This post is about sex and money.
Good, I have your attention.
If you’re trying to choose a method of NFP, you’re probably most concerned about effectiveness. Next up, you’re going to want to make sure you can afford to practice the method long-term. There’s no point in falling in love with a method if you can’t afford to keep it up, right?
This post is a comprehensive answer to a question I get asked almost daily: How much does it cost to practice the Marquette Method of NFP? There is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer to this question, so read on to find out how much it will cost for you to practice the Marquette Method of NFP.
How much the Marquette Method costs depends greatly on a number of factors, including:
- Whether you choose to learn through the Institute or through a private instructor
- What stage of fertility you are in (regular cycles or breastfeeding)
- Whether you have short, long, or average-length menstrual cycles
- Where you buy your Marquette Method supplies
- Whether you buy a new or used monitor
- Where in the world you live
I’m going to break down it down for you, dollar-by-dollar. I’ll discuss both the start-up costs and the ongoing costs of practicing the Marquette Method. I’ll also provide direct links to the best places to buy Marquette supplies in the USA, Canada, and UK, and then identify some ways to save money for costs associated with using the Marquette Method.
At the end of the post you’ll find charts that show you, depending on which country you live in (USA, Canada, or UK), how much it will cost you to practice the Marquette Method of NFP. I’ve priced it out in two categories (start-up costs and ongoing costs) and both on the high and low end, so that you can decide for yourself whether you can afford to practice this method. If you live in a country I haven’t mentioned, don’t feel left out—I’m just not certain what the cost of supplies are where you live.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you use them to purchase your Marquette Method supplies a small percentage of the purchase price goes to Vitae Fertility, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our company.
When you’re starting out, you’ll need to price out three categories of costs:
- Learning the Marquette Method ($66 to $230)
- Buying a Clearblue fertility monitor (about $50 used, $104 new)
- Buying Clearblue fertility monitor test sticks (about $6 to $30 per month, depending on cycle length)
How Expensive Is Marquette Method Instruction?
There’s a couple of ways to learn the Marquette Method of NFP. You can either learn through the Marquette Institute of Natural Family Planning, or you can hire a private Marquette Method instructor trained by the Institute.
Couples who choose to learn the Marquette Method through the Institute have a few different options. The Institute offers 30-minute consultations (for $22.09 USD), and also six-month and one-year subscriptions to the Marquette Method forum, an online bulletin board.
The forum is a very popular way to learn the method. As of 2017, it had over 10,000 registered members. On the forum, members have access to all the Marquette Method protocols (aka the Marquette Method instructions). Members can post any questions that arise in their practice of Marquette and have them answered on the forum by the staff at the Institute. Signing up for Marquette’s online forum is a relatively inexpensive way to learn Marquette: It’s $34.99 USD for a six-month membership, and $59.99 USD for a twelve-month membership.
Note: As of November 1, 2019, the Marquette Forum (hosted at nfp.marquette.edu), is unavailable. It’s being currently being revamped. Stay tuned! In the meantime, working with a private Marquette instructor is the only way to get up-and-running with the method quickly.
Though less well-known than the forum, the Institute also has an option to work directly with an instructor based out of the Institute for $100 USD for six months.
Couples who prefer a more personalized approach to instruction, with personalized follow-ups, often choose to hire a private instructor. A Marquette Method instructor is a Registered Nurse or doctor who has been trained by the Institute to work directly with clients. Marquette’s online forum is a fairly self-directed form of learning. Working with a private instructor means someone is going to teach the method to you, directly, in a classroom or one-on-one setting.
Each instructor teaches in their own way—some teach only local clients, others teach distance clients online or over the phone. Some teach only one-on-one, others offer group classes. Some instructors have put together pre-recorded videos of the teaching session that you can watch. The Institute provides instructors with the teaching materials that are available through the paid forum, but gives the instructors creative freedom in developing teaching materials specific to their unique approach to teaching the method. Besides having customized teaching materials, private instructors each have their own approach to teaching the method—we all teach the Marquette Method of NFP, but we’ve each set up our teaching packages differently. There’s a lot of variety in how much we charge, what our teaching packages include, and in how we provide teaching sessions and ongoing follow-up to our clients.
