Coming Home to your body & cycle
Fertility Awareness As A Tool For Life
Hi, I'm Michal Schonbrun
I am a reproductive health educator, consultant, and trainer. My background is in public health and women’s reproductive health. I specialize in fertility education, breastfeeding, contraception and achieving pregnancy, sexuality and holistic self-care. For 35 years, I have taught the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) of Fertility Awareness to nearly 3,000 clients, including hundreds of breastfeeding moms and clients coping with hormonal imbalances like PCO. I work with diverse clients, in English and Hebrew, leading workshops and offering private consultations from home and online, around the world.
What is FAM?
The FERTILITY AWARENESS method is a life skill acquired through intimate acquaintance with one’s body and cycle. It is an educational process in which a person (and their partner) learn how to observe, record and interpret their signs of fertility. Every girl and woman can learn how her body works and know when she is fertile. This evidence-based method leans on 160 years of scientific and medical research.
Fequently asked questions
FAM (Sympto-Thermal Method), is one of nearly twenty different types of methods defined as “natural.” Not all natural methods are equal. FAM is an evidence-based system of fertility management that involves the daily observation of three primary fertility signs or biomarkers, in addition to secondary fertility signs.
When charting these biomarkers, one can easily identify their fertile and infertile days. The ‘rhythm’ or “calendar” method is an unreliable method because it is based on a calculation that uses the length of previous menstrual cycles for the purpose of predicting current cycles and fertile days.
Calculation methods (often found in fertility apps and devices) are not accurate enough to rely on because menstrual cycles do not behave with swiss-clock precision. Ovulation and hormonal regularity can be affected by common occurrences such as drinking alcohol, travel, illness, stress, poor sleep, medications and more. Statistically, the rhythm method is considered 75% effective while FAM can reach 95% efficacy when learned and used correctly.
Any person can learn to recognize and decipher their fertility signs.
To learn and implement it effectively, you will need:
- 7-10 hours of learning (privately or in a group workshop)
- A trial learning period of 2-3 natural cycles for tracking and charting your fertility signs
- Commitment and motivation
- Less than two minutes per day for observation and documentation.
After the initial learning period, when your personal patterns have been identified and your confidence has increased, there are shortcuts that allow for less daily charting and more days of sexual freedom. It makes a huge difference when the person teaching you is an experienced, qualified teacher, who can provide professional follow-up and support.
- Anyone who desires a new, refreshing and intimate connection with her body, fertility, sexuality and health and who wants to learn how to trust her body’s innate wisdom and intelligence, once and for all.
- Those who can not or do not want to use hormonal methods, intrauterine devices, or other artificial methods of contraception.
- Anyone who is having difficulty conceiving.
- Niddah-observant women looking for alternatives that don’t interfere with their way of life.
- Those in special situations, e.g. transitioning from hormonal methods, irregular cycles, perimenopause, postpartum and breastfeeding, or trying to conceive using alternative medicine.
- Couples who want to share mutual responsibility for managing their fertility needs.
To know whether FAM is right for you, it is worthwhile to examine your values and priorities, as well as your lifestyle, habits, and goals.
Those who prioritize convenience, availability, ease of use and spontaneity may be best suited for hormonal methods. Those who prioritize health, natural cycles, safety, and peace of mind may find FAM more appropriate. There is no black or white, right or wrong. It takes time, knowledge and mindful contemplation to make an informed choice that is right for you.
- A completely natural, safe and effective method with no side effects.
- Does not require medical intervention or suppressing one’s natural hormones.
- FAM can save a ton of time for couples who want to get pregnant and/or significantly shorten the time to diagnosis if there is an underlying health/hormonal/fertility problem
- Increases awareness about the importance of the menstrual cycle and its connection to overall health, not just fertility and reproduction.
- It gives users a powerful sense of control, peace of mind, and confidence.
- As a tool for personal empowerment and fertility management, it allows women to trust themselves and their bodies
- Encourages mutual responsibility and cooperation between couples and it can improve sexual communication
- Requires about 2 minutes a day during the learning period
Most medical schools don’t teach about fertility awareness-based methods and most physicians confuse FAM with the ineffective ‘rhythm’ method.
Some physicians believe that FAM is “primitive” and “low-tech” and that women are not smart or trustworthy enough to learn it or use it with high efficacy.
FAM can free women from a dependency on hormonal medications and IUD’s. FAM also frees people from a dependency on doctors.
An unhealthy alliance exists between the health care system and the pharmaceutical companies. It is no coincidence that the methods which reap huge profit for big pharma companies are those that doctors recommend. Natural methods do not serve the economic interests of pharmaceutical companies who work tirelessly to convince both health professionals and the lay public that hormonal drugs and IUD’s are the only worthwhile and effective options.
Anyone can learn the theory behind FAM from a book or a friend, but when it comes to actually applying it on your body, and tracking your individual fertility signs, the process can be challenging.
While a minority of people are able to learn and implement the method on their own, reaching a strong level of self-confidence and effectiveness will be higher if learned with a certified instructor. Although there are excellent books and online resources about FAM, they are no substitute for professional guidance and individual follow-up.
This is all the more relevant when taking into account the fact that many new learners are in hormonal transition (coming off the pill, post-partum and breastfeeding), or they have a history of irregular cycles, metabolic reproductive syndrome (polycystic ovaries) or underlying health and gynecological issues like endometriosis, sexual pain, and nutritional deficiencies. These situations often require treatment/intervention before learning FAM, but they are best managed when a certified instructor can walk you through the process and provide essential long-term follow-up.
Anyone who experiences irregular cycles or bleeding will want to verify a teacher’s certification and experience before making a commitment to work with them.
GIVE THE GIFT OF FAM TO A FRIEND
Looking for a special and memorable gift for someone you truly love? Whether she’s a teenage girl or a grown woman, in a relationship or single, with or without children, the workshop will give her a real-life tool that will help her get to know her body, connect with her femininity, and know when she is fertile. You can choose between a group workshop with other women, or an individual session, with or without a partner.