QUESTION: My wife and I decided that whoever becomes pregnant first can carry our first child, so we’ve been trying to conceive with the help of our best [gay] male friend. We’re doing this at home, using the needleless syringe method. We’ve been trying for about a year, and neither of us has conceived yet. I’m 30 and my wife’s 28. Both of us are interested in holistic approaches that may help us but we’ve only just started researching techniques. We both work full-time at this point and only one of us has a stressful job. What are the chances that we’re both infertile? Are there support groups for people like us? We’re grateful for any advice you can give. Thanks!
Dr. Doyle: Home inseminations do certainly work, especially with young women (like you) and can be a most welcome alternative to the obviously less private, more clinical setups that are an inevitable part of the medical environment.
So good luck !
But… if you’ve been trying for a year, and neither of you has conceived yet, here are some things to consider:
The chances that either one of you (or your sperm donor) has a fertility issue is <10-15 % (each). Usually after a year it is often prudent to investigate those issues a bit with some basic fertility testing.
You can also increase your odds at home by using ovulation predictor kits if you are not doing that already. If there is an irregular cycle or an inconsistency involving when the kits change, you might be wise to see a practitioner to do a bit of hormone testing to see whether something could be done to regulate or maximize the precision and timing of your ovulation. I also work with women who want to do home inseminations by teaching them how to insert a speculum, identify the cervical opening and do direct intra-cervical inseminations, since inserting the semen high up directly into the cervical mucus (rather than the vagina) does increase the odds of the sperm getting to the egg. If that doesn’t work you would probably need to strongly consider intrauterine insemination using washed sperm which gives you the very the best chances of success because the sperm is filtered or “washed”, and then only the best sperm is separated out and placed high up into the uterus right at the opening to the fallopian tube where the egg is entering. But obviously that is not an option for home-based approaches unless of course you have s perm lab in your basement.
The holistic approaches that definitely has proven to have great merit is acupuncture, and yes, there are certainly support groups and forums to access, like Proud Parenting, RESOLVE, and Fertility Authority, to mention only a few.
Ask Dr. Doyle