Common Risks Associated with Home Insemination
Artificial insemination is used by both gay and heterosexual couples trying to get pregnant. It refers to the process of inserting sperm into the vagina near the cervix using a needleless syringe. This method is known as intracervical insemination (ICI). It is the preferred choice for home insemination since it is a lot easier and less dangerous to execute at home.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), on the other hand, is done by putting the sperm directly into the uterus with a tube that goes through the cervix. This type of insemination gives the sperm a boost as it bypasses the cervix. A medical professional usually does this procedure, but some experienced midwives can also help you do IUI safely at home.
Remember to keep track of when you’re ovulating using an ovulation predictor kit to know your most fertile days. Ovulation usually happens 14 days before your menstruation. Knowing your most fertile days will boost your chances of getting pregnant through artificial insemination.
There are, of course, a few risks associated with home insemination. This article, will go over those risks so you know what to expect and how to avoid any unnecessary mishaps during the procedure.
Home insemination is done at home as opposed to doing it at a clinic under medical supervision. Home insemination can be done successfully with little to no supervision using ICI or IUI. In both cases, conception happens without intercourse, and these procedures work well for heterosexual as well as lesbian couples.
Some of the most pertinent reasons why people prefer at-home insemination as compared to going to a fertility clinic are:
- For people who identify as non-binary, home insemination protects them against any kind of judgment or stigma from doctors at fertility clinics for their choice to get pregnant.
- Another reason why couples prefer home insemination is because of the cost. Visiting a fertility clinic can be expensive, and some insurance companies do not cover insemination costs, leaving individuals to bear these costs on their own.
- A 2017 study revealed that home insemination is an effective way to get pregnant. According to this study, three different groups of couples (ages 20 to 33, 33 to 36, and 36 and up) were able to get pregnant through artificial vaginal insemination. The success rates were 69%, 43%, and 25% respectively.
Risks Associated with Home Insemination
Like any other medical procedure, there are a few risks involved with at-home insemination:
- Non-sterile equipment (including the soft cup and tube) can increase your chances of catching a severe infection and even cause injury to the vaginal cavity.
- In the case of IUI, placing unwashed sperm in the uterine cavity can lead to a severe reaction that can surface in the form of uterine contractions.
- Ordering sperm from an unreliable sperm bank can expose you to STIs and genetic disorders as the sperm donor may not have revealed their medical history and gotten away with donating their sperm without getting any medical tests at the dodgy sperm bank.
- Your chances of success with home insemination are minimal if you are not keeping track of when you’re ovulating, especially if your cycles are irregular.
- The sperm donor could have donated their sperm multiple times at an unregulated sperm bank. This means that your child will have many half-siblings.
Here are some more dos and don’ts for you to consider before your home insemination procedure:
- It’s important to ensure that all equipment is clean and sanitized before the procedure to avoid infection. One way of doing that is by ordering a few extra at-home insemination kits instead of only one, as the process may require a few tries.
- If you’re planning to have an IUI, contact an experienced midwife who has carried out the procedure recently. Remember, IUI is done by inserting a long tube through the cervix while maintaining the sterility of the catheter, so it’s important to have a trained midwife conduct the procedure.
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is when the ovaries swell as a result of IUI and fertility medication. This is usually mild, but in some cases, it can lead to serious complications.
- In some cases of OHSS, individuals can experience mild abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea. Remember to drink lots of water. Paracetamol will help reduce the pain.
- Severe cases of OHSS can lead to shortness of breath, chest pain, and dehydration. If the symptoms persist, seek medical assistance immediately.
How Does Insemination At Home Work?
Home insemination can be done using the ICI or IUI method.
Steps for using fresh sperm (ICI method):
- For fresh sperm, you’ll need the sperm donor to ejaculate into a clean cup. You can either use one from your kitchen or buy a soft cup. Make sure that the cup is clean and sanitized in advance to avoid getting an infection.
- Take a needleless syringe (the kind you use to give your pets their medication) and use the syringe to take in the sperm from the cup and insert it slowly into the vagina. Try to cover the cervix (which acts as a filter) so that the sperm can travel to the uterus and the fallopian tube, where an egg gets fertilized.
- Lie down on the back for the next 20 minutes so that the sperm has nowhere else to go. We suggest playing relaxing music in the background to help you feel calm and centered.
- Finally, you have to wait for the next two weeks to know if the procedure was successful.
Steps for using frozen sperm (ICI method):
Frozen sperm is sold by sperm banks. It undergoes a process known as “sperm washing” to get rid of the semen. Remember to have the sperm bank ship the sperm sample to you a few days before you start ovulating so that the timing matches perfectly.
- The first step is to thaw the frozen vial in a soft cup for about 10 minutes. This vial is stable for up to two weeks, and it is washed by the sperm bank.
- Once the vial has properly thawed, take a needleless syringe and use the syringe to take in the sperm from the cup and insert it slowly into the vagina. Try to cover the cervix (which acts as a filter) so that the sperm can travel to the uterus and the fallopian tube, where an egg gets fertilized.
- Lie down on your back for the next 20 minutes so that the sperm has nowhere else to go. Play some relaxing music in the background to help you feel calm and centered.
- You’ll know if your procedure was successful after two weeks.
Steps for using frozen sperm (IUI method):
- IUI involves placing the sperm directly into the uterus through the cervix. This procedure is done by a doctor or an experienced midwife.
- Make sure that you only use washed sperm in case of IUI to avoid getting a severe reaction.
An experienced midwife can help you get the IUI procedure done at home too. If you have any doubts or questions about the procedure, feel free to contact a medical practitioner.
Benefits Of Choosing Home Insemination
Here are some benefits of considering at-home insemination:
- By learning how to inseminate at home using fresh sperm, you can save a lot of money. The process is fairly simple and does not require a lot of assistance.
- It’s perfectly natural to feel nervous and anxious about the process. But being home with your partner can be reassuring and a lot less stressful when compared to visiting a clinic (which is an unfamiliar place). The entire process at a clinic can seem unnatural – from getting dressed in a hospital gown to being surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Conducting the insemination process at home can help your body naturally relax and feel more prepared.
- You have the flexibility to conduct the procedure according to your own schedule compared to scheduling a doctor’s appointment that may clash with your regular work hours.
- Unlike clinics that have tight schedules, at home, you can choose to move at a pace that’s comfortable for you, making the entire process less stressful for you and your partner.
Even though there isn’t enough data about the number of people opting for home insemination, it is clear that this method is cost-effective, flexible, and more comfortable when compared to visiting a clinic or a hospital for the same procedure.
In particular, it’s been a much safer option or perhaps the only option for couples during the pandemic when fertility clinics were closed for an indefinite period. But of course, there are a few risks associated with home insemination, as discussed above.
We hope this article will help you make an informed decision about performing an at-home insemination procedure safely and effectively.
If you do have any other questions about home insemination, please do speak to a medical professional. By asking for advice from a doctor, you’re in no way committing to an in-clinic procedure. All you’re doing is getting all the necessary information to do the procedure at home safely.