Serena Canada is a registered charity that specializes in the teaching of the Symptothermal Method of natural family planning (NFP) through promotion, awareness, education and advocacy for this method. The method is supported by national medical advisors. When followed, the method has similar effectiveness to birth control pills (When using the Symptothermal Method to avoid pregnancy 99% of women do not experience an unexpected pregnancy). The science and reliability of the Symptothermal Method comes from the consistency of using three data points to chart the female monthly cycle.
Primary motivations for users of this method include:
Women’s Health: concerns about the ways that hormone interventions can create health issues for women,
Healthy Planet: environmental waste (products and hormones in the water system),
Mutual Respect: shared responsibility and mutual respect in a couple for and fertility management, and
Culture and Spirituality: moral, cultural or spiritual/religious reasons.
Provincial Serena organizations provide services in most provinces across Canada, supported by the Serena Canada national office in Ottawa, Ontario. Where there is no Provincial Serena, teaching is conducted online and information can be available through any Serena organization.
Serena (SErvice for the REgulation of NAtality) was founded in 1955 by Gilles and Rita Breault from Lachine Quebec (Montreal area). They soon realized that couples in their community were also in need of this same knowledge to plan their family in a way that respected their values. By 1964 approximately 30 teams were delivering much-needed family planning education in regions in Quebec. Financial support by Health Canada for natural family planning contributed to Serena’s growth in the decades that followed.
Throughout the 70’s Serena organizations were incorporated in Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Newfoundland, Manitoba and the Yukon. The national Serena Canada corporation was established in 1974 as a registered Canadian charity. Today, Serena organizations from British Columbia to Quebec are volunteer-led, relying on a network of volunteers and supporters to make teachings available and affordable.
While Serena teaching originated within the Catholic natural family planning movement and many teaching couples volunteer because of alignment with their own religious values, Serena is committed to making the Symptothermal Method and NFP education affordable and accessible regardless of religious affiliation. The Serena teaching core content is science-based, and suitable for a variety of contexts with aligned spiritual, environmental or natural health values and needs.
Mission and Values
Mission: Serena empowers women and men to manage their fertility naturally by providing information and teaching on the Symptothermal Method of natural family planning.
Respect for life: Respect for human life from conception is central to our philosophy. Serena supports this value by promoting a family planning method that respects human fertility, health and sexuality, which Serena believes is central to human dignity. Self-awareness of the biological function and its repercussions on the psychological level generates respect for the total person. The Symptothermal Method is also our responsibility to future generations and for stewardship of the earth by not contributing to hormonal or waste product pollution.
Fertility is a positive asset: Fertility is a normal state, positive fact of life, and a great human resource, not a medical condition. It is the inability to conceive (infertility) which is a pathology and warrants appropriate treatment, in the hope of a cure.
Healthy marriages: A commitment of mutual respect is at the heart of a healthy functioning couple and family. Fertility is a shared resource and responsibility for the couple. A strong couple relationship promotes wellbeing for both, can protect against family breakdown, and provides the most secure and healthy atmosphere in which children are able to grow and mature. Serena contributes to a healthy home environment by promoting a method that fosters commitment, respect and communication for the couple.
Right to informed choice: We believe that every human being has the right and responsibility to understand his or her sexuality and fertility, and to make free and informed choices as adult men and women. Serena promotes this value by ensuring that NFP information is available to the public, and by offering low cost teaching. Through the use of the Symptothermal Method people become confident, self-reliant and autonomous in managing their fertility.
Dignity and Integrity: We are committed to upholding principles of client confidentiality, privacy, and integrity. Serena also ensures that teaching content is science based, and taught by competent teachers.
Team-work: Serena is committed to co-operative and healthy working relationships. Serena supports this value through a commitment to balanced leadership by women and men, as well as balanced male and female volunteer engagement at the grassroots. The Symptothermal Method of natural family planning is also dependent on teamwork within a couple.
Quality Work: Serena is committed to ensuring the competence of teachers, and the quality of teaching materials. Serena Canada ensures that content is strongly connected to available research.
Our philosophy is that every couple can understand their fertility, and that this awareness can provide the information on which they base their family planning decisions and behaviour. Respect for individuals and for human life from conception is central to our philosophy. We believe that family planning should be available to all people. We teach a method that is inexpensive, environmentally friendly and helps you to protect your health.
Serena’s success is largely due to the teamwork of our dynamic and passionate members, which include teacher couples, coordinators, collaborators, medical advisors and staff. We recognize the tireless efforts of hundreds of volunteer teacher-couples, as well as many collaborators and coordinators who generously give of their time to share and teach this knowledge.
Serena is honoured by the long commitment of one of our medical advisors, Dr. Suzanne Parenteau-Carreau, who is a world-respected fertility researcher and a vital part of our team. The method we have today has largely been developed and refined by Dr. Suzanne. She continues to develop and review our technical materials, in conjunction with a medical advisory committee. Serena has also been involved in consultations with other NFP organizations and professional agencies both within Canada and internationally. Serena’s expertise and experience are well recognized throughout the world.
At Serena our goal is to continue to stay at the forefront of scientific development to better understand the female cycle and how this relates to fertility. We review scientific research constantly and refine the method as appropriate. Research advances have led to the accurate, comprehensive and improved symptothermal method that we teach today. We are continuing to strive to adapt to the needs of today’s women and couples to provide teaching that is accessible to all.