Baby in a baby carriage without K-I-S-S-I-N-G
April 3, 2011 10:04 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to get pregnant artificially, but without going through a doctor - seeking tips.

I'm a 32 year old lesbian, and me and my best friend, Bill, a gay man, want to raise a kid together. We've thought extensively about the personal/social implications of this, and have all of the legalities sorted out. It's the logistics of actually getting pregnant that we're not sure about! We'd prefer not to spend thousands of dollars to pay a doctor to do artificial insemination when we have all of the materials we need (so to speak) ourselves. But we also want to maximize our chances of success and if trying to get pregnant this way is very difficult or results in mutant babies or something, we'd rather know now instead of after months and months of trying. That's what this question is about.

I've searched the internet and it does seem like it's possible, but I don't necessarily trust most of the sites. Here is our plan:

1. Use one of those ovulation kits to determine the times I'm most fertile.
2. On those days, Bill will masturbate into a cup.
3. Immediately (we live together) I take the cup, insert a syringe, and squirt the contents up my vagina. Why a syringe? Various things I've read seem to suggest that a syringe is more sanitary than a turkey baster, and also doesn't shoot air up into your vagina.
4. Then I masturbate to orgasm because I read the contractions might help push the sperm further along.
5. Then I lay there for a while with my ass in the air so it doesn't all trickle out again.

So... does this sound like it will work? Any other suggestions, either from doctors or from people who have done this? Are the odds a lot lower every month than if we do it the old fashioned way? And, I hope it doesn't come to this, but how many months without success should we go before we take it as a sign that we're not doing it right and visit a doctor? (Bill is 35 and a smoker. Both of us are healthy, normal weight, and have never had children).

Anonymous because I have several co-workers who know my Metafilter account and they don't know we're trying for kids. Plus I'd rather them not think of my name and words like "masturbate" or "orgasm" at the same time.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you read "Taking Charge of your Fertility"? I suggest, as a midwifery student, that you read this book, and chart your cycles. It will help you pinpoint your ovulation times much better. It will also troubleshoot if you have any problems. Really, the book is fantastic.
posted by long haired child at 10:11 AM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Here's some chatter on a message board about it. They suggest keeping the sperm at body temp, and waiting 10-15 minutes to let the jizz liquefy to help suck it up into the syringe.

I don't see why it would lead to mutant babies. Sperm is sperm, after all.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:16 AM on April 3, 2011

The Wikipedia article on artificial insemination suggests a 10-15% chance of conception per menstrual cycle for what you describe (intracervical or intravaginal insemination), assuming no fertility problems on anyone's part. So you'd want to keep it up for the better part of a year before concluding that it might not be working.
posted by hattifattener at 10:26 AM on April 3, 2011

Why not talk to your regular lady-doctor about this? He or she may have some suggestions/resources for you. If you think your regular gyn is going to be weird about it maybe get a recommendation since you'll ultimately want someone you're comfortable with going forward.

Also, seconding "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" -- great resource for anyone trying to get pregnant (or trying to avoid getting pregnant).
posted by amanda at 10:29 AM on April 3, 2011

It's a fine method of getting pregnant! But like long haired child, I strongly suggest you read and chart with TCOYF. Should you have any issues TTC, the chart data will be very, very helpful. Common issues like short leutal phase or lack of fertile mucous can be easily identified and corrected without medical intervention just from reviewing your chart. Your internist or GP will also ask to see your chart should you ever need to go down that route.

If you want to use OPKs instead of or in addition to TCOYF, you do not need the spendy Clear Blue Easy kits; you can do much cheaper, equally accurate test strips for far less. (Typically, you will go through a lot of them, and a lot of pregnancy tests, if this takes more than a month or two. It can take a year even with everything lined up perfectly.)

Take your folic acid and may the force be with you!
posted by DarlingBri at 10:38 AM on April 3, 2011

I personally know of two unrelated examples of this working (one eyedropper, one turkey baster), both on the first try, sans ass in the air. Both babies were/are healthy and happy.

Nthing Taking Charge of Your Fertility (the book alone is fine, don't need the website and all that).
posted by letahl at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2011

I have a lesbian friend who just got pregnant with this method on the first try. So clearly it works.
posted by zug at 11:38 AM on April 3, 2011

I have a gorgeous niece who was conceived this way, likewise on the first try!
posted by headspace at 11:50 AM on April 3, 2011

I was unable to get pregnant in part due to hostile mucus, I can tell you all the parts to an intrauterine inception (IUI), cause I got to sit there and watch the tech do it . . .

Sample was collected at home, tucked into my shirt to keep warm and driven to the reproductive endocrinologist's office. They stick it in a test tube and spun it down in a centrifuge. Then they took a syringe with ?saline? and sucked the sperm into the syringe and pushed it out again, about 4 times. Then it was sucked into the syringe for the last time, and a thin 8 inch tube attached to the end. I assumed the position, said tube was inserted through my cervix (only slightly painful) -- and the 'washed off' sperm was deliver directly to the top of my uterus, and I was left to continue reading my Harry Potter book on the table, on my back with my hips propped up, for 15 minutes.

The tube reminded me of oral feeding tubes for puppies, if you want to google that. You probably don't have a centrifuge and I don't know it the 'wash' was actually saline -- but the getting it past the cervix part would seem pretty straightforward to accomplish at home.

