After finding donor sperm, there are two ways to become pregnant: artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. In this lesson we’ll focus on artificial insemination.
For at-home inseminations, people often use an over-the-counter tool to place sperm in the vagina (technically referred to as intra-vaginal insemination). There isn’t great data about the efficacy of intra-vaginal insemination, so as a proxy we’ll share the data collected on intra-cervical insemination, which we can assume is a bit more effective than intra-vaginal insemination.
This is the process where sperm is placed near a woman’s cervix and the procedure can be performed at home. While there are certainly positives to at home insemination (lower cost and more convenient), success rates tend to be lower when compared to the more popular alternative, intrauterine insemination (more expensive and performed at a clinic).
What’s more, doing an at-home insemination with sperm from a known donor creates complexities including a more difficult pathway to legally demonstrating that a donor has no rights to the child, which could make it harder for a non-carrying mother to be granted parental status.
During intrauterine insemination (IUI), sperm is deposited further along the female reproductive tract. This has the advantage of improving the odds of sperm reaching the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg (hence the higher rates of success). The disadvantage of IUI is that it must be performed in a medical setting.
There are a few different permutations on how IUI can be done, but in general this is the simplest, least invasive method of conception for lesbian women, at least in a medical setting, and the one that has the lowest up-front costs.
That said, IUI can still require a fair amount of time at a doctors office, and the costs can add up. The cost of an IUI cycle can range from $500 to $4,000 and depends on which, if any, medications are taken.
We cover every issue for lesbian women hoping to have children: from selecting a sperm donor (using a sperm bank or a known donor), doing an at-home insemination, or using a fertility doctor for IUI, IVF, or using reciprocal IVF together with a partner. We cover the success rates, costs, risks, and some important legal issues.