Once you've decided to use donor sperm, you have to make a choice about how you want to use it. If you're considering artificial insemination, as opposed to fertilization through IVF, you basically have two options: having an intrauterine insemination procedure carried out by a medical professional, or doing it yourself at home.
The DIY Method
Jokingly referred to as the "turkey baster" insemination, the DIY method of insemination is now carried out more often using a needleless syringe (note that's NEEDLELESS) than an actual turkey baster. Although it's thought of as a DIY method, you'd have to be very supple indeed to actually carry out the procedure yourself. You will need someone to help you.
Home insemination does bring with it some risks, not least that a non-trained person could tear vaginal skin and possibly cause an infection. (Using sperm that hasn't been screened for disease is also a risk associated with this type of insemination, but you can, in some cases, take screened sperm home from a sperm bank to use for DIY insemination).
The information here is not the advice of a medical doctor. You must speak to a doctor about your intention to carry out this procedure if you want to be sure that it is done safely and correctly.
You will need a fresh semen sample (your sperm donation), collected in a clean receptacle, and a needless syringe. You draw the semen up into the syringe and tap the syringe until all the air pockets are gone (this is EXTREMELY important - if air bubbles get into the vagina they can cause damage). Then you need to lie on your back with your legs open and raised. The person helping you now has to insert the syringe into your vagina, and gently push the semen out of the syringe and into your vaginal passage. The aim is get the sperm cells as close as possible to the cervix, but you shouldn't push the syringe into the cervix - this can cause tearing and infection. After the semen has been inserted, you should remain in the lying position for half an hour or more. (Sperm cells take 30 minutes on average to swim to the fallopian tubes).
Of course, to maximize your chances of becoming pregnant, you should coordinate the insemination with your menstrual cycle, so that you have semen in your cervix at the time of ovulation. The best thing is perhaps to carry out the procedure several times during your fertile phase.
The name for the medical insemination procedure carried out at fertility clinics is called IUI. This procedure is described in detail in our IUI section. IUI insemination involves semen screening - so you know that the sperm donation you are receiving is safe. IUI is often performed under local anesthetic. It involves inserting sperm into the uterus using a long, fine needle. Although it's much more expensive than the DIY option, the success rates of IUI are much higher.