First cycle didn't take. Second cycle, 2 IUIs were done -- one the day of ovulation, and again the next morning -- it took, both times apparently, as 33 weeks later I delivered twins who had measured one day apart in age for the duration of the pregnancy.

Good luck!
(And I would LOVE to listen to the ongoing adventures, if you decide to blog about it somewhere . . .)
posted by MeiraV at 12:33 PM on April 3, 2011

MeiraV, putting something through your cervix could conceivably (ha!) be done at home, but it would be less straightforward.

1. You have to be able to find the cervix. To find the cervix, you'd need a speculum and you'd need to know how to use a speculum. You could probably get your hands on a disposable plastic speculum easily enough, but having someone practice how to use a speculum on you could be very painful. Also, even for experienced practitioners, it can be a little challenging to find the cervix if it's pointing in an unusual direction.

2. The mucus on your cervix is there for a reason - to keep bacteria from getting into your uterus from your vagina. Anytime you introduce something through there, you risk an ascending infection.

Bottom line, people who aren't experiencing fertility issues due to hostile cervical mucus probably don't need to be doing this at home.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:50 PM on April 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

Considering how painful getting a uterine depth test (for an IUD) was, I would strongly advise against having anyone but a professional stick anything up there.
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:32 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just as an FYI, many health insurance policies cover IUI's - often without even requiring a co-pay. If you're insured, this also might be more of an option than you think.
posted by Mchelly at 1:42 PM on April 3, 2011

Considering how painful getting a uterine depth test (for an IUD) was, I would strongly advise against having anyone but a professional stick anything up there.

This. A million times. I strongly counsel against letting any unqualified person attempt to stick anything through your cervix. If the squirt in the general direction doesn't work, I would advise you to seek professional help. Googling suggests an IUI is in the region of a few hundred dollars. Thousands of dollars for IVF is more the region for couples who have significant fertility problems (and if you or Bill do have fertility problems, you'll need more than a syringe at home).

But it sounds as though many people have had good results from the syringe/baster at home method, so worth trying first since it's free. The standard advice for heterosexual couples is to try for a year before seeking help. I would think if you are tracking your fertility well (as described in TCOYF) and making regular attempts at the right time that this advice would probably not be too far off for you and Bill.
posted by *becca* at 2:21 PM on April 3, 2011

"Sample was collected at home, tucked into my shirt to keep warm and driven to the reproductive endocrinologist's office. They stick it in a test tube and spun it down in a centrifuge. Then they took a syringe with ?saline? and sucked the sperm into the syringe and pushed it out again, about 4 times."

Nope, not saline, they make special medias for that as sperm need constant nutrition to stay alive being not built to last. They do it because ejaculate has all kinds of things in it that can be really bad in a uterus. DON'T DO THIS AT HOME, no home-made centrifuge will differentiate the appropriate components of ejaculate correctly.

The old fashioned way has worked well enough for longer than human history and so long as you're careful about temperature, sterility and timeliness, it will be more or less the same thing.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:43 PM on April 3, 2011

Are you going to get a full STD/hiv screen? That's something a full in vitro would do.
I am reminded recently of the live kidney transplant where the donor tested hiv-free and then had risky right sex before the procedure passing on hiv to their relative.

In this case you'd have a baby involved as well.

Good luck.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 5:02 PM on April 3, 2011

Smoking is not good for sperm quality. I would insist he quit for a month before you do this.
posted by blargerz at 7:27 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Any other suggestions,"

Considering the low cost of the procedure while obsessing about perfect timing is a good approach I'd recommend several attempts per month every day or every other day around your anticipated ovulation time. At a minimum do a practice run or two before the ideal time rolls around.
posted by Mitheral at 11:14 PM on April 3, 2011

Rather than an expensive ovulation kit, I highly recommend just getting some test strips. For about $10.00 you get 40 ovulation strips and 10 pregnancy strips (whenever I've gone to the store for pregnancy tests, I couldn't even get 1 test for $10!)
Super easy to understand and use.

I also liked the iperiod app from winkpass for helping me chart ovulation, periods, ect.

I would also suggests doing some research to make sure you know how everything works. Sperm can live for a couple days inside the female body and eggs also have a timeframe for fertility so likely you'll want to insert sperm a couple days be fore and after ovulation.
posted by HMSSM at 12:16 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

You may want to screened to make sure you're not both carriers for genetic diseases like Cystic Fibrosis or Tay-Sachs. (Which ones to test for depends on your ethnicity.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:04 AM on April 4, 2011

I don't there's any more reason for you and Bob to get screened unless either of you has any particular known risks (family history or in a group with high incidence of a mutation e.g. Tay Sachs in Ashkenazi Jews). You're presumably no more likely to be carriers than a heterosexual couple. Screening would be expensive and the chance of a child having any of these disorders is very low.
posted by *becca* at 10:50 AM on April 4, 2011

Memail me.
posted by palegirl at 2:16 PM on April 4, 2011

IMO this is the guide to the logistics, statistics, and health concerns around just about every permutation of queer and DIY conception. It talks in depth about benefits of IUI vs what you describe (IUI not always more effective), talks about charting, OPK's (helpful, but not necessarily better than other signs), and lots more really helpful info on legal and emotional aspects you may or may not have thought of.

It is written by folks from Maia Midwifery in California, who are an incredible resource for queer and single women who want to get pregnant.

Good luck!
posted by crabintheocean at 2:57 PM on April 4, 2011

« Older Photos that won't break the bank?   |   Thank you for making my MBP faster Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.