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At Home IUI: The Plan + Tools!
IUI at Home Disclaimer
IUI is generally not recommended to be performed at home (without the help of a medical Dr./midwife). Before you go and attempt this procedure be advised that I am in no way advocating YOU do this. I am just trying to share the information we used to make OUR decision. Do not be fooled there are risks involved with at home IUI and it will not be ideal for everyone.
Our Brief Story
My partner and I are happily committed to each other and have 2 beautiful daughters (from a previous marriage on my part). We are ready to add to our rainbow family, and of course as two women our options for pregnancy are limited. Obviously we need to add a male counterpart (of some nature) into the mix to achieve the goal of baby #3.
That said we have thought long and hard about our decision to add a new family member. We are both excited and optimistically nervous about the process. After all of our research we have choose to do an at home intrauterine insemination (IUI) in June of 2013.
I've outlined our personal plan on this journey in hopes it is a short one. Wish us luck and *Babydust*.
What is IUI?
IUI stands for intrauterine insemination. A process where semen is deposited directly into the uterus (just past the cervix) in an attempt to give the sperm a "head start" with as few obstacles as possible.
3D Animation of IUI Procedure
How Much Does an IUI Cost?
With Dr. assistance an IUI can cost more than $1000.00.
This of course all depends on what approach you and your loved one are taking (unless of course your single - then only your opinion and budget matters). Your insurance coverage and the depth of your IUI (what pieces of the puzzle you and your Dr. deem necessary) will factor in greatly with the cost of an IUI.
Some general costs in a Dr. or fertility clinic assisted IUI's are:
- Consult $150.00+ (one clinic we spoke with wanted to charge a $400.00 consult)
- Blood work - depends on insurance or lack there of
- Fertility medications (if used) can range from $40 - $2000.00 per cycle
- Monitoring - again depends on insurance or lack thereof. Be prepared to spend $100.00+ on monitoring (if your Dr. offers this service)
- Specimen (assuming you don't have a male counterpart) $200.00 - to upwards of $1000.00
- Sperm injection or actual IUI cost $200+ (with an average of $500 but upwards of $1500 are not uncommon)
At Home IUI Disclaimer *AGAIN*
Infection is possible. Be aware of all the possible risks and weigh them against the rewards. If a Dr., midwife, or clinic is necessary for you and your partner to feel comfortable: USE ONE! This is a very personal decision and deserves a well thought out plan of action.
IUI Success Rates
Why We Choose at Home IUI
After extensive research my partner and I decided we wanted to try IUI at home for many reasons:
Were lesbians, yes. Without a male specimen were out of luck in achieving pregnancy on our own, in the privacy of our own home.
However, we do value our privacy and intimacy and would like our potential baby to be created at home rather then in a Dr. office (if at all possible).
While we will still spend quite a bit of money on supplies from speculum's, ovulation predictor kits, pre seed, progesterone cream, and the actual sperm specimen the cost of at home insemination believe it or not comes out cheaper than Dr. assisted artificial insemination (assuming we time it right).
Which leads us to:
With any artificial insemination procedure time will be invested and is crucial. From monitoring your cycles with a basal body thermometer to monitoring ones fertility signs - needless to say we will be eating, sleeping, and dreaming baby thoughts along the way. At least we don't have a Dr. office trying to schedule us Mon-Friday 9-5.
- We feel we can do the same thing a Dr. can minus the heavy machinery. My partner does get a little squeamish at times. However, I find a constant reminder of the fact that *I* will be carrying our child for 9+ months calms her complaints.
Of course we have no ultrasound machine or laboratory at our dispense but I don't feel this is necessary for us on this journey (as of yet). We have discussed our baby making plans, and feel comfortable trying at home before enlisting the help of a Dr. or clinic (if necessary) on our journey.
What is a Washed Semen Sample?
One of the major things to factor into your decision is what kind of sperm sample you will be getting for your insemination's.
The ONLY safe sperm iswashed sperm for an at home IUI. Washed sperm or "spun sperm" is spermatozoa that is separated from the seminal fluid.
The seminal fluid nourishes and transports the sperm through the cervix. When performing an at home IUI the fluid that surrounds the sperm is not needed because you bypass the cervix all together hence INTRA- Uterine insemination. The seminal fluid can be dangerous if injected into the uterus and only adds the sperm in their travels TO the uterus. The threat of infection is very real if an unwashed sperm sample is used.
Talk to your sperm bank or Dr. about ensuring the safety of the specimen PRIOR to insemination.
Sperm banks offer sperm pre washed at a higher price. Unwashed sperm specimens are also available for at home procedures such as intra cervical insemination (ICI) or Intra vaginal insemination (IVI). Using prepared sperm (or washed sperm) is the safest option with an IUI. Prepared sperm removes the seminal fluid that the cervix would usually filter.
Since IUI bypasses the cervix (the bodies natural filter) there is no other option then a washed specimen.
Fresh Donor Sperm Vs. Frozen Donor Sperm
Fresh donor sperm has the ability to live up to 5 days in the right conditions.Frozen donor sperm, on the other hand, lives only roughly 12-24 hours after being thawed.
The ovum (or egg) lasts UP TO 24 hours after ovulation takes place. Timing is EVERYTHING and going to be a major factor in any pregnancy attempt.
We are working with a sperm bank that offers IUI prepared vials only. Therefore the washing will be done prior to the specimen shipment.
Our Plan for At Home IUI
I started taking prenatal vitamins as well as a B supplement about a month ago to have all those goodies circulating should my body be depleted of any important minerals necessary for baby making. Both supplements (prenatals and b vitamins) can be bought at your local pharmacy (as well as many of the other items shown).
The head flashlight, although comical in a sense, is going to make the whole process easier since neither I nor my partner will have to focus on holding a flashlight during the insemination.
The progesterone cream will be used AFTER confirmed ovulation via my BBT chart until either a positive pregnancy test or the end of my cycle.
Timing Your Ovulation is Key.
For timing ovulation we are using a basal body thermometer that records your waking temperature.
Learn more about your basal body temperature, how to take it, when to take it, how to record it, and interpret it here: Basal Body Temperature Charting (BBT).
My BBT for the past few months has been consistent, showing the marked necessary changes. A BBT chart helps narrow down the window of when you may ovulate if used in the preceding months to insemination. However one's BBT does not predict impending ovulation. But it can confirm ovulation after it has taken place.
For predicting impending ovulation we are using an ovulation predictor kit (OPK). OPK's are similar to pregnancy tests. Ovulation predictor kits are used to test your urine for a "surge" of luteinizing hormone (LH) which indicates ovulation is near (within a 24-48 hour window). Be sure to read the instructions included with your OPK as all are slightly different.
Again timing is everything regardless of one's baby making plan.
Will IUI at Home Work For Us?
Were not sure.
We've scoured the Internet for other couples who have attempted an IUI at home and found conflicting statistics.
Some were successful on their first try, others were not. Some decided to use a clinic, while others decided to go straight to IVF. The options and statistics can be mind boggling to say the least.
Were doing what we feel comfortable with as a first course of action. Should the need arise to see a Dr. and complete our family we will take the necessary steps to baby #3.
I hope I've shed a little light on the topic of at home IUI. As well as warned you that the decision to perform an IUI at home is at your own risk and should not be taken lightly.
Come June 2013 we will put our baby making plan into action. Wish us luck!