In Your Home Fertility Treatments? What are They?

By Sapp (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Many couples are turning to over-the-counter products that aid conception, in some cases using them before, during and after assisted reproductive techniques. Are these products effective? What are they? Can they actually increase the odds of conception for infertile couples?

What are In Home Fertility Treatments?

A product called the Stork is available for purchase online or at drug stores. The goal of the device is to deliver sperm to the cervix and keep it there for hours, in order to increase the chances of successful fertilization.

Many would be parents are turning to at-home products to help them conceive. Couples can use these treatments before, during and after medical assistance. These in-home devices can range from mechanically helping the sperm unite with the egg, to diagnosing what is preventing a couple from conceiving. The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved some of these devices, some are not approved.

For a couple who wishes to conceive, but can’t use intercourse as an option, it’s possible to use donor sperm and a syringe. Using the “turkey baster” method is certainly an option, but it’s very important to make sure all items are sterile.

Another type of assisted insemination uses a device called a cervical cap, and it works by holding sperm in a cup-like device against the cervix, thereby giving sperm a chance to swim through. The cervical cap should not be confused with intra-uterine insemination, which is a medical procedure in which sperm is directly inserted into a woman’s uterus.

The Pros of an In Home Fertility Treatment

These in-home treatment options offer a couple the privacy of trying to conceive in their own home, while being much less costly than a fertility clinic. A standard work up in a fertility clinic can reach more than $12,000 according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. It’s important to remember that many couples face paying for fertility treatments out of pocket, because the fees aren’t paid for by private insurance.

Fertility experts say some of these devices are quite helpful, while others could potentially be harmful. Experts caution couples against believing everything they read online. Dr. Brian Levine, reproductive endocrinologist at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine states, “There’s a lot of emotion surrounding pregnancy and people look to do whatever they can to increase their odds and avoid seeing me.”

In the United States, 10-12% of couples are currently struggling with infertility. A growing number of single women, as well as gay and lesbian couples are eager to begin their family and some will resort to using in home fertility conception kits using sperm from a donor or a surrogate mother.
Doctors say the most useful product to help couples conceive is an ovulation kit. Dr. Levine states, “Some people are just having sex at the wrong time.”
Tests that can predict or confirm ovulation by detecting hormonal changes in a woman’s urine have been on the market for decades. Dozens of smart phones have apps that will help a woman track and graph out her monthly cycle. Some of these smart phone apps also have a sensor a woman will wear and it monitors the temperature and chemical changes in a woman’s skin.


Physicians say ovulation predictors are extremely useful for women who have an irregular menstrual cycle or may not ovulate monthly. However, ovulation kits are not always reliable and can be affected by illness or fertility drugs.
Expert say these at home tests are not and should not be used as a substitute for a semen analysis for men and a complete fertility work up for a woman.


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