Tracking your Ovulation

We bought some fertility strips from Amazon and we also bought a dual hormone digital clear blue test too.

The strips are 30 x One Step Highly Sensitive 20mIU Ovulation / Fertility Strip Tests (Wide Width). These are identical to what they supply to the NHS. They’re 99% accurate.

During ovulation there’s a surge in a hormone called Luteinizing hormone (LH) when this is present in urine it signifies that within 12-36 hours an egg will be released.

Any couple can use these strips if they want to have a greater chance at becoming pregnant as it gives you a good idea as to when you’re most fertile.

It is recommended that you track your ovulation for at least a couple of months so you get to know your body and have a good indication of when you ovulate.

The cheaper strips can only signal when you are actually ovulating whereas the clear blue test can show up to 4 (sometimes more) days leading up to ovulation (when the egg is released) and therefore increase your chances of being within the fertilisation window.

The clear blue kit shows a flashy face in the days leading up to ovulation.. it will show a solid face on the day of ovulation.

It is so important to get timing right you want to aim for insemination (or intercourse) on the day before the solid face so if you know you only get one flashy face then inseminate on this day as many times possible but keep in my the concentration of the sperm reduces each time.. as well as the day of the solid face.

Sperm can live up to 5 days and will lay dormant until an egg is released for fertilisation.

Cervical mucus is also really important.. as grim as it sounds cervical music is actually key in helping sperm swim up your fallopian tubes.

Mucus that is egg white in consistency and colour is no good..it will block the semen. You need to have clear almost watery mucus in order for the semen to attach.

Timing is Key

I can’t stress how important getting the timing right is!

Out of all or our attempts we only had the timing spot on for the final and successful attempt. There was always something that went wrong for the previous attempts..like the time we used the wrong ovulation strips and it was telling us that Mickie was ovulating.. 5 days in a row.. then I tested it under the tap and our tap water was ovulating apparently!

Women can only get pregnant on the day of ovulation, or the five days immediately prior.

Regardless of the length or consistency of a woman’s cycle, there are only as many as six days during each on which intercourse or insemination can result in conception.
These days are known as the fertile window.

There is no point in inseminating out of this window as there will be no egg ready to fertilise.

This is why it is so important to track your ovulation whether you’re single or in a straight or same sex couple. If you’re struggling  to conceive don’t just wing it.. invest in a ovulation monitor we used Clear Blue Dual Ovulation Monitor as we found the cheaper strips weren’t very reliable.

It feels like it takes longer because you’re not just continuously trying. You can only do it once a month but honestly the chances of getting pregnant without getting the timing right is much slimmer.

The Beginning

We first decided we were ready for children around 4 years into our relationship.

We were pretty solid relationship wise we were engaged to be married and extremely happy and content.

We were financially comfortable both of us working full time jobs, we were about to get on the housing ladder so we had a secure and stable environment to bring a baby into. I think this is really important.

My personal opinion is that if you’re not in a good place whether that’s mentally, financially or you’re in a toxic relationship then don’t bring a baby into it until you’re OK having a baby isn’t something to take lightly you’re responsible for another life for at least 18 years. Everything you do and say will mold this tiny, impressionable human being into the adult they become.

Scary stuff!

Having said that I do know people that have had unplanned pregnancies and I hold no judgement towards them – as long as the babies are healthy, happy and safe.

We had no idea how to go about starting a family despite spending hours and hours painlessly browsing the Internet for answers.

We visited our GP and to be honest we didn’t get very far at all – my GP advised me to look online!

So we were back to square one..browsing internet pages.

We did find out however, that in order for me to be the legal parent given that we had agreed Mickie would be the biological mum we would have to either be married (or civil partnered) or I would have to adopt the baby.

This wasn’t a big deal to us as we were engaged and planning to marry within the next couple of years but it did mean we’d have to put our plans on hold.

That was until I came across a website that recommended a reproduction clinic in Leeds if you go through a licensed clinic your partner can automatically be listed on the birth certificate. I sent an email requesting some leaflets..anything to give us some information on what we needed to do.

A week or so later we received some leaflets that explained how we could get started. They recommended booking an appointment to have an initial conversation and we would go from there.

The leaflet explained the difference between IUI and IVF… IUI to put it simply is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization.

Obviously being in a same sex relationship we would also require a sperm donor.

IVF is where the egg is physically removed from the woman and fertilised in a test tube which would have the man’s sperm in it.

With the leaflet came a price list now again we were confused as to whether we would be able to get funding for it or not.. different websites gave different advice.

The answer was that if there is nothing wrong with the biological mum i.e her reproductive system is working perfectly and she is fit and healthy then we would have to fund the treatment ourselves.

I understand that having children is our choice but it did seem unfair that despite us not having the right body parts to physically make a baby ourselves according to the NHS we don’t qualify for any help or funding.

We would have to pay for 6 attempts of IUI and if that didn’t work we would then get one free attempt at IVF.

The ‘Kit’

OK – so you need to make sure that you purchase the following items, you can buy these separately from eBay or Amazon for relatively cheap but always check reviews first! Some companies offer the full kit – our donor actually had a bag full that he had already prepared so we purchased the whole lot for £20.00.

A needless syringe with extender/catheter – The syringe should be around 4” or longer and it’s important you purchase a decent catheter so that it hasn’t got sharp edges. The catheter makes placing the sperm closer to the cervix a lot easier and less messy.

A head torch is vital – yes you’ll look absolutely ridiculous wearing it – and if you have a hair style like mine you will most definitely look like Wolverine. This is so you can see what you’re actually doing whilst keeping both hands free!

A clear speculum – Please do not buy a cheap speculum – if anything spend a little bit more to ensure you get a good quality one that has smooth edges. Make sure to read the reviews if purchasing off Amazon as well. The speculums come in a variety of sizes so make sure to find one that you/your partner finds comfortable.

A sterile pot – Any pot will do providing it is sterile. (Your donor may prefer to ejaculate into a soft cup (menstrual cup/Diva Cup) you can use the soft cup method instead of the syringe and catheter method if you want – I’ll talk about this in another blog but we used the syringe method.)

Towels/pillows – To prop your partner/yourself up – you need to have you hips elevated during the insemination and once the insemination is done you’ll need to keep your legs in the air for a good 30 minutes so it’s important you have plenty of comfort so that you can stay in the same position!

Privacy/intimacy – You need to make sure that wherever you choose to do the insemination there is a separate room for your donor to do his business in private. It’s important that once the donor has provided you with the sample he leaves you and your partner alone to continue the insemination. Try and make the room as romantic as possible – low lighting, candles..whatever relaxes you both – after all it’s the most intimate and romantic thing you’re about to do – make a baby!