Alternately, you could call this post: “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.” And I’ll tell you why a little further down.
Allow me to set the scene. It was June of this year. We were doing our third cycle with Femara and timed intercourse. The doctors had been hinting around all year that they really wanted us to try IUI. That would be a cost of $400 a pop to us per each attempt, with no guarantee that they would work. Once they got us to IUI, it would only be a hop, skip and a jump to IVF. And forget talking about the amount of money that would require.
We’re lucky enough to live in Maryland which prevents insurance companies from not helping with fertility treatments. But even with the assist, our monthly income and savings would never carry us all the way through IVF. But in June, the doctors said that my July cycle should definitely be an IUI. They felt our current efforts were not going to produce the desired result. But my husband and I were not so sure.
So I set out to find a stopgap. Surely there was something we hadn’t tried yet. Something that was cost effective for us, could be done at home and would possibly work. And I managed to stumble on at-home insemination kits.
Disclaimer: We’re talking about doing some invasive stuff at home. I’m not a doctor. I will never claim to be dispensing medical advice. I am only relating my experience and subsequent results. If you try this, you do so at your own risk, and I am not claiming any responsibility for your actions.
OK, so what I found out is that a lot of lesbian couples employ at-home insemination kits. And why not? There is nothing psychically wrong that would stop them from becoming pregnant if they had male partners. So instead of going to a reproductive endocrinologist, paying for the doctors to mix up a sperm sample and turkey baster it in- many lesbian couples take matters into their own hands. They get sperm from a willing male friend and do the deed at home.
If you type in at-home insemination into YouTube, you will find video blogs of lesbian couples who are TTC. Their stories echo so many of my own woes and experiences. But sometimes, it works. They offered tips and tricks that they’ve employed and after watching enough videos, I felt like I understood the process enough to give it a try.
I found an online store based in Canada which sold at-home insemination kits in packs of one, two and three. The hubs and I opted for a three pack and waited for the kit to arrive. When it did, it contained:
3 specimen cups
3 needless syringes
And I bought the catheters separately but from the same website. They fit to the end of the needless syringes to give you a little more length to reach the cervix. We did use the catheter, but not everyone does.
Now, remember when I wrote up at the top that this post could have also been called, “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends?” So my husband and I were pretty informed thanks to YouTube and other online reading. However, he didn’t feel that he had the ability to keep things sterile. And truly, there’s no way to do this at home and keep it completely sterile. However, you can keep it clean.
So we asked a dear friend of ours who does have medical training to help us. It was the most awkward conversation to start, but when you have amazing friends- they surprise you. Not only did my friend agree to help us, she was excited to be a part of a possible conception. Let’s call her Mama Midnight. At least that’s what we call her these days. Because she is magical.
And when I told another friend about the undertaking, she wanted to help too. Originally she wanted to be a cheerleader when we did the deed, but she ended up syringe deep in the process. As a member of clergy, let’s call her The Priestess.
So on June 21 (when I knew for sure I was ovulating thanks to the three ultrasounds I’d had that week) Mama Midnight and The Priestess came over to my house. That was the summer solstice for those counting and the longest day of the year. I think it was an appropriate time to give our last desperate attempt a try.
After a few glasses of wine, I managed to relax enough to lay down on the bed and let my friends do their magic. My husband provided his sample, and my friends went to work. It’s a simple process really. Use the syringe to suck up the sperm, attach the catheter and insert the speculum into your friend who is now fairly drunk and nervous while her husband holds a flashlight and mood music plays. With the speculum in place, carefully insert the catheter into the vagina and coat the cervix with all of the sperm.
And that’s it. Throw away all your instruments of insemination, don’t walk your friends to the door in order to keep all the goods inside and then go to sleep. Other than the awkwardness, it was a fairly straight forward procedure. Mama Midnight and The Priestess are my gracious and wonderful fairy godmothers now. Do you want to know why?
Because it worked. As of the day of this posting, I am 12 weeks and three days pregnant.
Thanks to my friends, a little research and pure luck, we managed to avoid starting IUI or IVF. With luck holding strong, our baby that we’ve worked so hard for will arrive around March 14, 2014. And we couldn’t be happier or feel more blessed. So if you want something done, maybe you need to ask a lesbian what she would do in your place. I did.