Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Home Insemination: A More Natural Approach to a Less Natural Situation

When we found out that my husband and I could not conceive a child together, we were not surprised.  We had actually ruled it out before we got married.  We said we would adopt, or we would enjoy traveling and our dogs.  We got a puppy the year before we got married, when we first moved into our house, and Clover was our baby.

It was about a month after we got married that we both started talking about wanting a child.  We both realized that although we thought we were completely happy without one, we suddenly had the urge to procreate.  My husband had already had a sperm analysis, and as we suspected, it was zero.  99% of men with cystic fibrosis have CBAVD, congenital absence of the vas deferens.  Basically, his testes make sperm, but they don't have an outlet, so they don't mature and reabsorbed into the body.  We discussed our options with my OB and his CF specialist.  The long and short of it was that we could spend an inordinate amount of money on a procedure with a fairly low success rate and serious discomfort, or we could use a sperm donor.  I was opposed to being juiced up with hormones and having my eggs harvested with a massive needle.  My husband was opposed to having his sperm harvested with a needle.  We didn't want to spend that kind of money unless we were going to adopt, and I very strongly wanted to be pregnant and give birth to a child.

Once we had decided to use a sperm donor, we knew we were entering into a less invasive medical procedure to make a child, but it still felt out of our hands.  Then we talked to my doctor.  She was so amazing.  She laid out our options, talked to us about donor selection, helped us pick a bank, and then gave us an option we never imagined.

"Would you like to do the insemination in your home or in the office?"

Well that was a no-brainer for us, we were so happy to be able to take back some of the power of this child's creation, and to make it more natural and personal.  We felt like it was us doing this, and the vial and syringe were just extra things that helped us along the way and the two of us made a baby in the most natural way we could.

For those thinking of a home insemination, the basics are very easy.  I tracked my ovulation using ovulation predictors that you buy right next to the pregnancy tests.  You pee on a stick and when you are ovulating you inseminate that day and maybe the day following (that's what we did for this second one). To inseminate, you defrost your vial according to the bank's instructions and then use a syringe to draw up the semen.  Once it's full, you take off the needle and insert the syringe as you would a tampon, press down on the plunger, and then lay on your back with your butt elevated for 20 minutes.  And that's making a baby!  I'm not sure how common it is for sperm banks to deliver to your home, but the one we did had no problem with it.  I'm not comfortable sharing the bank we used, but you can ask around and you can search for different banks until you find one.  If you are using a friend as your donor, you do the same thing without the defrosting.

I share this story because I never knew I would have that option, and I want others to know how easy it is to have a more personal experience even if you need assisted reproduction.  Even if you are given the news that you can't conceive "naturally," that's no reason to think has to be wholly unnatural process in a lab or a petri dish or on a medical table.  You can light candles, have romance, and make your baby in your home with your partner in a loving and calm environment.

I hope this helps someone out there, and doesn't gross out the rest with the details.

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