The Pros and Cons of IUI vs. DYI

That would be intrauterine insemination at a doctor’s office vs. do-it-yourself intravaginal insemination at home with a needle-less syringe.

Cons of IUI:

1. I had to drive to Manhattan after the most stressful day of the school year to avoid carrying a liquid nitrogen tank of sperm on the F train. If I had taken the train, I would have laughed the whole way. Which, it turns out, would have been preferable to cursing the whole way. (Next time, should there be a next time, Dr. Mug will have filled out the form to have the babyjuice delivered right to his office, so I won’t face this particular problem again.)

2. I had to wait for other people to go before me. At home I’m always first in line. In the waiting room, I swore I felt a slight cramp and was pretty sure I was ovulating on the spot. This was, of course, all in my head.

3. Slight cramping. Just slight. But get THIS — I asked Dr. Mug if I should take and Advil if I had bad cramps. He said absolutely not because studies have shown that something in Advil inhibits ovulation! WTF? I did not know this. Did you know this?

4. Ugly fluorescent lighting, not-as-comfortable-as-my-own-bed doctor’s bed and four people in the room. Nothing beats doing it at home in your own bed with candle-light, music and a little romance. Well, at least we got to hold hands… kind of awkwardly, backwards around the ultrasound machine.

5. I had to assure the doctor and several techs that it was the correct sperm around twenty times. At my house we know which sperm is which. At one point I said, “I don’t really care which sperm it is, as long as it works.” To which my honey responded that someone else might actually care. A lot.

6. The speculum. Yeesh.

7. After the insem, I had to drive back home. But only after buying an iced green tea latte at Starsucks. I am Starsucks illiterate, as there are plenty of wonderful privately-owned coffee shops in my neighborhood. When I kept standing at the counter waiting for my tea, and I told the barrista as much, everyone behind me looked at me like I was an alien, because I didn’t know about the secret food drop-off place. Which is why I choose to remain Starsucks illiterate. Anyway, I didn’t like having to drive home after the insem, since I normally just go to sleep afterwards.

Pros of IUI:

1. High tech! They had a groovy sperm de-froster that was way cooler than my travel mug and meat thermometer. I got to see the spermy guys inside my body. They looked like a superhighway. Apparently, there were 13 million of them. Which we knew were active, because the doctor looked at them swimming under a microscope. I also got to know for damn sure that I had not-yet ovulated, but was just about to do so, because my follicle was 23 mm long. According to Co’s comment, that’s just about as long as they get right before they pop.

2. It was cheaper. Who knew? My insurance covers so much, that all I had to pay for was the babyjuice. Dr. Mug told me to only order one vial, so it was $615 with delivery, rather than the usual two ICI vials for $850. (Though, honestly, what I’m missing in sperm costs, I’ve probably made up for in co-payments.) The IUI vial was a bit more pricey than ICI, but I hope I’m getting more bang for the buck. Let’s see, $615 divided by 13 million… that’s 0.00005 bucks per sperm. Not bad, I guess.

2. Doctor jokes. Actually, he stole this one from a patient, who he thinks was a lesbian comedienne. (Could it have been Judy Gold?) He said that when he showed her the vial to make sure it was the right donor, she replied, “Hmmm, I thought he’d be taller.”

3. Nobody had to touch the sperm. I mean, yeah, deep inside my reproductive system I touched it. But I didn’t need to smell it, or wash it off of anything.

4. Secret messages. My TTC neighbor had been there that morning for an ultrasound, so she told Dr. Mug to tell my egg to run like Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Jackie Joyner-Kersee egg + Mark Spitz sperm = Cakie’s little sibling. Dr. Mug jokes that if we get two more patients from our building, he’ll do ultrasound house-calls.

5. A healthy dose of reality in the form of statistics. After he finished, Dr. Mug said, “Don’t get too hung up on any one cycle. Couples using fresh sperm only have up to a 20% chance to get pregnant each insemination. With frozen sperm it is slightly less (I think it is up to 17%? Co? I know you know it.) So don’t let it all bank on this one try.” True. True. And good for all of us to hear. However, this is my 7th try, so if my odds are 2 in 10, doesn’t that mean I’m about to roll my number?

Sorry for the delay in the post. I basically passed out when I got home. Actually, I watched a good, but difficult-to-watch DVD. Then I passed out. Now my job is to not start thinking that every little twinge in my body is a sign of pregnancy. My job is to not give myself psychosomatic symptoms. Luckily, week one of my 2WW (that’s two-week wait, Mom) will be in South Carolina with my in-laws. There, I’ll be too concerned with my over-stuffed belly to worry about my uterus.



Filed under IUI, my hon, TTC

10 responses to “The Pros and Cons of IUI vs. DYI

  1. Ooo! So exciting! Not having done any DYIs I have no basis for comparison. But there’s something satisfying about knowing that things at least got to where they’re going (e.g., in the uterus & not just hobnobbing somewhere just inside my vajayjay). Even though your doctor did say not to stake everything on this first medicalized try, I will go ahead & cross all my fingers for you!

  2. Lo

    WordPress ate my comment. I’m bitter.

