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How do I know when to have the sperm shipped from the bank?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much to all you kind people who are helping me through all these new steps on this ttc with donor sperm journey. I really appreciate you letting me visit over here so much lately.

So we are getting close to ordering our sperm. I mean- in a few weeks. But how do I know exactly when to order and when to insem?

I know how to chart, and I know I ususally get 3 or so days of EWCM, and I know how to do the opks. But sinc eI will be using frozen/thawed sperm, should I only insem on the actual day of O?

And for me I can O anywhere from CD14-CD21, ususally around CD19 or so. So how do I know when to order the sperm to be shipped?
Does it really stay frozen in the tank for 7 days once you get it?

Also- how many vials/insems would anyone advise to do in a cycle? One? Two? More?

Thanks much
post #2 of 14
Congrats on making it to this step!

I say wait for Lex, the guru of frozen insems, to weigh in here.

And I'm sure there's much wisdom beyond her as well.

Good luck!
post #3 of 14
Ah yes! The exciting "When do I ship?" debate. This is really dependant on your cycle and your ovulation signs. Also, sometimes your body likes to do crazy things, like ovulate early or late just to make things fun when you have that 'ticking time bomb of doom' on the way.

I would say that it's better to have it there early than late. If you're late in ovulating, at least you can get the tank recharged. I've had to do this a few times, even though the liquid nitrogen probably would have been good for a few more days. They only guarantee it for a week, including shipping time. You can get the tanks refilled at places that supply oxygen tanks for medical companies and let me tell you... it's quite an experience having to get it refilled and they start asking you questions... As a caution though, some banks will tell you that you absolutely can't recharge the tanks and almost all of them have additional charges if the tanks aren't returned within a certain number of days. So, it really is best to try to do it as close to O as possible. If you usually have 3 days of EWCM, then you might be ok with having it shipped overnight at the first sign of that. I usually had mine shipped out before I had fertile signs, and then the tank would be here when I got the positive OPK. One time, I got a mostly positive OPK on a Saturday,much earlier than expected, and I had to have the tank shipped out overnight on Sunday to be here Monday. As you can imagine, I was panicking that it wouldn't get here in time. It ended up costing a pretty penny to have that emergency shipped like that and I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone. So definitely early is the way to go.

For us, we did two units per cycle, spaced approximately 24 and 36 hours post OPK surge. At least that's what I think we did... From charting, it seemed like I ovulated around 36 hours post surge. With frozen you want to get the timing to as close to ovulation as possible. If you're using ICI sperm, they can generally live for about 12 hours or a little more in the body. IUI (washed) sperm I've heard can only live about 6 hours. So timing needs to be a little more precise than with fresh sperm.
post #4 of 14
I would usually order the sperm right at the start of my cycle. I didn't know exactly when I'd ovulate, but I'd just order the sperm to arrive one day before my earliest ever ovulation. Only once did we have to have the tank recharged (we went to a farmer who sold bull semen to have it done ).

I always did 2 IUIs per cycle. I'm not totally sure about the timing for IVI with frozen sperm, but I would think that EWCM would be more important. You need EWCM to get the sperm through the cervix, so I guess the ideal timing would be as close to O, but while you still have EWCM. I've heard that thawed "unwashed" sperm can live up to 24 hours, so I think you can insem a little earlier than you would with IUI sperm (which only lives 8 hours or so).

With our last cycle (first time trying for baby #4), we had the sperm in storage at a local facility, so we didn't have to worry about the timing of shipment. And that was nice. We only had one vial that cycle and lucked out with a BFP regardless.

Clearly, it only takes one vial of sperm to get pregnant, but having more than one just ups your chances of getting the timing right.


post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Okay- so more specifically, can someone please talk about when to inseminate in relation to +opk's?

I have only known that if ttc with intercourse, one should have sex as soon as she sees the +opk which indicates Ovulation the next day or so. So is this the most accurate indication of when to inseminate?!

I feel like the ewcm is a vague sign for doing frozen sperm insem, especially with only 2 tries per cycle.

So- I think my question is, should I insem the day I see the + opk?

thanks for clarification. I am sure I will figure it out intuitively but I do also want to continue to be as informed as possible.
post #6 of 14
We did ours at 24 and 36 hours post positive opk. From temping, I realized that I O'd about 36 hours after getting a positive. Sometimes I think the mistake people make using frozen is to inseminate too early.
post #7 of 14
Just rechecked my chart notes from this last time. Actually it was 24 and 32 hours post the positive OPK. We used IUI samples which have a shorter life span than ICI so we tried to get it as close to O as possible without missing the window for the cervix to be open. The second sample seemed to go through the cervix a little rougher than the first one. It's possible the first time irritated it a little, but it's also possible that I O'd sometime just before that 32 hour sample. In any case, the timing at least for us was perfect.

I know some inseminate a little earlier than we did. It all sort of depends on how close in relation to your positive OPK your temp increase is.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks Quasar.
I will try 24 and 36 hrs after the first +opk.

We are getting closer- expecting AF today and in the proccess of ordering sperm- so now just waiting for the next O to come around.
Me and dh are both really excited and hoping all goes well!
post #9 of 14
The recommendation for IUI is usually 12 and 36 hours post-positive OPK (and you really need to know right when the OPK first turns positive, which IME means testing with OPKs at least 3 times a day (I would often get a positive for the first time in the evening).

