Here are a few things we have learned from our home insemination attempts thus far….
1) More often than not this will be a thoroughly unromantic process. This is ok.
This is not always the case by any means. We have managed to inject (no pun intended) some romance into insemination and the more adept I get with a syringe the better this will get. However, as with many couples trying to conceive (gay or straight), sometimes the process is going to be quick and functional. This is ok. The end result is the main thing and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if it occurs via a business-like insemination while the dinner is cooking or if it is a wonderful romantic evening with candles and music. All that matters is that it creates a baby.
2) Speculums – more trouble than they are worth
I have come to dislike speculums. To be fair, the years of having smear tests haven’t exactly enamoured me towards them but now I truly dislike them. They are fiddly. They make the whole thing a lot more detached and clinical and also, in my experience, contribute to way more spillage that if we don’t use them. I don’t know if it’s a case of angles and getting the syringe in the right place but every time we use a speculum we end up making more of a mess than if we don’t. I appreciate that there is always going to be some leakage (gravity etc) but I’d like to give the wee swimmers as much chance as possible to do their job and it’s disheartening to feel like a lot of the semen has been lost whilst trapped in the speculum. Syringe and extender seems to work much better.
3) There are things you need a lot of and things you can reuse
We ordered a deluxe insemination kit from Pride Angel. In it we got lots and lots of eminently washable and reusable items – syringes, sample pots etc but only three measures of the lubricant which aids conception. Most lubricant is actually quite bad for sperm and if you are going the speculum route you definitely want to be using some. It’s also reasonably tricky to get hold of (special order from our local Boots) so it baffles me as to why we had six syringes and sample pots (seriously, these can be rewashed/sterilised and re-used) and only three vials of lube. My advice – spend money on the lube and re-use the plasticware.
4) Ovulation predictor kits can be inconclusive
Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean you aren’t ovulating. It might just be that the kits are sensitive enough to pick up your hormone levels. If you are charting in times of days since last period and you feel it’s the right time, it probably is. Use the kits by all means but also listen to your body.
5) Towels and cushions are your friends
This is not always a comfortable process. Towels mean if there is any leakage you’re not fretting about the cushion covers and that the clean-up is quick and easy afterwards. Cushions make everything more comfortable, especially in terms of keeping the pelvis tilted to help the swimmers. Extreme angles are uncomfortable and probably not necessary.