It’s no news trying to conceive (TTC) as a same-sex couple is more challenging than those in a heterosexual relationship. From a financial and psychological standpoint, individuals in the LGBTQ+ community usually have to spend more to kickstart their conception journey.
As lesbians getting pregnant in the United Kingdom, Beth and her wife are no exception to these obstacles. The options for a lesbian pregnancy are usually limited to artificial insemination like IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF (in-vitro fertilisation). In their country of residence, going for these fertility treatments as a same-sex couple means self-funding the first 6-12 rounds of artificial insemination at a fertility clinic. As you can imagine, the costs add up pretty quickly.
The Stakes Are Even Higher for Same-Sex Couples
“In the U.K., no fertility treatment would be offered by the NHS (National Health Service) until we had paid for around six rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination) ourselves. Depending on the clinic, this could cost up to £20,000,” Beth shares. “We considered IVF briefly. But this being more expensive and having no reason to suspect any problems with my fertility, we went for the cheaper and less invasive IUI.”
Unfortunately, artificial insemination procedures at fertility clinics do not guarantee a pregnancy. According to the Columbia University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, a natural cycle with IUI is the least expensive option. But it only has a maximum success rate of 20% per month.
Beth and her wife found out the hard way after actively trying to get pregnant for about a year, even though they were not diagnosed with any fertility issues, such as endometriosis and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
“Before twoplus Fertility, we did three rounds of IUI, which were medically assisted, so that we could time my ovulation for precisely the right moment,” Beth told us. “Our clinic was really kind and supportive. However, we didn’t manage to have a pregnancy that would last long enough to have a baby.”
The 31-year-old teacher confided that she’d had two pregnancies she didn’t carry to term — one from her first round of IUI and the second from using the twoplus Fertility Applicator Extra. Now, she’s on her third pregnancy after using the Applicator Extra again.
From In-Clinic to At-Home Insemination
After spending much of their savings on fertility treatments that bore no fruit, Beth and her wife became disheartened. Not wanting to give up on their dream of having a child, they searched for an alternative solution: an at-home insemination kit.
That’s where the twoplus Applicator Extra popped up on their radar.
“I wanted to use something that was specifically designed for fertility. I read lots of blogs and chat rooms with people saying that all sorts of weird alternatives worked for them. But I wanted to know [if] what I was using had been tested for this purpose and wasn’t going to cause any additional complications,” Beth explained. “We looked at the other options on the market, and some of them seemed extortionate for what they were offering. twoplus was exactly what I was looking for and was affordable.”
But it’s not just the modest price tag on the Applicator Extra that caught the couple’s eye. Because the Applicator Extra can be used at home at your own pace, this fertility aid introduces intimacy and convenience to an otherwise clinical process.
Beth said, “At home, I was able to pick my own soundtrack and light a relaxing candle. My wife used the Applicator Extra and could be much more involved in the process rather than [stand by] as an onlooker. It felt more romantic and intimate than the clinic.”
What’s more, Beth gushed over how incredibly easy it was to use the Applicator Extra, likening the experience to being more comfortable than inserting a tampon.
That could be due to the conception aid’s Soft Tip. Its rounded edges fit comfortably in the vaginal tract during insertion and reduce immediate semen leakage out of the body afterwards. This is especially crucial if you’re thinking of doing at-home self-insemination with donated sperm like Beth and her wife.
One tip from Beth: Pop your hips on some pillows after using the Applicator Extra.
May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favour
After using the Applicator Extra for four ovulation cycles, Beth ended up pregnant for two of those times. Even though one of those two ended at five weeks, her current pregnancy is still ongoing. As Beth commented, “I see those as pretty good odds!”
Beth also made healthy tweaks to her lifestyle to further increase her chances of a successful conception. She says ‘No’ to caffeine and tries to maintain a regular yoga routine. Most importantly, she tries her best to manage her stress levels.
“During the two-week wait, we now book nights out to comedy or mini-golf. Anything to keep my mind elsewhere and stress-free. If I’m laughing at comedy, I can’t be panicking about possible symptoms,” Beth explains.
Take a leaf out of her book and go on a date night with your significant other. It will keep the romance alive and your relationship strong when trying to conceive.
In conjunction with using the twoplus Fertility Applicator Extra, the expecting mother also used ovulation tests and tracked her basal body temperature (BBT). If you didn’t already know, your BBT will generally spike by about 0.5-1°C right after ovulation. This allowed the same-sex couple to use the Applicator Extra on the right days for the best shot at getting pregnant.
In need of an ovulation test to decide if now is the right time for you to conceive? twoplus Fertility’s Ovulation Test Kit has your back, or more accurately, your TTC efforts. This rapid ovulation test predicts your ovulation status by measuring your body’s Luteinising Hormone (LH) levels.
As you would know, LH levels typically surge at the start of ovulation in your menstrual cycle. With the Ovulation Test Kit, you can accurately track your ovulation period for the best chance of conceiving with the Applicator Extra.
Bonus: The test kit is easy to use and only takes 10 minutes to show your results!
A (Possible) Happy Ending for Other LGBTQ+ Couples TTC
If you’re a same-sex couple trying to conceive for some time now, perhaps Beth’s experience would convince you to give the Applicator Extra a go. This is especially so if you’re working with a hectic schedule and tight budget that often don’t favour pricey fertility treatments.
Beth adds, “I love the freedom that twoplus offers.” She explained that with the Applicator Extra, she could easily choose her cycles for artificial insemination. “[I don’t have to wait] for a clinic to give us the green light. Or having to say yes to a cycle even when it’s not convenient for fear of losing a deposit,” she shares.
At the moment, Beth and her wife are trying to save up for a house. Not having to splurge on costly insemination procedures that may not guarantee the happy outcome they envision means they can now focus on building a home for themselves and their unborn child.
Beth said, “I hated feeling like I had to choose between a home and a baby. twoplus Fertility is allowing us to have both.” That’s why she wholeheartedly recommends the Applicator Extra to other LGBTQ+ people that are also TTC.
Pro tip: Get the 3-pack Applicator Extra so you have them ready during your ovulation period. Did you know that your fertile period only lasts 5-6 days?
Interview responses were edited for clarity.
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