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Whether in serious conversation or simply in passing, there’s a good chance you’ve heard someone mention the “turkey baster method.”
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’re not talking about Thanksgiving dinner here!
This slang phrase is quasi-jokingly used to describe a process required by many potential parents to get pregnant: home insemination.
Whether you’re struggling with conception issues, such as secondary infertility, or you require a sperm donor as a same-sex couple, this technique is widely used to help people pregnant. The only problem is that many of us still don’t understand what, exactly, is involved.
Thankfully, our lovely community of moms has the knowledge and experience needed to help us all understand what really happens when you purchase a home insemination kit.
Hint, hint: It doesn’t actually require any kitchen utensils (although it could, I suppose!)
What is Home Insemination?
Home insemination, also known as intrauterine insemination (IUI), is a type of artificial insemination treatment that’s widely used as an alternative to natural conception methods.
This process involves placing washed sperm, sperm that’s been separated from seminal fluid, directly into the intended parent or surrogate’s uterus.
Once the sperm has been inserted, if all goes well, it will swim through the woman’s fallopian tube before fertilizing the awaiting egg.
Who Does this Fertility Treatment Work Best for?
Many different people can benefit from home insemination treatment. These include individuals who haven’t been able to conceive on their own or same-sex couples who require donor sperm.
It might be more beneficial to consider the individuals who aren’t ideal candidates for IUI treatment.
- Women with severe cases of endometriosis
- Mamas with conditions that affect their fallopian tubes, such as pelvic inflammatory disease
- Women with pelvic adhesions
- Severe male-factor infertility issues
Do You Have to Hire a Professional to Assist with an IUI?
While many facilities offer in-house IUI procedures, these treatments often take place at home.
You can certainly hire a professional, such as a midwife, to help you with the process, but most people elect to use an at-home insemination kit instead.
What Kinds of Emotions Are Involved with At-Home Insemination?
When you’re trying to figure out everything that’s involved with the process and how to make home insemination successful, there’s bound to be a wide range of emotions you experience.
I recently had the opportunity to interview a lovely mom of 2 who’s in a same-sex marriage and used home insemination to conceive.
In speaking about the emotions she felt throughout the process, she said:
“The thing that felt the most stressful was that each insemination felt like high stakes. We had a limited resource so we were worried about getting the timing just right. We had a lot of anxiety about that, but also felt really excited with each attempt because it could be “the one,” so it was a mix of emotions.”
She also discussed the awkwardness of the process itself and the stress she and her partner felt in managing everything involved with their pregnancy process.
What I took from this conversation is that no emotion is wrong when using home insemination.
From awkwardness to excitement, you are bound to feel a plethora of different things, and that’s okay. All you can do is accept these emotions as they arrive and find ways of dealing with them healthily.
Another suggestion I received from our wonderful interviewee was to use counseling when necessary.
If the challenge of home insemination and fertility treatments are beginning to weigh on you and your partner, there’s no shame in seeking out professional help from a counselor that specializes in couple’s counseling or infertility.
What’s Included in a Home Insemination Kit?
Depending on how accurate you’d like to make your at-home IUI procedure, there are various types of home insemination kits available to fit your needs.
These can include items such as:
- Ovulation Test Strips
- Pregnancy Tests
- Fertility Monitors
- Speculums (used to help you locate your cervix)
Rather than spending extra money for an all-inclusive kit, many people opt to put them together themselves by shopping on sites like Amazon for home insemination products.
During my interview with the mom I mentioned earlier, she gave me another suggestion that I found brilliant!
She and her partner used a menstrual disc to help them complete their home insemination.
Her suggestion was to put the disc in for about an hour before you’re ready to perform the insemination. This way it has time to adjust to your body’s natural temperature. She also suggested using “Pre-Seed” fertility lubricant during insertion.
Once your specimen is ready, remove the disc and fill it with your sperm sample. Then reinsert it into your cervix and leave it there for a few hours, before removing it.
Tips & Tricks for How to Make Home Insemination Successful
Home insemination doesn’t sound that difficult aside from the emotions that can come along with it.
I mean, when it comes down to it, it’s simply a matter of collecting the “goods” and putting them where they’re supposed to go…right?
This less than elegant description certainly highlights the basics of home insemination. But there’s actually more involved if you want to make your treatment a success.
If you want to know how to make home insemination successful, make sure to consider these home insemination tips before you get started.
#1: Have Everything Ready Ahead of Time
So, your partner or donor has done their part and provided a sample; now it’s your turn.
Don’t waste time fumbling around looking for things after you’re ready to get started. For one thing, you don’t want to tamper with the sample any more than necessary.
Plus, if you can’t find something you need, it’s just going to make you feel stressed, which isn’t going to make for a pleasant experience.
#2: Figure Out the Right Home Insemination Timing
In a perfect world, you and your partner could decide to try home insemination and get down to business whenever you want.
In reality, however, success depends on ovulation. And there are many ways to track ovulation!
Why waste quality sperm during the wrong time of the month?
If you’re hoping to get pregnant with home insemination, timing is everything. You’ll need to learn how to track your fertility to achieve the best possible outcome.
#3: Get Comfortable!
Here’s one of the advantages of using a home insemination kit: the process doesn’t have to be completely clinical.
Dim the lights, turn on some mood music, and find a comfortable place to do the deed. The more comfortable you are, the better chance you’ll have of being able to actually enjoy the process.
#4: Start a Steady Diet of “Fertility Friendly” Foods
Why not consider adding some fertility-boosting foods to your diet in the weeks leading up to your IUI? Options like avocados, pineapple, and antioxidant-rich berries, have all been shown to positively impact a woman’s fertility.
At-Home Insemination with Fresh Donor Sperm: Where Should You Get Your “Product?”
Whether your partner is struggling with male-factor fertility issues or you’re a same-sex couple who’s ready to start a family, finding a sperm donor could be a part of your home insemination process.
The question is, however, where are you supposed to find sperm?Well, to begin with, the correct answer is NOT the black market.
You should always go through a respected donor sperm facility, such as California Cryobank. A reputable sperm bank thoroughly screens its donors before accepting them into the donation program.
You can use fresh or frozen samples for your procedure, although some doctors believe that home insemination with fresh donor sperm has a higher chance of success.
Making the Most of the “Turkey Baster Method”: Is this the Right Option for You?
Home insemination might not be the most comfortable topic to discuss, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a conversation. B
y using the tips, tricks, and suggestions laid out in this article, you could be well on your way to IUI-success.
Don’t let the process overwhelm you, though!
If you still have questions about what’s involved, be sure to speak with your fertility doctor or gynecologist to determine whether this option is right for you.
Have you used a home insemination kit? Tell us about your experience!
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.