Coaching Rocks is well aware of what a nightmare a woman and her partner may be experiencing as a result of not being able to get pregnant the old fashioned way, or by having traditional sex with her partner.
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) suggests that women have 5-6 days a month, when sexual intercourse is likely to led to pregnancy. Furthermore ASRM contends that on any given month, a 30 year old woman has a 20% chance of getting pregnant. In general, your chances of getting pregnant begin to plummet by age 35. Furthermore, the ASRM notes that by the time that same woman is 40 years old, her chance of getting pregnant, each cycle, goes down to 5%. If a typical couple has not gotten pregnant after a year of trying, it is time to get some assistance. For some, IUIs at home may be the first line of intervention or assisted reproduction.
IUIs at home stands for at home intrauterine insemination. IUI at home does not involve the use of medications. Although it is typically called IUI, it is really an ICI, or intracervical insemination or IVI intravaginal insemination. ICI or IVI are simply at home types of artificial insemination. ICI or IVI are slightly less invasive than IUI, which requires a doctor to be involved! Conversely IUI holds a slightly greater chance of producing a pregnancy. In IUI at home, a woman, may choose to inseminate herself or have her partner inseminate her, with sperm, through a “turkey baster” of sorts. The “turkey baster” is more technically referred to as an insemination syringe. In IUI, ICI, or IVI sexual intercourse is not used to inseminate the woman.
IUI at home is typically opted for by 1) a single mom by choice, 2) a single or married, gay or bisexual woman, or a 3) heterosexual couple. In each case, they are using known or unknown donor sperm, which was processed at a sperm bank. When a heterosexual couple is opting for this method the intended father has male factor infertility. In short, he is having trouble with his sperm, and is either infertile, has a low sperm count or has “slow swimmers.” Thus the heterosexual couple is opting to use donor or known donor sperm to replace to intended the father’s sperm.
One of the greatest attributes of this type of assisted reproduction is that it is non-invasive, fairly affordable, and can be done in the privacy of your own home, not to mention the fact that it can possibly involve your partner.
It is possible to buy an IUI at home kit, over the internet. The insemination syringes, as well as the complete kit, can be purchased for less than $100. A simple Google search will get you on your way.
The trickiest part of IUI at home (just like intercourse, for the purpose of pregnancy) is deciding when is the right time to be inseminated. Some of the science behind conception or fertilization and getting pregnant or implantation of the embryo into the uterine wall, yields some clues.
Fertilization can occur as quickly as 3 minutes after intercourse. Conversely, it can take as long as 5 days. You see, the sperm is released into the vagina and then climbs up the cervix, or the neck of the uterus, attempting to join with the egg, via spinbarkite mucus. Spinbarkite mucus’ sole purpose is to help your body get pregnant. Once in the cervix, the sperm then has to swim through the uterus and up the fallopian tubes. Generally, the sperm meets the egg in the fallopian tubes, which is where conception and fertilization take place.
The embryo then has to journey back down the fallopian tubes to the uterus, where it can implant into the rich uterine lining. All of this takes time. You are not literally pregnant, until implantation occurs. Implantation typically occurs 10 to 15 days after you have had sexual intercourse, provided an egg is available at intercourse, or becomes available within 5 days of intercourse. Six days is the maximum life span of sperm inside the female reproductive system. At day six the sperm dies. So although you have sex on day one, fertilization may not occur until day 5, and implantation may not occur until day 15. Implantation may occur as early as day 10, which is 5 days after fertilization. Said another way, implantation occurs 5 to 10 days after fertilization.
Thus in order to time your insemination wisely, you need to know when you are ovulating. Ovulation occurs one day each month. Once ovulation occurs, the egg will be alive for 12 to 24 hours. In order for conception to occur, the sperm must meet the egg, during this critical fertile window. Once a woman has a good sense of when she is ovulating, she has a much greater likelihood of getting pregnant. This is because she can then increase insemination just just before or when she knows she is ovulating. In fact you want to start trying to conceive 5 days prior to when you anticipate you will be ovulating. You can get pregnant 5 days before you ovulate, the day you ovulate, and sometimes the day after you ovulate.
So how do you know when you are ovulating? In an ideal situation, a woman has a 28 day cycle and ovulates on day 14. You may not always ovulate exactly in the middle of your cycle, and may not have an ideal 28 day cycle. Tracking your cycle and taking your temperature upon waking can yield clues. When you ovulate you will see a slight rise in your morning temperature. Vaginal discharge changes during ovulation. This is owing to the spinbarkite mucus that hangs down from your cervix, into your vagina, and serves as a wick for the sperm to gain easy access to the uterus. Spinbarkite mucus is clear and stretchy. During ovulation, some of it will drop right out of the vagina. Lower back and abdomen pain is another telltale sign of ovulation. Likewise, increased sex drive is another common symptom. If you still feel unsure, you might consider investing in an ovulation monitoring kit, which will detect hormones in your urine that indicate when ovulation is occurring. Being aware of these changes or using the kit will help you to predict when you want you want to begin IUI at home. Remember, you should begin IUI, prior to when you believe you will ovulate.
Many people are curious as to whether the sperm can benefit from the women laying in a horizontal position, after insemination, to aid the swimming action of the sperm. People reason that if the woman stands up, the sperm have to swim against gravity, as they try to reach the egg in the fallopian tubes. Thus they surmise that it would be easier for the sperm to swim faster to the fallopian tubes, if they didn’t have to fight gravity. Research about this is inconclusive. Some think the position makes no difference. Other studies suggest that laying down for 10 minutes after insemination, can enhance the chances of fertilization. As a result, when trying to conceive, many woman will lay flat or with their hips in the air, for 10 minutes after intercourse or IUI at home.
Keeping track of your progress is important. So take a moment and document what you tried and what the results were.
If you aren’t successful in 6 months, you should likely see the doctor to determine if you possibly have other forms of infertility, like female factor infertility, which may be a problem with the uterus, the fallopian tubes, your hormones, or the quality of the eggs released at ovulation or the frequency eggs are actually released each month. You may also suffer from endometriosis, fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease, all of which can make getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term significantly more difficult. You may also have an undetermined infertility factor, in which the problem remains undiagnosed. Finally, you and your partner may have mixed infertility factor, in which the problem lies with both partners. If you are having additional problems, the doctor might suggest another method to help you get pregnant.
At Coaching Rocks, we know it is especially trying when you want to be pregnant and aren’t. This is compounded by seeing new mothers in the supermarket, pregnant colleagues at work, or close friends or family members, who are already living their destiny, with their dream babies when you don’t have yours.
Consider giving yourself as much self care as you can muster. Anxiety, frustration and stress simply compound your already present fertility issues. Try to relax and enjoy yourself. Consider doing some yoga, or another form of exercise. Eat well and be sure to take especially good care of yourself, as you are trying to conceive.
Never Give Up the Dream and Don’t Forget to Leap Into Action,
Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
The Fertility Coach at Coaching Rocks
A Single Mom by Coice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written In My Little Buck in University Hts, Ohio