So, you want to have a baby. Let me tell you a little story. Sometimes, when a man and a woman love each other very much as friends, the man puts some semen in a cup and gives it to the woman along with a pile of porn. What? That wasn’t the story you were expecting?
Honestly, if you’re using a friend as the donor and they live nearby and if there are no known fertility issues, and if the donor has cleared all their STD tests, you’re much better off doing this the old-fashioned way. No, not having sex. Gross. I’m talking about at-home insemination. If you time it right with your ovulation, you statistically have almost the same chance of getting pregnant using the turkey-baster method as you would having intercourse with someone who produces sperm.
Ovulation tracking is the key to success here. There are strip tests you can pee on, home saliva tests, apps, special thermometers, cervical mucus monitoring and also a groovy but expensive toy that monitors your temperature from inside you and sends the information to an app, which is particularly effective for people with unpredictable cycles. Do your research about optimal times to inseminate, spend a few months listening to your body, and then you should be good to go.
- If you’re inseminating alone and want to hedge your bets by masturbating toward an ever-helpful orgasm, make sure you have porn within arm’s reach. Good porn. The last thing you want is to be lying there for half an hour trying desperately to get turned on when all you can think about is how your platonic pal’s semen is now swishing around inside you. My first time, I had this idea that I wanted to conceive my child while thinking beautiful pure thoughts. I tried to give myself an orgasm this way, but I didn’t even get close. So, I decided on a compromise: queer PC porn on my phone. Problem was, half the people in the videos were my friends — which is a total mood-killer. I ended up crossing the finish line to some heteronormative bleached-blond cheerleader orgy soundtrack. Not quite the immaculate conception I’d had in mind.
- Make sure you do the deed in a space that can provide privacy for you both. My first insemination attempt took place in a studio apartment with no private bedrooms, so I ended up nervously hanging the washing out in the courtyard while my friend did his business in my house. When he was finished, he ran off in a panic, leaving the offending jar on my kitchen bench. It was painfully awkward. If the donor lives near enough, some people choose to simply pick the jar up and drive it home for a more intimate session (you’ll need to keep it warm on the drive by holding it between your legs or under a passenger’s arm if someone is with you).
- Pick out your holy grail carefully. Whether it’s a golden chalice or a Homer Simpson coffee mug (what? I have style), choose something that feels appropriate to capture that precious sperm.
- Don’t use a turkey baster. That’s a bit of a myth. Instead, get a 5-milliliter medical syringe (not a needle syringe — one for liquid medicine) from your local drugstore. Or you can buy one of those fancy Softcups online that are designed to hold the semen up close to your cervix for a few hours.
- Don’t leave the holy grail near your head. Once you’ve got all the semen in your syringe, move the cup far, far away. I repeatedly forget this vital step and find myself propped up against the wall with my legs in the air, empty cup sitting by my head while I make a face in disgust. Because for those who may not be aware of this, semen stinks. And once you’ve inseminated yourself, the idea is to stay still for half an hour, so if you’re alone, that leaves you stuck with the scent of your friend’s orgasm wafting up your nose.
- Don’t forget to wash the holy grail out afterward. For the above reasons.