I'm not sure if the ICI timing recommendations would be any different, but I would allow 24 hours between your insems just because that's how long the sperm lives, and you will cover a larger window that way than if you do two insems 12 hours apart (which can make sense for folks doing IUI since IUI sperm only lives for about 8 hours).

EWCM is pretty critical, without it the sperm can't get through your cervix (this is one reason why many people using frozen sperm end up doing IUI, because generally speaking, EWCM is pretty much gone at the time when you're about to O (which is when it's ideal to add frozen sperm to the mix). If you know how many days of EWCM you usually have, I would do one of your inseminations on the last day of EWCM, even if you have only just gotten a positive OPK.

Good Luck!


p.s. the timing that has been successful for us was:

#1: 2 IUIs 6 and 24 hours post positive OPK

#2: 2 IUIs 12 and 36 hours post positive OPK

#3: 1 IUI 36 hours post HCG trigger shot (24 hours post positive OPK)
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
So, does actual Ovulation occur the day after the last EWCM?!
Does it occur at the time that it switches from EWCM to dry?

If we are doing two insems, and I do one on my last day of ewcm, should I do the other before that or after that when the ewcm is gone?

Because I think my inclination would be to do both insems while I have ewcm. Is that right?

(You guys have already explained it thoroughly so sorry to be so obsessive here- I am sure I am not the first woman ttc who has ever obsessed about this!)
post #11 of 14
I think it varies from person to person, but I know that I usually had (back in the day when I was keeping track) 3 days of EWCM, and it was generally on the last day that I would get a positive on the OPK (meaning ovulation would occur in 12-36 hours). So, I would probably actually release an egg (or 2!) a day or 2 after my last day of EWCM. This is the perfect set-up for people using fresh sperm because the sperm has those 3 days of EWCM to travel through the cervix and make its way into the uterus where it can await the egg (ideal conception scenario involves sperm already waiting when the egg is released). Fresh sperm lives for at least 3 days (and possibly up to 5-6 days), so its got plenty of time to hang around.

The set-up is a little less ideal for those of us using frozen sperm because the process of being frozen and thawed shortens the lifespan of the sperm down to just about 24 hours. So you've somehow got to figure out how to both inseminate early enough that you still have *some* EWCM to help the sperm through the cervix, but late enough so that the egg will be released before the thawed-sperm die.

So, to answer your question directly, YES, ideally you would do both of your ICI/IVI inseminations while you still had EWCM, but that timing method usually disagrees with the OPK timing method. So it's confusing. That's why my suggestion for you, doing two inseminations, would be to try and follow both methods. If I were in your shoes, I'd do the first insemination on my last day of EWCM (this requires you knowing how many days of EWCM you usually have), and the second 24 hours post positive OPK. One method increases the chances of the sperm getting through the cervix easily, and the other increases the chances of the sperm still being alive at the time of O. And you can just hope that the sperm who got there too early live longer than average for frozen sperm, and that the sperm from the second insemination can make it through your cervix OK even if you don't have any EWCM left. Of course, it's entirely possible that YOU get a positive OPK on your first or second day of EWCM in which case I would go by the standard OPK timing method.

I'm just theorizing now, but I would guess that women who ovulate while they still have EWCM or closer to the time of positive OPK would have a better chance of getting pregnant using frozen sperm and ICI. I actually never even tried ICI myself; we read that IUI was more effective when using frozen sperm (which makes sense since you take the need for EWCM out of the picture) and decided to jump right to it.


post #12 of 14
You will read different timing suggestions. I would agree that the most common suggestion is 12 and 36hrs post +OPK. But we felt that 12 hour one was too soon and had success with the cycle where we switched to 24 and 36hrs post +OPK.

And I think EWCM can vary a lot in women too. If I recall correctly, I think that EWCM drying up is triggered by the hormones released at ovulation, so there should still be EWCM up until ovulation. But I also have read about women having it for a day or two past ovulation. Quasar's EWCM and cervix were still somewhat fertile looking the day after O (it was definitely less than the days before, but still present).

If you are 12hrs post +OPK and you are having other great fertility signs, then go with that. Otherwise, I still think you should wait a bit... or you could split the difference and do 18hrs post +OPK for the first insem.

Oh, I have also heard different numbers for the life expectancy of frozen ICI sperm. I have read as little as 12 hours of viability.

I have probably just confused you more than helped you. Good Luck with your timing!
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone! I guess we will just go for it and hope for the best.
It makes me feel like- how does anyone ever conceive this way with the odds as they are! But I think it may be okay. the donor we are using also has a very high sperm count so hopefully that will be an extra nudge for us.

After over a year of ttc with no sperm but not knowing it, plus an extra many months figuring out what to do, it would be Lovely to actually get pregnant on our first insem cycle! I will let you guys know! I am now on CD 2 and I tend to Ovulate around CD 21-23 I think. (long cycles)
post #14 of 14
Good luck, Katie! You've certainly been waiting long enough. I hope this does the trick!

(And yay for high sperm counts! I'm positive that that's what made the difference on the two cycles I got pregnant.)
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