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Knock Yourself Up: A How-To Guide To Self-Impregnation

Try this at home: getting pregnant

Try this at home: getting pregnant

Would you knock yourself up if you could? Leave the man (and the mess) right out of the equation and just *poof* make a baby?

One of our editors dug up this great essay from 2008 on little known facts about sex. Among them, some worms can reproduce themselves.

So can some women. At least, they can with a little help from a test tube full of donor sperm and some lube.

There’s a term for solo reproduction: parthenogenesis. Early feminists were fascinated with the idea. One, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, wrote a book about a whole nation of women who reproduced spontaneously, with no men involved.

Today, for lesbian mamas or single ladies looking to have babies on their own, it’s just a simple choice. The DIY approach is faster and cheaper than going the full fertility clinic route. If you’re not having any fertility issues, you can do it at home yourself, often successfully.

I’ve tried this at home.

Not on myself, but I helped out a friend who was trying to get pregnant. It’s a tricky, sticky process. Harder to manage than the old-fashioned way I conceived my kids. But there’s also something incredibly empowering about it: here we are, two women with the equivalent of a home chemistry kit and the carefully preserved contents of a used condom, getting ready to make a baby. Without a man.

Here’s how we did it:

  • Test for ovulation. You’ll want to track your cycle, and use a fertility test kit from the drugstore to confirm ovulation.
  • Acquire sperm. We got some from a friend, but you can purchase sperm from a sperm bank. Be sure to handle it carefully and keep it at the right temperature.
  • Get a microscope. You’ll want to check the motility to make sure they’re still alive and kicking. Motility means how much they move around; you see this under a microscope. Google can help you get a sense of how much movement you should see. The Internet is amazing.
  • Get a small glass pipet, like an eyedropper. A turkey baster is actually the wrong tool for this job. You want something small that you can scoop the sperm up with and dispense it from quickly.
  • Lube. You want lube for this, but not the regular stuff you buy at the drugstore. Shop online for a lubricant that promotes fertility. Regular brands can impede sperm (though by no means enough to use them as birth control).
  • Latex gloves. Or nitrile ones if you have a latex sensitivity. You’ll be touching your genitals (or your partner’s, if you’re doing this to someone else). You don’t want their fluids or the sperm all over your hands, and you do need to put your fingers pretty far up there to get the sperm in place.
  • You can use a speculum to open things up if you’re having trouble reaching the cervix. Otherwise, just use your fingers to guide the pipet. Apply the sperm as directly to the cervix as you can.
  • If you’re the hopefully-about-to-be-pregnant lady, lie back with your hips tilted upward for about twenty minutes, dreaming sweet dreams of storks delivering bundles of joy, or the Queen of England, or whatever you like.

It might sound weird. It was. It was also magical (even though it sadly did not take). The world is full of jokes about lesbians with turkey basters, but you wouldn’t laugh if you’d tried it. Trying to conceive a baby remains the most sacred thing I’ve ever done, both when it involved my womb and when I was helping someone else out. Now I know why men walk around like they’re gods after they’ve gotten their lady pregnant.

I would totally knock up a woman with a test tube full of donated sperm any day of the week. In a fantasy world like Gilman’s where sperm wasn’t necessary, I’d be even happier to do it with the power of my brain.

I’m not sure I’d get myself pregnant, though. For some of us, getting pregnant was the best part of being pregnant. For others, having a baby without the hassle of the husband is a cherished dream. I’m both of those people, depending on the day. Raising a kid alone hasn’t ever really appealed to me, and conception was definitely the highlight of both my pregnancies.

If you had the chance to knock yourself up with no messy man to deal with, would you do it?

Photo: mahalie

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