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The biggest thing is to make everything as clean as possible, to reduce the chance of infection. Clean sheets, scrubbed hands, sterile supplies, etc.
I used OPK's twice a day, starting 3 days before I expected to ovulate. We inseminated 12 and 24 hours after the first positive OPK, which also corresponded to the opening of the cervix (the os) being wide open, which indicates ovulation. Just for kicks, we checked the cervix 36 hours after my first +OPK and it had closed, so we knew we nailed the timing. Some people will ovulate earlier or later, so check all the signs to determine your timing.
We purchased a plastic speculum online, which came in sterile packaging. After positioning the speculum (it was more comfortable to do that part myself), DP used a sterile cotton swab to gently remove the cervical mucous from the os/cervix before inserting the sterile catheter of sperm. The catheter was inserted through the os just to the point of resistance. The sperm was slowly deposited, and the catheter slowly removed. I didn't feel a thing.
I stayed lying down for awhile (periodically turning to either side, just in case it'd help!). I did have some mild cramping after the first insem. If you notice anything worse than mild cramping, see a doctor - you could have punctured the uterus with the catheter, or the catheter may have pushed some foreign object/secretion/etc. from your vagina into the uterus - a uterine infection is very serious.
Fortunately for us, it only took this cycle to conceive our now 2-year old son.
Originally Posted by TryingMommas
Sure, and thanks for the congrats! Sorry this is long!
First off, you need to have a syringe and a sterile catheter to insert into the cervix. We tried to get one from the company (the one we used was called "the curve" and was also called an intrauterine cannula) but they will only sell to medical providers. So, we ended up buying ours from midwives.
Secondly, I would recommend trying an intra-cervical (ici) insemination before you do your first iui, like a warm-up. The difference between a real ici (some people call vaginal insems ici) and an IUI is how far you insert the catheter - I"m not 100% sure, but I think that less than an inch into the os is still inside the channel of the cervix, so that would be ici. For IUI, the catheter goes futher past the cervical channel and into the uterus itself.
Thirdly, I would NOT recommend that you do an IUI yourself at home, unless the following are all true for you:
1) you are comfortable with a speculum in you for a decent period of time and can easily find and look at your cervix this way - it really helpes if you have been observing your cervix regularly and know how open your os is at its peak of fertility.
2) your partner or pal who will do the insem is comfortable moving very slowly, has steady hands, and is really willing to do a delicate procedure that may result in some discomfort for you
3) you have a speculum, sterile syringe & sterile catheter for each attempt, and a headlamp or very bright floor lamp (partner needs both hands to *slowly* insert the catheter without touching the sides of your vagina on the way, and to then *slowly* squeeze in the sperm, and then really *slowly* withdraw the catheter - so flashlight won't work)
4) you can handle holding or putting your legs/butt up on pillows and keeping them up in the air in a funky position for a while - no stirrups at home unless you happen to have an exam table in your basement!
5) You have had a professional/someone knowledgable explain the process to you step-by-step ahead of time and you both know the drill and are comfortable with it (our midwife told us how to do it).
FYI - we attempted home IUIs five times, but only actually got the catheter in far enough twice for it to be considered an IUI ... the other 3 times, my DP didn't want to go in further so we did ICI (including the times when we got pg!).
If you decide to go for it, I'd be happy to give you even more detail if you want. Good luck!