If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, or if you’re a single parent or same-sex couple who wishes to conceive, you may be starting to think about alternative options to help you grow your family. While IUI and IVF are both very promising avenues, fertility treatments can be time-consuming and expensive. Before going down that path, you may want to try a more affordable, less-invasive option at home, such as intravaginal insemination (IVI).
What is intravaginal insemination, exactly?
Intravaginal Insemination (IVI) is the process of transferring semen or ejaculate directly into the female reproductive tract, right at or near the cervical opening – which is basically the door to the uterus. Whether one or both partners are experiencing sexual dysfunction or you’re hoping to try something new before clinical procedures, intravaginal insemination can be performed using fresh or cryogenically frozen, partner or donor sperm, in the comfort of your own home during the fertile window.
So, what should you look for in a home insemination kit?
When it comes to choosing an intravaginal insemination kit, you’re probably wondering, “Where do I even start?” or “How do I choose the best kit — the one that may actually help me get pregnant?” In this article, we’ll share 4 things to consider when selecting a home insemination kit for your fertility journey:
1. Make sure the kit you order is properly labeled for insemination
Beware of kits labeled as sex toys, menstrual products, or vaginal applicators, even when the product is called an “at-home insemination kit”. Take a look at the box and confirm there is an “Indications for Use” statement clarifying it was designed for insemination.
If the product’s box does not mention indications for use, the product may not be tested to be safe for at-home insemination. While off-label products like menstrual cups have historically been used for this process, they are not designed and tested for home insemination. Only products specifically labeled for at-home insemination are designed and tested to be safe for vaginal tissue and human sperm.
It’s also worth inspecting the expiration date, as well as making sure each product has a lot code in case of a recall, quality, or warranty claim, or if the manufacturer needs to trace any issues.
2. Make sure it has all of the parts you need
This might seem obvious, but you’ll first want to check whether your kit has all the necessary pieces so you can “try” at least two times in a cycle. This means:
Two syringes: Your kit should include two single-use insemination syringes for two attempts per cycle, with no washing required.
Two collection cups: Your kit should also include two single-use collection cups for two tries, with no washing required. You also want to ensure there is a tight lid for any transport, to keep those precious sperm safe.
Comprehensive instructions: Your insemination kit should come with printed instructions that are detailed and easy to understand. They should help you understand how to use your product properly to make the most out of every try.
3. Consider design features that will help support your fertility journey
The “turkey baster method” is a thing of the past. We now know that the design of your kit makes a big difference when trying to conceive. There are certain things to look for if you want to optimize every possible feature for insemination:
Length: Like Goldilocks, the length of your syringe should be “just right.” A syringe that's too short may not deliver sperm close enough to their destination, while one that's too long could be uncomfortable and go past your cervix, aiming into your vaginal wall. Your syringe should be about 3.5” long, about the average depth of the cervix in the vagina. Your syringe does not need to touch your cervix but should spray your cervix. The Mosie Syringe, for example, is a syringe that was designed with this length in mind.
Efficiency: Sperm are some of the smallest cells in the human body. Even though there may be a lot of them in your sample, you still want a syringe that maximizes every drop without trapping it in the tip. Look to see where your stopper ends. If there’s a barrel at the end, you’ll leave sperm behind. Not only that, a collection cup with a rounded bottom will help you gather more of your sample in the syringe.
Volume: Bigger is not always better. The average semen sample is only about 3-5 mL. A syringe with a capacity of around five cc is just the right size for home insemination. Not only does this keep the syringe at a comfortable size for insertion, but it helps concentrate your sample.
Opening: Ask yourself, “Is the syringe opening narrow or wide?” A wide opening indicates that the syringe was not designed for semen but instead was designed for vaginal creams. A wide opening is likely to leak sperm or have the sperm drip out of the syringe vs spray upon exit.
Comfort is also key. The Mosie Baby Kit — the first over-the-counter patented syringe designed specifically for at-home intravaginal insemination (IVI) — was created with the vagina in mind. It purposely eliminates harsh edges found on other syringes, does away with the barrel typically found on the tip of most syringes which can trap and waste sperm, and has a patented slit opening mimicking mother nature.
4. Is the company trustworthy and supportive?
There are so many unknowns when it comes to fertility struggles — and many companies that promise to help. But how do you know who you can trust? A trustworthy company shouldn’t just be there to sell you a product. They should be there to support you on your journey.
Ask yourself the following: Does the company have medical reviews from doctors and experts? What about user reviews or verified customers? Is the company just trying to sell you a product, or are they willing to educate you on the entire IVI process? Do they have active customer support to answer any questions or concerns you may have as you use the product? Is there a human at the other end who understands what you're going through?
Prompt, empathetic customer service isn't just a perk; it's essential to your confidence and ease with pursuing home insemination. So, don't hesitate to test the waters — send them a message or call them. How they respond will tell you a lot about the kind of support you can expect to receive moving forward.
Finding the best home insemination kit for you
When it comes to home insemination kits, one seemingly small change can make a big difference. Whether timed intercourse isn’t living up to the hype or isn’t an option, The Mosie Baby Kit is designed to be an easy, comfortable, and accessible alternative to try at home. No matter what you decide, we hope this guide makes it easier to find the best kit for your next try. Remember, we’re here for you every step of the way.
Kristyn Hodgdon is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Rescripted.