    But psyched for you!!

    We did one DIY and the smirk on the Fed Ex guy’s face said…this is Park Slope.

    We did not ever see the sperm swimming in Co. That is way cool!!

    We did, however, once calculate our cost per sperm. I believe they were slightly more expensive:

    Best wishes!!! We’re crossing everything for you over here. We think it should work. So there.

  3. Co

    Ha ha ha. You asked ME for stats? I’m such a math geek. I’d love to share the stats I’ve read/heard/etc.

    Apologies if you already know any of this. DIY stats vary depending on if you use fresh or frozen. With fresh, if it’s a well-timed insem, your odds are about the same as with well-timed het intercourse…about 16% (1 in 6). With frozen sperm, a DIY ICI has about an 8% chance of working (1 in 12). Fresh sperm can live 3-5 days in cervical mucus. Frozen sperm, no matter how well nourished by good CM, can live only about 24 hours at most. Given that it takes ’em 9 hours just to swim thru the vajayjay, well, you can see why at home ICIs could take a year to work, and that’s if they’re well-timed and the woman is fertile. True, some women will have it happen sooner for them, but not all. Think of it this way… if you’re using frozen sperm, an IUI doubles your chances that it’ll work over a DIY ICI with frozen swimmers. And unlike a DIY insem, you know this was well-timed because you saw your 23-mm follie and because you used the trigger shot which guarantees ovulation. Your odds are about 16%-20% per IUI, I’ve been told. That doesn’t mean it will take you personally 5 or 6 IUIs though. Someone’s gotta be the lucky lady to get knocked up on that first IUI. Why not you?

    I have read that Advil possibly inhibits ovulation. I’d avoid it around ovulation time, but with a trigger shot, I’m not sure it matters so much. My body was always so damn obedient to whatever hormone I put in it. But I did avoid Advil religiously.

    Cramping before or after an IUI is a good thing, I think. The cramping could be your follie growing and getting ready to pop. But ideal IUI timing is to ovulate 8 hours either side of the IUI. I’ve heard the odds are a little better if you ovulate after than if you ovulate before, but really, if you ovulate right before an IUI while you’re in the waiting room, that’s fine, because the spermies bypass that 9-hour swim through the vagina and get shot right up to where they need to be for the final haul to meet up with the egg.

    Hurray for the first IUI! I hope this is the one. BTW… can your R.E.’s office or the lab he uses store sperm for you so, if this cycle doesn’t work (and I hope it did), you can order and ship several vials at a time? We used to ship 3 vials at a time to save on shipping costs which are almost as fricking expensive as the sperm.

    Good luck!!!

  4. S.

    Our DIY costs for fresh were one round-trip plane ticket per cycle (around $250) plus providing home-cooked meals and one dinner out each weekend.

    We had one bad, bad speculum moment, however. Better to leave those in the hands of the professionals.

    The one symptom you can’t fake is the ballooning boobs. I never heard of anyone imagining herself up a cupsize in a week or two.

  5. Whew. School’s out, so I can sit around and respond to comments!

    Co – I knew you’d come through.
    Lo – Your sperm appears to have cost less because you didn’t factor in delivery costs. But you had more than twice as many swimmers. What’s up with that?
    S – I don’t know what to say. Every TWW thus far has made my boobs feel way bigger. I think my perception is skewed.

    Thanks for the crossed fingers, all.

  6. vee

    Yay! I’m all for hearing you bigging up the IUI with frozen stuff, cos that’s where we’re heading next (can’t wait!)

    I’m also much preferring yours (and Co’s statistics) – our doc told us 10-12% chance per cycle, but I reckon saving them that 9 hour swim has to be worth more than that!

    Fingers crossed tightly for you.

  7. E.D. Blogger

    Wow we are going through similiar issues. I really like your site. Good luck.

    I will visit again.

  8. Pingback: How To Inseminate At Home « oneofhismoms

  9. KM

    Hey! i found through my obsessive google searches on all things baby-making related.
    I just came from my RE’s office where I was all ready to undergo my first IUI until i heard the price tag of 1500 dollars- not including sperm. (oh and by the way I can’t use the free sperm, only the ones from the store). So of course your post about the insurance covering the cost of your IUI intrigued me. The doctor said the only way the insurance would cover it is if I were married. (nice catch 22 for queers there) I’ve already got my donor flying his ass all over the continental US to jack off in a cup for the last 6 months, so I’m pretty sure asking him to marry me to commit insurance fraud might be pushing the envelope a little.
    so- this is my first venture into writing to a stranger about the ins and outs of my most intimate details of my reproductive life. It was fun- thanks. Any advice I would truly appreciate.

  10. Hi!
    Great post! We are currently trying DIY with donor sperm (it’s very fresh 🙂 ). Our donor comes to donate to our place, so the stuff will be at the “right location” within 10 minutes. Here in Finland you can’t buy sperm to home, only clinics can buy sperm from the banks (domestic and abroad).

    And great blog overall, gotta find some more time to read more posts. My partner is trying to get pregnant so I’m the co-mom 🙂

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