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 use 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 use the Marquette Method of NFP.
How much the Marquette Method costs depends on a number of factors, including:
- How you choose to learn the method
- Your stage of fertility (regular cycles or breastfeeding)
- Your typical cycle length (short, long, or average-length menstrual cycles)
- Where you buy your Marquette Method supplies
- Whether you buy a new or used Clearblue fertility monitor
- What country you live in
I’m going to break down it down for you, dollar-by-dollar. I’ll discuss both the start-up costs and the ongoing, monthly costs of Marquette. I’ll also provide direct links to the best places to buy Marquette Method supplies in the USA, Canada, and UK, and then identify some ways to save money.
At the end of the post, you’ll find comprehensive price tables which show how much it will cost you to use Marquette, depending on where you live. I’ve priced it out on the high end and on the low end, so that you can decide for yourself whether you can afford to use this method.
USA, Canada and UK, start-up costs and ongoing (monthly) costs
When you’re starting out, you’ll need to price out three categories of costs:
- Learning the Marquette Method ($150 to $230)
- Buying a Clearblue fertility monitor (about $50 used, $120 new)
- Buying Clearblue fertility monitor test sticks (about $6 to $45 per month, depending on cycle length)
How expensive are Marquette Method instructors?
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.
Learn through the Marquette Institute for Natural Family Planning
Couples who choose to learn through the Institute have a few different options. The Institute offers consultations for $50 USD and they charge $150 USD to learn the method and work with an instructor for six months.
You can learn about the Institute’s learning options on their website, here.
Learn through a private Marquette Method instructor
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. 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, too. Some teach only one-on-one, others offer group classes. Some instructors have even put together pre-recorded videos of their teaching session that you can watch.
The Institute provides instructors with a user manual and a set of presentations they can use with their clients, but also gives the instructors creative freedom in developing teaching materials specific 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 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. Our advice to shop around and find an instructor who you feel comfortable with and suits your needs, your budget, and your learning style.
How much do private Marquette Method instructors cost? Vitae Fertility teaches the method in personalized, one-on-one Marquette Method online classes, and we charge $230 USD, which includes our learning package and one year of unlimited follow-ups. Other 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 the full Marquette teacher’s directory, including a map you can use to find out if there is an instructor near you.
Ways to save on Marquette Method instruction
Start with a $50 consultation via the Institute
The Institute for Natural Family Planning at Marquette University offers consultations for just $50 (or you can sign up to learn the method in full and get six months of support for $150.)
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.
How much do Clearblue Fertility Monitors cost?
What makes Marquette so unique is (compared to other methods of nfp) is that we use a fertility monitor—the Clearblue fertility monitor, specificially—to directly measure women’s reproductive hormone levels throughout their cycle.
So to get started, 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 it’s quite hard to find … and actually 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 you should buy your monitor and how much it costs 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— About $120, Amazon.com
- Canada—$211.00 CAD, Costco.ca (you don’t need to have a Costco membership to buy from Costco.ca)
- United Kingdom—About £86, Amazon.co.uk
Clearblue monitors are not sold worldwide. If you live in a country where the monitor is not sold you might be able to find a used monitor on a local buy-and-sell site, or you can buy a monitor online from another country and have it shipped to you.
Ways to save on Clearblue Fertility Monitors
Buying a Clearblue monitor is a significant barrier for some couples wanting to practice the Marquette Method of NFP—new monitors can be expensive.
Here are a few 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,” but make sure you’re getting the correct model (not one of the Clearblue “Digital Ovulation Tests,” which aren’t compatible with Marquette.)
There’s often quite a few fertility monitors available, since they’re mostly used by couples trying to conceive. 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. Your instructor can teach you how to wipe the monitor’s memory and restore it to it’s 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. In the past, Costco.ca has run a twice-yearly 20% off sale on all Clearblue products. (We advertise these sales on our social media account, so follow us on Facebook and Instagram and we’ll post if they run this sale again).
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.
How much do the test sticks cost? How many do I need?
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. In the UK, you get 20 test sticks and 4 pregnancy tests per box.
Both monitor models accept the same test sticks, and 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 $40 USD (about $1.50 per stick).
Over the last couple years, the Amazon.com price has fluctuated widely, from a low of about $34 USD/box to a high of $54 USD/box. Anything around $40 is reasonable, and even at higher prices it’s still much cheaper to buy the test sticks on Amazon than buying them in-store at a pharmacy.
- In Canada, a box of 30 test sticks sells at Costco.ca for $44.99 CAD (about $1.50 CAD per stick).
- In the UK, a box of 20 test sticks (and 4 pregnancy test sticks) sells on Amazon.co.uk for £30 (or about £1.50 per fertility test stick)
How many tests sticks will I need per month?
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.
Test sticks per cycle for women in regular cycles
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:
Test sticks per month for breastfeeding women in “cycle zero” (before period returns)
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 31 test sticks per month.
Test sticks per month for women with very long cycles (including women with PCOS)
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.
Ways to save on test sticks
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.
Canadians—Catch the Costco.ca sale
In the past, test sticks have gone on sale at Costco.ca twice per 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.
How Much does it cost to use Marquette? (Start-up and monthly/ongoing)
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 it’s likely to cost if you choose the six-month training 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).