Whether you want to get the timing just right, or are looking for ways to assist your body to conceive, home insemination is a reachable alternative to many on the journey to parenthood. Home insemination offers privacy, affordability, and added comfort – identifying the right tools towards a positive pregnancy test helps you reach your dream faster.
Dreaming of Baby speaks with Carol Lomas, COO of Conceivex, the people behind the Conception Kit® at home-system. In this interview, we ask the questions you want answers to in determining whether or not this is the right tool for you.
CJ: Good afternoon, today we have with us Carol Lomas from Conceivex, a company dedicated to helping those trying to conceive. The interview is sponsored by Cryos International and we will also cover how Conceivex’s Conception Kit can be used with donor sperm for home insemination to increase the chances of pregnancy! Thank you for joining us Carol, would you be so kind as to introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little about what you do and your solution for couples trying to conceive.
Carol Lomas: Thank you. I am the COO of Conceivex, makers of the Conception Kit® at-home system. The Conception Kit® at-home system gives patients the opportunity to take control of their own fertility in the privacy of home. Privacy is often one of the most important factors for many patients. At less than $405 at most pharmacies and a simple co-pay if covered by insurance, the Conception Kit® at-home system has all the tools and medical devices to help couples enhance the opportunity to conceive.
Conception Kit® at-home system
CJ: Let’s start by covering what one may find in the kit, and also how you help ensure that the user of the Conception Kit does, in fact, use the kit and donor sperm during ovulation.
Carol Lomas: Yes, inside the Conception Kit at-home system you will find 4 cervical caps (one to practice with prior to using donor sperm or ejaculate obtained from regular sex) and 3 cervical caps for insemination, 3 semen collectors (for patients not using donor sperm but who will have intercourse to collect the ejaculate), 3 intimate moisturizers that are sperm friendly and 3 pregnancy tests. Plus, a detailed Instruction for Use Manual, a Conception Journal (to track the patient’s cycle) and a Conception Wheel (that helps a patient time a pregnancy).There are also 24 ovulation predictors inside the Conception Kit at-home system. This gives the patient 8 per month so that the users using the donor sperm or ejaculate through intercourse will place the sperm inside the Conception Cap during Ovulation which is the key time to get pregnant.
The Conception Kit at-home system is a three-month medical device.
CJ: Excellent, and how does the ovulation predictor work? Is this a standard urine test predictor?
Carol Lomas: Yes, it is.
Home Insemination – A how-to guide
CJ: So prior to using the sperm, the individual would first test to ensure they are ovulating. Is this correct?
Carol Lomas: Yes, and they would also read the Instruction For Use Manual on the Conception Kit, track their fertility cycle in the Journal and use the practice Conception Cap to make sure they have placed the cervical cap on the cervix correctly prior to the day when they will use the donor sperm or ejaculate from sex.
Daniela: Thank you; and how is the cervical cap used? If you could walk us through the test cap procedure…
Carol Lomas: First, let me walk you through the cervical cap and why it is important. The cervical cap (Conception Cap) is designed to hold, protect and concentrate sperm near the cervical opening(os) for 4-6 hours. By placing sperm at the cervical opening, the sperm have the best chance of entering the uterine cavity to fertilize the egg. This is very important when you consider that nearly 90% of sperm die in the acidic vagina within the first ten minutes. The Conception Kit at-home system extends the life of the sperm by preventing any sperm from backtracking onto the acidic vaginal walls and protects them from this environment. The practice cap is used to help the patient get comfortable with placement on the cervix prior to ovulation occurring when they would use the cervical cap for insemination.
“The Conception Kit at-home system extends the life of the sperm by preventing any sperm from backtracking onto the acidic vaginal walls and protects them from this environment.” Carol Lomas, COO, Conceivex
Daniela: Some women may be hesitant about the insertion part – how will they know if it has been inserted properly and is in the right place?
Carol Lomas: The cervix is the only thing at the back of the vagina, and it feels like the tip of a nose. It can be felt with the fingers. Patients can lie with their back on the floor with their feet on the wall and their knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Then do a partial sit up. The abdominal muscles will compress and move the uterus which will move the cervix into a position that will be more easily reached with fingers. The walls of the vagina are soft/flexible but the cervix is harder and, as already noted, feels like the tip of your nose. When the cap is in place, the patient should be able to feel through the base of the cap and feel the cervix inside the cap. The Conception Kit at-home system comes with very detailed instructions to help them with this process.
Daniela: To clarify, would insertion be similar to having a contraceptive cervical cap?