Variety is good, because every couple has different needs when it comes to NFP instruction. Shop around and find an instructor that you feel comfortable with and that suits your needs, your budget, and your learning style the best!
How much do private Marquette Method instructors cost? I teach the method in personalized, one-on-one Marquette Method classes online, and I charge $230 USD, which includes my learning package and one year of follow-up. Instructors offer their services at different price points—as you might expect, group classes tend to be less expensive than one-on-one instruction. Click here to find a map of all the Marquette instructors. If there’s no one local to you, look for the orange pins, which are instructors who teach distance clients.
Sign up for the Marquette Institute for NFP Forum
If you want to practice Marquette and can’t afford to hire a private instructor, don’t let that get in your way of trying out Marquette. Marquette’s effectiveness rates are based on research conducted with participants who learned through the forum. The forum is an excellent, reliable way of learning the method.
If you do want to hire a private instructor, it’s worth checking to see if the cost of instruction is covered by your health insurance policy. Sometimes it is, and it never hurts to ask.
Marquette uses the Clearblue fertility monitor as a tool to directly measure women’s reproductive hormone levels throughout their cycle. To get started with the method, you’ll first need to buy a Clearblue fertility monitor. There are two monitor models, both are entirely compatible with the method. The older-style monitor (often called the monochrome or analog monitor) is no longer being manufactured, and actually typically costs more than the newer touchscreen monitor. (Note that the Marquette Method only works with these specific devices, not other devices that the Clearblue company produces.)
Where should you buy your monitor? And how much does a Clearblue monitor cost? Well, that varies greatly depending on where you live. Here’s how much the touchscreen monitor costs around the world, along with a link to where you can typically find the best price.
- United States—$104 USD, Amazon.com
- Canada—$212.00 CAD, Costco.ca (you don’t need to have a Costco membership to buy from Costco.ca)
- United Kingdom—£88.46, Amazon.co.uk
Clearblue monitors are not sold worldwide. Couples who live in countries where the monitor is not sold might be able to find a used monitor on a local buy-and-sell site, or they can buy a monitor online from another country and have it shipped to them. If you’re having trouble finding a monitor (or test sticks) where you live, feel free to get in touch. I send Marquette Method starter kits worldwide, even to couples that haven’t hired me as their instructor.
Buying a Clearblue monitor is a significant barrier for some couples wanting to practice the Marquette Method of NFP – new monitors can be expensive. There are a number of ways you can save.
The easiest way to save money is to find a used monitor on your local buy-and-sell marketplace. Search “Clearblue” and/or “fertility monitor.” Clearblue monitors are mostly used by couples trying to conceive, and these couples typically don’t need them anymore once they get pregnant. As a result, there’s often quite a few very gently used monitors available to be swiped up by us NFP-ers.
If you buy a used monitor, make sure you don’t buy a dud—check that it actually turns on before you purchase. If it turns on, you’re good to go. Before you start using the monitor, you’ll want to wipe the monitor’s memory and restore the monitor to factory settings.
If you have extended health care coverage and have a prescription for the monitor, the cost of the monitor may be covered by your insurance, either in full or through a health spending account.
Buy it on sale
You can sometimes find discounted new-in-box Clearblue monitors in the clearance section at your local pharmacy. For Canadians, Costco.ca has a twice-a-year, 20% off sale for Clearblue products, including fertility monitors.
Buy the touchscreen monitor, not the monochrome one
The touchscreen monitor is typically a lot cheaper than the monochrome one, which is no longer being manufactured by Clearblue. Some women in special circumstances do prefer the monochrome monitor, but if you want to save money, the touchscreen monitor is the most economical choice.
To test your hormone levels with the monitor, you’ll need Clearblue Advanced Fertility Monitor Test Sticks. These test sticks are not reusable—you will need a new stick each time you test your urine. The tests come wrapped in a purple foil envelope and are packed in boxes of 30 sticks in the US and Canada (and 20 test sticks and 4 pregnancy tests per box in the UK). Both monitor models accept the same test sticks, they’re called “Clearblue Advanced Fertility Monitor Test Sticks.”
