Home artificial insemination is not something you hear too much about, but it does happen. Whether or not it's a good idea is something else altogether.
Home Insemination Basics
Home insemination, sometimes called alternative insemination, is a practice that has been used over the years by couples trying to conceive. Basically, it's a method of gathering fresh or frozen sperm (if frozen, it must first be thawed) and manually inserting it into a woman's vagina or uterus to fertilize an egg, hopefully, resulting in a viable conception and pregnancy. Most sites that cover home insemination claim that mainly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people use home insemination, but there aren't really any well known statistics on the topic. Single women and couples with a male fertility issue may also try this method to conceive a baby.
People looking to try home artificial insemination can obtain sperm from a sperm bank, fertility clinics, or a willing friend or third-party. In some cases, women have been known to use this method to act as a surrogate mother for a gay male or male couples.
Legalities of Home Insemination
Home artificial insemination is legal, but there are other legalities of insemination that may apply to home insemination:
- If a mother obtains sperm from a sperm bank, the donor doesn't legally have any rights to the baby. Some clinics are initiating programs that allow children of donors to later look up the donor, but these same programs protect the mother's rights by not allowing the donor to look up the child or mother.
- If someone obtains donor sperm from someone they know, say a friend, the laws can vary state to state. In some cases, the donor will have rights and, in others, not.
- Donor contracts may or may not protect someone's rights as a parent. If a contract is signed by both the donor and the woman taking the sperm, but later the donor decides he wants rights to the child, he may get them. Laws about children who are a result of insemination are not always decided by contract. According to some courts, DNA plays a more important role.
Overall, there are no absolute clear standards regarding home insemination. The best thing to do is to understand the laws of the state you reside in and also any country-wide laws. For legal resources, check with the local courts where you live, talk to a lawyer, and take a look at:
- Artificial Insemination - Further Readings on the legal issues
- Rainbow Families Council
Home Artificial Insemination Know-How
Learning how to do an at-home insemination is as simple as asking on the Internet and reading books such as Knock Yourself Up: No Man? No Problem: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom by Louise Sloan or Baby Steps: How Lesbian Alternative Insemination Is Changing the World by Amy Agigian.
Fertility Plus has some of the most in-depth coverage of home insemination. This site covers the basic turkey baster method, which is usually joked about but is a real method. In this case, the 'turkey baster' is really a needleless syringe or oral medicine syringe. Fertility Plus does not recommend an actual turkey baster for home insemination. While it could work, it's larger (usually) and less easy to sterilize. In any case, you should never use a used turkey baster or syringe. Fertility Plus covers step-by-step how to complete a syringe method insemination.
If you are interested in learning more about home insemination, Fertility Plus is a good site to check out. They cover basics like safety, sperm handling, resources, and talking to a health care professional before trying home insemination.
Is Home Insemination Successful and Safe?
Again, like statistics about how many couples use home artificial insemination, statistics about success rates are tough to come by. Many couples have successful inseminations at home and most research notes that discussing the procedure with your health care provider and having an orgasm after the insemination procedure will help increase chances of success.
As for the safety of home insemination, it can be sketchy. Many people like home insemination because it provides an independent way to start taking charge of your fertility, provides a more private environment for baby making, and it cost less, but there are some risks. Having an insemination procedure in a clinic increases the chances of the procedure being done correctly and also increases the sterility of the procedure. Another risk of home insemination revolves around where the sperm is obtained from. Sexually transmitted disease can be passed through sperm, so getting sperm from a donor you know may be riskier than obtaining sperm from a clinic. Another issue is that fresh sperm cannot be tested as thoroughly for diseases, so frozen is less risky.
One last risk of at-home insemination are the emotional risks. Women and couples can get depressed, angry, or frustrated when insemination does not work. This is a great reason to work with a health care professional. A doctor won't only watch out for your physical health during an insemination process, but also your emotional health.
The bottom line is that having a baby with home insemination is perfectly fine if that's your choice. Many couples and women do use this method and have great healthy babies. However, to increase the ease of the procedure and health for the mother and baby, it's best to know the legal issues involved and to at least consult with a health care professional before jumping into home insemination.