Carol Lomas: Yes, however, you will place the cervical cap over the cervix like you would a knit cap on your head. You do not need to place the entire cap over to the base of the cervix, just make sure it is around the cervix as a knit cap would sit on your head. When placing the cap, relaxing is important. If the vaginal area is to tight, try relaxing and stretching it. This can be done with your fingers. Starting with one finger, insert it and sweep it around the walls of your vagina in a circular motion, expanding the opening as you go. Now add one finger at a time, each time continuing the circular motion. Do this for about 10 minutes and really focus on relaxing your whole body while you do it. When you are ready to use the cap for insemination, your vaginal cavity will be expanded. Patients that will be having intercourse prior to inserting the cap will see that the action of intercourse will have helped expand the vaginal cavity. So remember to relax and stretch.
Daniela: Thank you for clarifying. You note that the cap has to be in place for 4 – 6 hours; does this mean that the woman has to rest during this time or she can continue with her day?
Carol Lomas: Yes, she can continue with her day, just no jogging or swimming.
Home Insemination with Donor Sperm
CJ: When using the device with donor sperm, how does the process differ? Can you cover for us both uses? At Dreaming of Baby, we are dedicated to helping all those on the journey to parenthood. In the case of a couple using the product, would regular intercourse happen and then the cap be slipped into place? With donor sperm, would one place the sperm inside the cap and then put it in place, or first use the applicator to place the sperm inside and then place the cap?
Carol Lomas: To answer the donor question first: The patient would thaw the donor sperm (Cryos suggests two straws for each insemination) and would place the donor sperm inside the Conception Cap and then place on the cervix. In the case of using donor sperm, the patient needs a delivery system for the sperm to be placed at the cervix and protected from draining back out or sperm being killed by the vaginal environment. That is where the Conception Cap comes in. If the couple is not going to use donor sperm, they would have sex using the semen collector and then squeeze the ejaculate into the Conception Cap. There is also a sperm-friendly intimate moisturizer that can be used in both cases to help the vagina become more lubricated.
Daniela: Thanks for elaborating; so, with regards to the semen collector, how does this work, and are there any precautions to be taken to ensure optimal sperm health?
Carol Lomas: The semen collector is like a condom; however it is specifically made to not kill sperm like a condom would.
It is non-latex and non-spermicidal.
CJ: If I understand correctly, once the semen is collected, the process is the same for donor sperm & natural conception?
Carol Lomas: Yes, placement is the same.
Is home insemination effective?
CJ: So now that we have the how covered, I would like to ask a little about results and how much of an increase in the likelihood of pregnancy there is when using the Conception Kit?
Carol Lomas: Cervical cap insemination has a class effect between 18-44%, depending on the two patients involved.
CJ: Can you elaborate on what class effect means, am I understanding correctly that the increase in likelihood of pregnancy is 18 to 44%?
Carol Lomas: Yes, that is correct.
Daniela: The cervical cap method is a long-established solution, however, this method is no longer as common in hospitals. Can you explain a little why that is and how the Conception Kit counters this?
Carol Lomas: Good question. This was the way people were able to enhance fertility in the 1950’s 1960’s and 1970’s, however, cervical cap insemination was not a treatment that could be used at home at that time. Once the physician placed the semen fill cap on the cervix, the patients had to lay in the physician’s office for up to 4 hours. It was too time-consuming for the patient and very much so for the physician’s office, thus faster methods were designed in the 1970s like IUI which takes 15 to 30 minutes.
This does not mean that the method was not successful, just that the time was not practical for a physician office that turns the room every 15 minutes during a medical appointment.
Daniela: So, in effect, in terms of home insemination, the process is still very much applicable even with other different scientific advancements?
Carol Lomas: Yes, of course, the science behind cervical cap insemination is very sound to the point that cervical cap insemination is in the FDA Code of Federal Regulations.
Daniela: To ease the minds of our readers, how safe is the device on cervical health?
Carol Lomas: Very safe, the cervical cap is worn for up to 6 hours and is made of medical grade silicone, the same material that heart valves are made of.
When should I try home insemination?
Daniela: Thank you for explaining this; at which point of trying for pregnancy does Conceivex recommend that a couple utilizes the Conception Kit?
Carol Lomas: If a patient has been trying to conceive for 3 months with no success, or if a patient wants to self-inseminate at home rather than at a medical facility, or if a patient is trying to time a pregnancy (military family on a short timeframe together), we suggest using the Conception Kit at home system. Also, for patients on fertility medication, it is the perfect addition to the treatment plan. By combining the Conception Kit® at-home system with the fertility medications, you are ensuring that all available sperm are at the cervical opening and protected, while at the same time you are maximizing your egg production during each medication cycle. Since fertility drugs can only be used for a limited time, it is important to take full advantage of every cycle by adding the Conception Kit at-home system to the drug routine.
