Dr. Jennifer Hintzsche, Ph.D.
What to Look for in a Home Insemination Kit
You’ve likely read the term “turkey baster method” more times than you can count. No. Just no. When looking for a home insemination kit (or assisted reproduction kit), you want to make sure you’re getting the best of the best. Here, we’re going to break down what you should really be looking for and… it doesn’t involve a bird.
Make Sure It’s Sterile
Imagine for a moment that you’re at the doctor’s office waiting to get a blood sample taken. The nurse attending to you goes to pick up a needle. You watch as he grabs an unpackaged, exposed needle that’s just sort of lying around.
How would you feel about having that needle jabbed into your vein? Not great, I’m guessing — and for good reason. When it comes to our health and the things that we put into our bodies, it’s important that proper protocol is followed. It needs to be sterile, whether it's a needle or anything else because, um, gross. Also–infections. Let’s avoid those if we can.
Home insemination tools are no different and making sure they’re sterile is a much bigger deal than you may realize. If you’re not a total science geek like me, it’s normal to overlook something like this.
It all has to do with the delicate balance of bacteria in the vagina. Like other parts of the body, the vagina has both good and bad bacteria living inside of it. The term given to the mini ecosystems of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on and inside our bodies is “microbiome”. Recent research shows that when the vaginal microbiome is imbalanced, it can negatively impact fertility.
What this means in practical terms is that if an unsterile syringe is inserted into the vagina, new bacteria can be introduced that can disrupt the vaginal microbiome. That’s the last thing you’d want when you’re trying desperately to get pregnant!