Choosing home insemination for your path to parenthood can give you the luxury of having more privacy, more flexibility, and more intimacy, unlike some other fertility procedures. Home insemination can provide an enjoyable experience that works for you when you are ready to begin your trying to conceive (TTC) journey.
If you have reason to believe that you may have fertility issues or if you are older, contact a fertility specialist to help you decide if home insemination is the best approach for you. After last week’s radio show/podcast on the topic of Home Insemination, our friends at Cryos International created this step-by-step explanation of the process. We hope that these two resources will help you understand if home insemination should be part of your path to creating your family.
Step 1: Tracking your ovulation
Ovulation is the most important thing you need to know about your body before trying home insemination. There are many ways to track your ovulation. It is recommended that you use more than one method for a more accurate picture of your monthly ovulation. You can use ovulation testing kits, monitors, testing strips, and calendars to help you.
Start with the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) or by calculating 12 – 16 days from the next expected period. When you know your ovulation cycle, you are one step closer to beginning home insemination. Next, you must determine your most fertile time.
Step 2: Finding the right time to inseminate
The most fertile time of your cycle is on average between day 11 and day 21, from the first day of your LMP. Every woman’s body is different, so ovulation may occur on a different day each month and at different times during your cycle. Make sure to track your ovulation carefully.
When using an Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK), you are looking to get a positive result for your LH surge. This is typically 36 hours prior to ovulation, but it can also be between 24 – 48 hours. The days between your LH surge and ovulation are your most fertile time for home insemination with frozen sperm.
Your egg drops during ovulation and lives for only 24 hours. Chances of conception drop down to 0% the day after ovulation, so be sure to understand the right timing for your body.
Step 3: Choosing Your Sperm Donor
Choosing a sperm donor can be a fun and exciting time as you search for the perfect match for you to conceive your future child. Most sperm banks offer diverse donors from all walks of life that make it easy for you to find the right fit.
For example, Cryos gives you the option to choose a donor based on their genetic background, blood type, and similarities that are important to you. Some sperm banks, including Cryos, provides pictures of many donors, making it easier for you to find a donor that resembles what you want.
Most sperm banks offer both Non-ID Release or ID Release donors to choose from. A Non-ID Release does not agree to be contacted and an ID Release donor can be contacted by your child when they turn 18 years old. Confirm with your sperm bank, but donors from a sperm bank have usually signed away paternity rights, so you never have to worry about legal parental issues.
Step 4: Deciding on Motility
Once you have chosen your sperm donor, the next step is to decide on the MOT level. MOT stands for motility and is the amount of moving sperm in each straw which can range from MOT 10 to MOT 30+.
Here’s a tip: buying 2 straws of MOT10 ICI or IUI-ready sperm for home insemination allows you the ability to space apart your insemination and inseminate during your fertile window. It is recommended to inseminate 12 hours apart for the best chance of getting pregnant.
Step 5: Ordering your sperm
Once you have chosen your donor and the MOT level that will best suit your home insemination needs, you are ready to place your order.
First, you need to align the shipping date to your ovulation. By understanding your most fertile time, you can line up the shipping date to match your ovulation day and store the sperm in the provided nitrogen tank until you use it and ship the empty tank back.
Ask your sperm bank what shipping options for home insemination they offer. Some, such as Cryos, offer two shipping options available to ensure that you have a few days of flexibility when inseminating at home.
Shipping Tank Options:
- A regular nitrogen tank that lasts 7 days from the shipping date.
- A large nitrogen tank that lasts 12 days from the shipping date.
Here’s a tip: Your most fertile days will be the two days leading up to your ovulation and your ovulation day. The chances of pregnancy go down to 0% after your ovulation day and rise again during your next ovulation cycle. So make sure that your Home Insemination kit arrives before ovulation day!
Step 6: Receiving your donor sperm
After you’ve purchased your selected donor, you will receive a tracking number. Use that number to track your shipment and make sure an individual who is over 18 is at the destination location to receive the shipment. Someone must be at the address to sign for it.
Check the content of the shipment and make sure it is undamaged. Most sperm banks that offer the shipment for home insemination will include everything you need to complete home insemination. For example, when ordering donor sperm from Cryos, our kit includes:
- The shipping container that keeps the sperm frozen
- The sperm straw(s)
- A needleless syringe
- An adapter that fits into our straws specifically
- An individually wrapped alcohol wipe
- A copy of your packing list and instructions
Step 7: Preparing Your Straws
Follow the directions from your sperm bank on how to prepare the sperm for home insemination. If the sperm comes in straws, such as sperm from Cryos, the following procedure is usually recommended.
Once you have received your nitrogen tank, remove your sperm straws and thaw them at room temperature for approximately 15-20 minutes. Do not thaw the straws in warm water.
How to prepare your straws.
- Fit the thick end of the adapter onto the syringe.
- Clean the straw using the alcohol pad
- Using scissors, cut the sealed end of the straw (a maximum distance of 0.5 cm/0.2″) opposite of the side with the ID-number/name
- Place the cut end of the straw into the thin end of the adapter
- Keep the syringe upright and slowly draw the content of the straw into the syringe. This video will also explain how to handle the sperm straw(s):
Step 8: Ready to Inseminate!
Once the syringe is ready for use, start by laying down comfortably. Use a pillow to raise your hips. Take the syringe carefully and insert it as far into the vaginal canal as possible. Inject the sperm into your vagina to complete the home insemination. Then lay still in place for approximately 30 minutes.
Finally! The Two Week Wait
The two-week wait is the time between your ovulation and when menstruation begins. This can be an emotionally difficult time for women who are trying to conceive. During this period, many women struggle with stress and anxiety.
Testing before the right time can give you a false negative. The best option is to wait until your period is at least one day late.
Practice Self Care
To help make the time go by faster and decrease anxiety, stay healthy, try to keep busy, and practice much-needed self-care.
- Go for walks, try some yoga poses, or do some stretching.
- Check out a book you’ve been wanting to read.
- Take up a new hobby or investigate something that interests you.
Create a Good Support System
Being able to talk about your feelings and emotions can make any stressor feel easier to process. Support groups are a great option because you can talk to people that have had similar experiences and understand what you are going through. Consider joining the Cryos Facebook Group called Family Dreams – Cryos USA. You will gain many new friends to talk with along the way. Creating a Family’s Facebook group is also full of folks who are happy to share their experiences.
Cryos is happy to help and can be a great resource for you to have the family of your dreams. Please feel free to reach out to our website or social media any time.
Thank you, Cryos International for this guest post that offers such both education and support for families who are curious about home insemination.