Shop around for the best price in your area. Buying online is usually the cheapest. The test sticks are sometimes available at your local pharmacy, but they’re significantly more expensive than online … in the United States and Canada they can be upwards of $80 a box, which is far more than they cost online.
- In the USA, a box of 30 test sticks sells on Amazon.com for about $38 USD (or about $1.25 per stick)
- In Canada, a box of 30 test sticks sells at Costco.ca for $45 CAD (or about $1.50 per stick).
- In the UK, a box of 20 test sticks (and 4 pregnancy test sticks) sells on Amazon.co.uk for £28 (or about £1.40 per fertility test stick)
Okay, so here’s what makes pricing out the Marquette Method a little tricky. How many sticks you’re going to use per month depends on which Marquette Method protocol you are following, and, for women in regular cycles, on your typical cycle length.
If you’re in cycles, you’ll usually be testing with the monitor starting on day 6 of your cycle, and you’ll continue testing daily until your monitor displays a peak reading.
Here’s how many sticks you can expect to use per cycle:
|Average test sticks needed per cycle for women in regular cycles|
|Cycle length||Average peak day||Sticks used per cycle|
|Average-length cycles (26–35 days)||Cycle day 15||10–15 sticks per cycle|
|Long cycles (longer than 36 days)||Cycle day 25||20–25 sticks per cycle|
|Short cycles (shorter than 26 days)||Cycle day 10||5–10 sticks per cycle|
As you can see, if you tend to peak earlier in the cycle, you’ll tend to use fewer sticks than if you have longer-than-average cycles, and peak later.
Women who are using the Marquette Method while they are breastfeeding follow the Marquette Method Breastfeeding Protocols. Women whose periods have not yet returned (those in cycle zero) use one test stick per day. So, for as long as your fertility stays away in the breastfeeding transition, you can expect to use about 30 test sticks per month.
Some women, particularly those with PCOS, experience very long cycles—some women with PCOS can go months without a period. With Marquette you test once per day, so even if you go months between periods, you’ll never use more than 31 sticks per month.
As with the monitor, the ongoing cost of test sticks may be covered by your insurance if you have a prescription from your doctor. Additionally, you may be able to purchase sticks through a Health Spending Account (HSA) or Flex Savings Account (FSA) if you have one.
Amazon Subscribe and Save
If you’re buying your test sticks through Amazon, consider using Amazon Subscribe and Save—you won’t need to worry about ordering a new box of sticks before they run out, and you’ll receive a 5% discount.
Catch the Costco.ca sale
Test sticks go on sale at Costco.ca twice a year. It’s a significant sale—the price of a box of thirty sticks goes down to $35 CAD (from $45 CAD). A lot of Canadian Marquette Method users stock up each time this sale comes around (you can use the chart above to estimate how many sticks you’re likely to need until the next sale comes around).
Shop for discounted, expired sticks on eBay and other buy-and-sell sites
These sites often have boxes of expired sticks available at deep discounts, sometimes the boxes are 50% off or more than the regular online price. Marquette users can trust their sticks to provide accurate results up to six months past the expiration date.
Here’s a breakdown of the start-up costs (Marquette Method instruction and Clearblue fertility monitor purchase) and ongoing costs (fertility test sticks) that you can expect to pay if you start practicing the Marquette Method of NFP in the US, Canada, or UK.
For each country, I’ve priced it out in two ways:
- A high-end price estimate, which is how much it will cost if you buy your supplies new and hire a private instructor for one-on-one instruction
- A low-end price estimate, which is how much you can save if you choose 1 Year of forum access through the Institute, buy a used monitor, and/or source recently-expired sticks on your local buy-and sell site (or, in Canada, take advantage of the Costco.ca sale).
