF QUOTE]. Ref.: http://www.medem.com/search/article_display.cfm?path=\\TANQUERAY\M_ContentItem&mstr=/M_ContentItem/ZZZ48OI527C.html&soc=ACOG&srch_typ=NAV_SERCH .

While the proponents of NFP warn that, without further expenditures on education, NFP will remain a fringe method in the U.S., the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises the public that [QUOTE] periodic abstinence is quite an effective means to prevent an unwanted pregnancy [END OF QUOTE].

A more detailed and informed article is in American Family Physician, Nov 1, 1995 by John H. Geerling [ http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3225/is_n6_v52/ai_17558662 ] who writes that “studies have reported that women who practice methods of natural family planning do so for health reasons, and because the methods are natural and do not require the use of chemicals”. He also writes that: “Effective use of natural family planning requires teaching beyond that which physicians can provide during a typical office visit. Therefore, physicians who wish to provide natural family planning as an option to their patients need to establish working relationships with persons who are qualified to instruct patients in the various methods of natural family planning.”

The OvulonaTM from bioZhena is designed to make NFP/FAM easily accessible to anyone. Scientific Family PlanningTM and/or Scientific Fertility AwarenessTM are the putative names for our approach, SFPTM and SFATM.

FAM (fertility awareness method):

A method of determining a woman’s fertility status through self-assessment of certain fertility signs: waking temperature (also called the basal body temperature or BBT), cervical fluid, and cervical position. While NFP users abstain, FAM users apply one of the barrier methods of contraception for vaginal intercourse during the “unsafe days” of a woman’s fertile phase.

“Rhythm” method:

Also called the calendar method, it has been discredited because of two factors: its unwarranted assumption of regularity of menstrual cycles, and the long period of abstinence demanded by it. The method’s one-time well-known status has caused a skeptical bias in America to all NFP or FAM methods, although they are very different.

The calendar or “rhythm” method is useless (and silly), unlike NFP or FAM. The reader may be aware of another nickname for the “rhythm method”… If so, you also understand that the above-referenced ACOG is confused when they talk of “another name for the method of birth control that used to be called ‘rhythm method'”. This sort of confusion is sadly not unique, including in the medical circles, and we reference other instances in some other entries in The Alphabet ( /2007/11/28/the-alphabet-of-biozhena/ ).

For more about how the “rhythm method” came about and how its failure brought about the chemical contraception, see the 2012 blog post Why too many young and not so young ladies could NOT receive flowers on Mothers’ Day: Why so many trying-to-conceive, why so much infertility. (Say thank you to the social and medical advances of the twentieth century – primarily those of chemical birth control, the Pill.)


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