There is quite a bit of information out there on how to inseminate at home using fresh donor sperm, and you may find many different opinions and varieties of tips on how to best approach it. Here are a few resources that we have found along the way that were particularly helpful.
Remember, everyone is different! What works for one person may be totally different for another. Some women and couples need to make insemination a very intimate and spiritual process, and some prefer to focus on getting it done. Most people end up falling somewhere in the middle.
For a great break-down of how to do this with sperm from a sperm bank (there are extra steps on how to warm up the frozen swimmers), read here: oneofhismoms.wordpress.com
You will need:
- Excellent knowledge of your menstrual and fertility cycle
- A smallish glass jar (with a lid) and an infant medicine syringe (with a plunger, not a bulb)
- -OR- an Instead Cup (we recommend this!)
- Sperm (preferably delivered fresh by the donor immediately after ejaculation)
- Lots of pillows
- Whatever romantic accessories you desire, like music, candles, etc.
- BABY WIPES
- A towel
- Medical gloves if you have a strong gag reflex or a germ/semen phobia
If you are doing this somewhere other than home, we recommend packing a comfortable blanket or sleeping bag in the car and some pillows so you can lay down. if you have an SUV, folding down the back works wonderfully. Make sure to bring something to cover yourself with so you have privacy.
Before you inseminate
Track, track and track some more!
Before you arrange for insemination, get to know your fertility cycle! This will mean tracking for several months, we recommend at least three months. Read a good book on the subject, such as Taking Charge of Your Fertility or The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy and Birth. Invest in ovulation predictor strips (OPK) and use them for at least three months. Learn how to time your fertile window and educate yourself on when the appropriate time is to inseminate. This is a good time to get a work-up done by an endocrinologist or Ob/Gyn to get a baseline on your reproductive and fertility hormone levels.
Find a donor
While you are tracking and learning about your fertility cycle, start the process of searching for, interviewing and screening donors (see our article How to Screen Potential Donors). Decide what you want, be specific, and stick to it. Find or create a good contract and have it reviewed by an attorney. (Realize they will probably advise you not to use a known donor; they can't help it). Once you have found a donor, get all his STD tests and paperwork signed up front before you arrange for sperm donation.
A week before your predicted ovulation
Notify your donor of your expected fertility window and ensure this time works for him. Discuss the location and any travel accommodations that need to be made.
If using an Instead Cup, practice inserting it a few times so you are comfortable with the process.
From the last day of your period, test twice a day with ovulation (OPK) strips. Inseminate as close to the first positive as possible. Most women ovulate within 12-36 hours of the first positive OPK. Fresh sperm lives several days, so if possible inseminate twice with a minimum of 8-10 hours in between. For best sperm count, wait 48 hours and inseminate again. This helps ensure you have sperm in you when the follicle releases the egg.
Testing with the OPK stick is accurate for many women, but is not the full picture of your fertility. It may not be accurate enough for some women, especially women in their 30's and beyond, and relying on it alone may result in poor success with artificial insemination. It's a good idea to read up on how to track fertility, and find a tracking system that works for you.
We highly recommend fertilityfriend.com - they have a great fertility tracking tool for the web and smartphones, and lessons to help you learn what it all means.
As soon as your fertility signs lign up, contact your donor. It's go-time!
Set up the area you want the sperm donor to use. If using an Instead Cup, opened it, make sure it is right side out and place it on a clean paper towel. If you are using a jar instead, set out a clean jar with the lid (wide mouth canning jars work well). If he doesn't have a place to wash his hands, place a towel or something there for him as well. Ask if he needs internet connection, this may be something he prefers as an assist.
Set up the area you are going to use for insemination. Make sure you have all of your "equipment" in good order and everything is clean. If traveling, pack it all up in bag or something that can be carried discreetly. Set up a tray or nightstand with your towel, syringe (if youa re usingone), and any other equipment you need.
If you feel you need to, meditate or do some relaxation breathing, and prepare for the experience. If you have a partner, this is a good time to relax together and prepare. This stage may include a lot of nervous giggles.
When your donor arrives, make him as comfortable as possible. Usually the agreement is that he will leave immediately after he delivers the sperm, so make sure you all understand what's happening before you start. Show him where you want him to perform the donation and what receptacle to use.
We recommend using an Instead Cup because the donor can deposit his donation directly into the cup, eliminating the need to transfer it via syringe, which can lose a good deal of quantity in the process.
If you are interested in trying at-home ICI (intracervical insemination), read this post in our forum.
If you used a jar, wait 10 minutes for the semen to liquify. Keep the sperm in a warm and dark place. Sperm thrives best at body temperature, so under the covers against your skin is a good place for the jar.
If you want, this is a good time to try to have an orgasm, as this helps the cervix dip into the seminal fluid and increases your body's happy hormones. It can also be a wonderful bonding experience for your partner. (Warning: cuddling sperm while trying to have sex may also cause fits of nervous giggles.)
Once the semen has liquified, draw it up into the syringe. (Don't draw it in or push it out too quickly, you don't want to damage the sperm any more than necessary.)
Lay down with your hips raised up on a pillow and relax your body. Listening to music can help if you are nervous. If you can, get yourself a little worked up (sexually stimulated).
Instead Cup: fold the Instead Cup in half with the semen at the bottom, pinching the top together. Insert it slowly into your vagina, keeping the top pinched close. Once half way in or more, push it the rest of the way in by the plastic rim.
Syringe: Insert the syringe as far as it will go (if you feel it hit your cervix, back out a little). Depress the syringe slowly ("squirting" the semen on the cervix will only damage the sperm, it will not increase the rate of sperm entering the cervix). It may be a very good idea to leave the syringe in for 10-15 minutes as a "plug" to keep the semen up close to the cervix. Once removed, place it on the paper towel.
Lay back with your hips still raised on a pillow or two for at least 15 minutes. This is a great time to snuggle and imagine the formation of your child. Some books recommend you rotate your body every 10 minutes to swirl the semen around the cervix, but it's up to you if you feel this is necessary (if you are using an Instead Cup, this is not going to change anything really).
If you are not at home (for example. inseminating in your car): this is one reason we highly recommend the Instead Cup! It makes the process a lot easier as it holds the semen up close to the cervix without requiring you to stay laying down, which can be very inconvenient if inseminating on the fly.
Clean every thing off and pack it up for the net time, if you need to inseminate again.
If using an Instead Cup, make sure to remove it in about 12 hours. If you are inseminating in the evening, the easiest thing to do is leave it in over night and remove it in the morning.
We hope that these tips help you, and of course encourage you to read and research as much as you can find about inseminating at home! The books recommended above are excellent and have much more thorough advice on how to go about this!
Other great resources for home insemination tips and advise:
- divingintothemess.com - one couple's take on how to inseminate at home using a known donor
- oneofhismoms - a great article written by a woman with an equally great blog. Great information on how to inseminate at home, what you need, how to do it, etc.
- fertilityplus.org - a good guide on how to inseminate with a variety of methods