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How To Do An At-Home Insemination, According To Science

by Cat Bowen

Our bodies, while complex and amazing, are really built to reproduce, and technically, the sperm and egg actually don't need a lot of convincing to get to work. But, as many couples know, there are plenty of obstacles that can stand in your way of making it happen. Thanks to science, there are several ways to get pregnant now, including insemination, but what if the idea of hanging out in stirrups in a cold office sounds like a bad time? If you're looking to become a parent unconventionally, you're probably wondering how to do an at-home insemination. Does it really just include a turkey baster and some good luck like the jokes say?

There are so many reasons someone may choose to be inseminated, but in the end, it's down to the simplest of desires: to become a parent. Generally, becoming a parent means little more than some well-timed sex and possibly a bottle or two of wine. However, that's not so much the case, anymore. In the era of in-vitro fertilization (shoutout to my reproductive endocrinologist — thanks, Dr. Grifo) and celebrity surrogacy, at-home insemination seems a much more comfortable route to parenthood if you can swing it. After all, you're more comfortable in your own environment, you have control over when it happens, and perhaps most importantly, it costs far, far less than traditional in-office inseminations.

There are a few things to consider before you get started on your journey to parenthood though, and the first among them is determining if you're healthy enough to carry a pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes, you should get a full workup before deciding to become pregnant. It should include blood work, a physical examination, and pap smear. They'll also give you any vaccinations you may need boosters for, check your folic acid levels, and discuss your lifestyle to make sure it's compatible with pregnancy. Do you smoke? How much do you weigh? Do you exercise regularly? All of that will be evaluated in detail. They will also make sure you're taking a prenatal vitamin even before you conceive.

Next up: find a donor. If you don't have a partner, a friend, or someone else in mind, there are resources. You could go to your local sperm bank and do a little DNA shopping, but that can be very costly — around $700 per cycle, according to the Sperm Bank of California.

There are alternatives to traditional sperm banks or asking a friend, though. Pride Angel is a service that spans several countries, including the U.S., and works with sperm donors who are willing to donate their DNA for free. The service itself is not free, but it is more affordable than several increments of nearly a thousand dollars. Also, they do the legal legwork for you, which is my next point.

If you are using a known donor, get everything signed and sealed. There are forms available for purchase online, but make sure to file them and get them notarized, noted Also, consider keeping extra copies in a safe-deposit box away from your home for safe keeping. For your known donor, get a copy of an updated physical (if he hasn't had one, you should pay for one for him) and his latest blood work that contains an STD report. Hopefully you'll already know his family medical history to determine if it's worth the risk.

Now you'll have to choose your method. For some moms, it's as simple as placing the sperm in a menstrual cup and inserting it into your vagina against your cervix. (I can't even get one to sit right when I'm on my period, so best of luck on that one. I really need to take a Diva Cup course.) For other potential moms, they buy a kit that comes with all they need — or they buy an insemination toy. Insemination toys are a way to get the partner involved in a more romantic and playful way.

After that, it's all down to the biology and mechanics, according to Dr. Malpani's fertility clinic website. When you're at peak fertility, measured by an over-the-counter fertility monitor, you're ready to get started. The first thing you'll need is to make sure you have a fresh semen sample. According to Malpani's website, the sample should've been ejaculated within the last 30 minutes or be a freshly thawed sample from a bank. If it's from a known donor, have him ejaculate in a non-reactive, wide mouthed container with a lid.

You'll also need to make sure you're well lubricated. If you're using an insemination kit that uses a speculum, invest in a fertility-friendly lubricant to ease the process. If you're using an inseminator toy or traditional needless syringe, you or your partner should arouse you until you're well-lubricated. (Malpani noted that a vibrator has no ill effects on the process.) You should try to find your happy place during this time, too. If you're already blissed out because you or your partner just took you to climax, great. Otherwise, there are helpful meditations available to get your brain in a relaxed place, noted CNY Fertility.

This is one DIY that has no room for creating your own rules — you'll have to follow the directions exactly. Even though, according to the Sperm Bank of California, it's pretty simple, following the directions will help you focus and help prevent issues. The Sperm Bank of California suggested lying back with your legs wide and hips elevated to make the process as simple as it can be. Make sure to get the sample as near your cervix as possible. Just be sure to relax. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is conception. Kick back, watch some Netflix, and try not to think about it.

After you're done, you can take a home pregnancy test as soon as the first day of your missed period. Remember, only about 20 percent of women get pregnant on the first try, so don't worry if it doesn't happen immediately. However, if it continues happening, it might be time to see a specialist. Good luck.

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