At-home insemination means placing semen or sperm in the vagina by a method other than having sex, usually without the help of a healthcare provider.
A common reason for individuals considering at-home insemination is that they are using donor sperm. Finding a donor on your own can be a lengthy process, even with sperm from someone you know (known donor). Aside from the time commitment, there are additional fees to consider related to travel, consultations, testing, processing (multiple times), freezing, storage, a mandatory quarantine period and even legal costs - most individuals have not considered an agreement describing the donor’s rights over, and responsibilities for, the child. Be aware that a known donor may be considered the legal parent of any children they have conceived through home insemination. Seek legal advice for your specific circumstances.
When working with a sperm bank, vials of frozen semen are available from donors that have waived their rights to paternity. These donors have been thoroughly screened for infectious and genetic diseases and, in the case of anonymous donors, have relinquished their rights to future contact with donor offspring. Of course, you have the option of choosing an identity release donor, who, by contract with the Cryobank, has agreed to release certain information to the donor child once they reach adulthood. As the recipient of the sperm, you can find a perfect donor match based on numerous characteristics that are most important to you.
The HFEA advises that donor sperm is tested for quality and safety, no matter where it is acquired from and that donors should also agree to their general physician being contacted.
Order your donor sperm vials in advance and place into storage with us. To guarantee availability of your donor, be sure to order extra vials in case you need repeat insemination attempts or if you plan to grow your family in the future. Both donor vial types, ICI and IUI, can be used for at-home insemination.
Schedule your delivery during your fertile window. The fertile window will occur just prior to ovulation and is the most optimal time to conceive during your cycle. By tracking your menstrual cycle, you can increase your chances of success. This can be, for example, by observing your basal body temperature, cervical mucus, or the use of ovulation predictor kits. You may want to track your cycle for 2-3 months to feel comfortable identifying the best time in your cycle to perform the insemination. For all your questions related to your at-home treatment, please contact your physician.
The frozen semen sample is shipped to you in a dewar (tank) that is saturated (or charged) with liquid nitrogen vapor. A charged dewar can keep the sample frozen for a few days if left unopened. The sample must remain in the unopened dewar until you are ready to use it as premature opening risks thawing of the sample and the sperm may die.
You will receive special instructions on how to handle the frozen vial of donor sperm from the Cryobank as well as how to administer at-home insemination.
The advantage of at-home insemination is that it is relatively inexpensive and you are in the comfort and privacy of your own home. If you are in good health with no underlying fertility issues, able to accurately identify your fertile window and the sperm sample is of good quality and handled properly, your odds of success should be roughly the same as undergoing ICI or IVI in a clinic with a doctor.
One study found similar pregnancy rates after ICI (37.9%) and IUI (40.5%) after 6 natural cycles. Pregnancy rates of properly administered at-home insemination are likely to be similar to pregnancy rates of women of the same age.
Having an IUI at the doctor’s office will give you an improved chance of success over these types of vaginal insemination. The reason is that it is likely to be a stimulated (medicated) cycle and the sperm is concentrated and placed directly into the uterus, by passing the cervix, which gets more sperm closer to the egg.
If you are trying to decide on the best method of insemination, consider your health history, any known or suspected fertility problems, access to sperm that you want to use, expenses that you might incur in the process and your own personal preferences.