Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Is NFP permissible?

7 August, 2012

Question:

I have had many problems with all hormonal forms of birth control, including the IUD. Basically, my problem with all these methods is that I either bleed non–stop for months, or I get a period every two weeks. Over the years of my marriage there have been numerous times when I wasn't able to go to the mikvah for months. And this while in contact with a Rav.

I refuse to get the non–hormonal IUD, as the insertion for me was very painful and I can't put myself through that again. In addition to the commonplace occurrence of heavier periods, which is already an issue for me.

A diaphragm worries me as the effectiveness of it is not good enough for me.

I really want to use Natural Family Planning, as it is the only method that is truly side-effect free. My husband understands it and is on board completely. Is that method permitted, if it requires abstaining from relations on mikveh night?


Answer:

We are sorry to hear of your difficult experiences with contraception.

There is a halachic value placed on sexual relations on mikveh night. Halacha also supports sexual intimacy within marriage, and a combination of hilchot niddah and Natural Family Planning can greatly reduce the time-frame during which relations can take place.

However, when contraceptive use is permitted and both spouses agree, it is halachically permissible to abstain from relations, even on mikveh night, in accordance with this method. Please see our site's article on the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), which is a form of natural family planning.

Please note that the diaphragm with spermicide is highly effective, and usually considered more effective than FAM.  Many couples have success using a combination of both approaches: FAM to isolate the most fertile days, on which the couple abstain, and a diaphragm to provide backup contraception on other days. 


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