There are a number of good reasons that you may be choosing artificial insemination to get pregnant. Maybe you’re a single mom using sperm donor. Or you have found a reliable co-parent and the two of you are ready to get the ball rolling. Problems conceiving naturally represent another reason some women choose to use insemination. Whatever reason you have chosen to go this route for conception, an at home artificial insemination kit is a valid option. Because you’re going it alone, or with your partner on hand, at home, you probably have a lot of questions about getting and using home insemination kits. Before you get started and make that first attempt, get your questions answered.
What is Artificial Insemination?
Artificial insemination sounds technical, but it’s really very simple. It just means inserting a sperm sample into the uterus, or into the vaginal canal on or near the cervix. An intrauterine insemination (IUI) is typically only performed in a doctor’s office, but you can do an intracervical insemination (ICI) at home fairly easily. An IUI procedure is a little more involved and requires that the donor sperm is washed before it is inserted. Unwashed sperm inserted directly into the uterus can cause seriously painful cramping. ICI is easier to perform and does not require the washing process.
What Do I Look for in an at Home Artificial Insemination Kit?
An artificial insemination kit to help you perform an ICI is not difficult to find. A quick internet search will turn up several sites selling these products. Look for positive reviews to guide you, but also consider trying a few different kits. Chances are you will need to perform the ICI more than once, and they are a lot less expensive than a doctor’s visit for IUI. There are two main types of home insemination kits:
With a syringe kit you use a needless syringe to inject the sperm up toward your cervix. This is sometimes also called the turkey baster method.
2. Cervical cap
A cervical cap is like a diaphragm. You can actually use a diaphragm or a cervical cap that’s designed for menstruation or buy a kit that comes with the cap specifically made for ICI. The idea is to place sperm in the cap and then insert it and place it on the cervix where it will remain for several hours.
When Should I Perform the Insemination?
When you’re trying to get pregnant, your best odds are when you are ovulating. Plan to time your home ICI procedure during this period. You can use any type of fertility monitor to determine when you are most fertile. Monitors that test your basal temperature, your hormone levels, or your vaginal secretions will all tell you when the best time is to conceive. You can also simply follow your menstrual cycle on a calendar and pick the best day for fertility, but this is less accurate. For a 28-day cycle, ovulation usually occurs on day 14. Generally, ovulation is about two weeks after the first day of your period.
How Do I Use Home Insemination Kits?
The self-insemination kit you buy should come with detailed instructions on how to use it. First you need a fresh or a thawed sperm sample. If you are working with a partner at home, he should provide you with a fresh sample just before you perform the ICI. If you received a donation from a sperm bank it will likely be frozen. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to thaw. Your next step should be to wash your hands thoroughly and sterilize any of the supplies if they are not already.
For the turkey baster method, insert the tip of the syringe into the sperm sample and pull back the plunger to fill it. The syringe should be clean and dry. Water can kill the sperm cells. Lie down with your hips elevated. Insert the syringe and direct it up toward the cervix. Press in the syringe and then remove it. Remain lying down with your hips elevated for a half an hour.
If you are using a cervical cap, fill it with sperm sample using a needless syringe. Gently squeeze the rim of the cap together, with the bottom of the cup hanging down so that the sperm stays inside it. Insert it into the vagina and use your finger to push it in as far as it will go. Leave it in for several hours, or as directed by the instruction sheet. Never leave it in for more than 12 hours.
Conceiving is not always as straightforward as you might hope, but if you are struggling to get pregnant the natural way or you have alternative plans for starting a family, an at home artificial insemination kit can get you there. Follow the instructions, use the kit when you are most fertile, use quality sperm, and you should have success in just a few tries.