|Start-Up Costs to Practice the Marquette Method in the USA (Prices in USD)|
|Instruction (1 year)||$60 for a one-year subscription to the Marquette online forum||$250 for one-on-one training through Vitae Fertility Education|
|Clearblue fertility monitor||Approximately $50 for a gently used touchscreen
monitor on eBay
|$104 for a new touchscreen monitor from Amazon.com|
|Test sticks||$.75 per test stick for recently expired sticks bought off eBay||$1.25 per test stick from Amazon.com|
|Ongoing Cost of Practicing the Marquette Method in the USA
Cost of Test Sticks per Cycle or Month (Prices in USD)
|Number of sticks needed||Low-end cost (eBay expired sticks)||High-end cost (Amazon.com)|
|Breastfeeding women in cycle zero||30 sticks per month||$22.50 per month||$37.50 per month|
|Women in regular cycles, average length||10-15 sticks per cycle||$7.50 to $11.25 per cycle||$12.50 to $18.75 per cycle|
|Women in regular cycles, shorter than average cycles||5-10 sticks per cycle||$3.75 to $7.50 per cycle||$6.25 to $12.50 per cycle|
|Women in regular cycles, longer than average cycles||20-25 sticks per cycle||$15.00 to $18.75 per cycle||$25 to $31.25 per cycle|
|Women with very long cycles||Up to 31 sticks per month||At most, $23.25 per month||At most, $38.75 per month|
|Start-Up Costs to Practice the Marquette Method in Canada (Prices in CAD)|
|Instruction (1 year)||$81 CAD for a one-year subscription to the Marquette online forum||$330 CAD for one-on-one training through Vitae Fertility Education|
|Clearblue fertility monitor||Approximately $60 CAD for a gently used touchscreen
monitor on Kijiji
|$212 CAD new touchscreen monitor from Costco.ca|
|Test sticks||$1.15 CAD per test stick during the Costco.ca sale||$1.50 CAD per test stick from Costco.ca|
|Ongoing Cost of Practicing the Marquette Method in Canada
Cost of Test Sticks per Cycle or Month (Prices in CAD)
|Number of sticks needed||Low-end cost (Costco.ca sale)||High-end cost (reg. price Costco.ca)|
|Breastfeeding women in cycle zero||30 sticks per month||$34.50 CAD per month||$45 CAD per month|
|Women in regular cycles, average length||10-15 sticks per cycle||$11.50 CAD to $17.25 CAD per cycle||$15 CAD to $22.50 per cycle|
|Women in regular cycles, shorter than average cycles||5-10 sticks per cycle||$5.75 CAD to $11.50 CAD per cycle||$7.50 CAD to $15 CAD per cycle|
|Women in regular cycles, longer than average cycles||20-25 sticks per cycle||$23 CAD to $28.75 CAD per cycle||$30 CAD to $37.50 per cycle|
|Women with very long cycles||Up to 31 sticks per month||At most, $35.65 CAD per month||At most, $46.50 per month|
|Start-Up Costs to Practice the Marquette Method in the UK (Prices in British Pounds)|
|Instruction (1 year)||£46 for a one-year subscription to the Marquette online forum||£189 for one-on-one training through Vitae Fertility Education|
|Clearblue fertility monitor||Approximately £44 for a gently used touchscreen
|£88 for a new touchscreen monitor from Amazon.co.uk|
|Test sticks||£0.70 per fertility test stick for recently expired sticks||£1.40 per fertility test stick from Amazon.co.uk|
|Ongoing Cost of Practicing the Marquette Method in the UK
Cost of Test Sticks per Cycle or Month (Prices in British Pounds)
|Number of sticks needed||Low-end cost (expired sticks)||High-end cost (Amazon.co.uk)|
|Breastfeeding women in cycle zero||30 sticks per month||£21 per month||£42 per month|
|Women in regular cycles, average length||10-15 sticks per cycle||£7 to £10.50 per cycle||£14 to £21 per cycle|
|Women in regular cycles, shorter than average cycles||5-10 sticks per cycle||£3.50 to £7 per cycle||£7 to £14 per cycle|
|Women in regular cycles, longer than average cycles||20-25 sticks per cycle||£14 to £17.50 per cycle||£28 to £35 per cycle|
|Women with very long cycles||Up to 31 sticks per month||At most, £21.70 per month||At most, £43.40 per month|