Home or self-insemination has been used by heterosexual and homosexual couples as well as single women for some time. It is a popular choice for those who cannot, or choose not to conceive naturally as it cuts out the costs of IVF treatment.
Through the use of a home kit, the female can complete the conception process in the comfort of their own home as opposed to a public clinic. The kit includes a syringe for injecting the semen into the uterus whilst ovulating.
Naturally, anyone considering carrying this method of conception out will need to know the potential risks involved to avoid possible infection, as well as the legal difficulties that might come into play.
This post looks at each of these complications in detail, so that you can decide if home insemination is the right choice for you.
So what exactly are the risks?
- The source of the sperm
- The cleanliness of the insemination kit
- The legalities
Where is the semen from?
To eliminate the risk of STIs, your donor should be screened by a medical professional. Donations that come straight from a HFEA licensed sperm bank are required to be fully tested anyway, but if you are arranging a donation from someone in particular, always be sure that they are cleared of all sexually transmitted infections with a recent screening.
In addition to sexual diseases, you will also need to know the medical history of your donor to avoid any issues that your child may have. Again, through a clinic this information will be gleaned from fertility experts. Anyone donating will need to provide information and access to their family history for this reason.
It may seem obvious, but you will also want to know that your supplier is fertile – if you are arranging to meet privately you must not be afraid to ask about this.
For all of these potential issues, always ask for medical paperwork before making your choice to confirm the health of the sperm.
Was it collected safely?
Whilst, your donor may be incredibly healthy and fit with no problems that might affect you or your baby, the handling and collection of a sample can cause a number of complications if improperly managed.
Semen is deposited into a sterilised sample pot which you should handle with care whilst wearing protective gloves. Before use, the pot should be closed tight to avoid any dirt or dust coming in contact with the contents – if the lid is loose, do not use the sample. Always check it is also labelled with the correct donor’s details.
Once you receive you sample, it is recommended that you do not refrigerate or freeze it at home, and that it is used as soon as possible to help increase your chances of falling pregnant.
How hygienic are the insemination utensils?
In addition to the sample being clean and well stored, the equipment required to inseminate needs to be sterilised as well.
The syringe should come fresh out of the packet and never be reused. Even fresh water can limit the effectiveness of the sample.
When you remove the syringe from its packaging, make sure to draw it back and push out the air a couple of times to avoid air bubbles developing.
Always throw away your kit after use.
Is the donor or my partner the legal father?
Before deciding to inseminate at home, you must know the legislation around who is the baby’s legal father to avoid any potential complications going forward.
Whilst there is currently no specific law around self-insemination, women who use semen outside of licensed clinics and are not in a relationship at the time of the act will have to accept that the sperm donor is the child’s legal father.
It is also important to be aware that since 2005, any child of a donor has the right to find out who their biological father is once they reach the age of 18. Whilst you may come to an agreement with a donor at the time, the decision is ultimately down to your child.
By heeding this advice, you can rest assured that the insemination process is safe, clean and effective.
To find donors who are looking to help people just like you, sign up to the CoParents forum.