“By combining the Conception Kit® at-home system with the fertility medications, you are ensuring that all available sperm are at the cervical opening and protected, while at the same time you are maximizing your egg production during each medication cycle.” Carol Lomas, COO Conceivex
Daniela: Is it suggested that the patient schedules an OB-GYN appointment prior to using the device?
Carol Lomas: Yes, an OB-GYN, a Family Practice Physician, or a Urologist can prescribe this.
Daniela: And is the kit covered by insurance? What is the average co-pay in this regard?
Carol Lomas: As has already been noted, a prescription is a must. When the kit is covered by insurance as a pharmacy benefit (Express Scripts is now covering the Conception Kit at-home system depending on your plan), it is a simple co-pay of between $25-$75 at the pharmacy. Patients should check with their pharmacy benefit manager to see if it is covered. To do this, flip the insurance card over to the back and there should be a number for the pharmacy benefit manager. A patient can also have their pharmacist check for them. Patients should give the pharmacist the NDC number to help the pharmacist locate the Conception Kit in their system. The number is: 08597.1111.13. If not covered, the cost is around $405 at the pharmacy with a prescription.
CJ: Is the conception kit available at most pharmacies?
Carol Lomas: The Conception Kit at-home system is a drop ship item that the pharmacist will order. Once you give them the prescription, you can obtain the kit from Walgreens, Walmart, CVS Healthwarehouse.com (which is a mail-order pharmacy) and Village Pharmacy to name a few…
Conception Kit® at-home system vs IUI – cost and effectiveness
CJ: How does the cost of the Conception Kit compare with IUI treatment?
Carol Lomas: The Conception Kit costs 403 dollars and is a three- month treatment. On the other hand, one IUI can cost between $800 to $1500 depending on the clinic.
CJ: So, without insurance, the cost of IUI for 3 months would be upwards of $2400 when compared to $403 for the conception kit? What is the difference in known effectiveness of the treatments?
Carol Lomas: Yes, that is correct. They have a similar range for obtaining pregnancy. It all depends on the patients and the issues they may have.
Daniela: Thank you Carol, it’s been a very insightful conversation and it’s very positive to know of the options that those wishing to conceive can avail of in the comfort of their own home. On a final note, is there anything else you wish to add on the subject and which maybe we did not cover today?
Carol Lomas: The Conception Kit® at-home system gives patients the opportunity to take control of their own fertility in the privacy of home. Privacy is often one of the most important factors for many patients. For patients using donor sperm, I would like them to know that cervical cap insemination is better than just using a syringe. The Conception Cap® (cervical caps inside the Conception Kit at-home system) places the sperm in the correct position (at the cervical opening), at the correct time (during ovulation) and protects them from the vaginal environment while at the same time does not allow the sperm to drain back into the vagina like a syringe would. They are held at the opening of the cervix for 4-6 hours unlike the 30 minutes with a syringe. Simply put, the Conception Kit® at-home system extends the life of the sperm by preventing any sperm from backtracking onto the acidic vaginal walls and protects them from this environment. When the sperm is protected and placed right on the cervix, the chances of pregnancy increase. When you think of the cost of the straw of donor sperm this is important.
CJ: It has been wonderful having you with us today! I would also like to thank you for the step-by-step guide for home insemination users which we will include at the bottom of this interview. Thank you so much for your time and as always, we hope that this interview proves useful to those dreaming of baby!
Guide for Home Insemination with Donor Sperm
Conception Kit® at-home system with donor sperm from Cryos USA
It is important that patients know when they are ovulating to be able to order the sperm.
1. Reading and following the instruction inside the kit.
2. Start using the Conception Kit ovulation predictors to detect ovulation.
3. Patient would use the Practice Conception Cap to learn proper placement on the cervix
4. Depending when your ovulation occurs purchase your straws from Cryos, USA. It is very important that you purchase within a five-day window prior to ovulation. It is suggested that you use the seven-day Nitro availability straws with a two-day delivery service for the transporting of the straws to your home from Cryos, USA (thus three days of the seven-day viability are used in ordering and transport leaving you four days of viable sperm).
5. If you are unsure as to when you ovulate, use the first month of the Conception Kit to track your ovulation with the ovulation predictors.
a. Then purchase the straws for self- insemination on the second month.
6. A Conception Journal is provided to chart your cycle including ovulation.
Being able to place the sperm during the ovulation window is key for conception to occur.
|Order Day of Cycle
two days to deliver to home
|Ovulation Detected||At-home insemination days|
|Day 14||Day 16||Day 17 and 18|
|Day 13||Day 15||Day 16 and Day 17|
|Day 12||Day 14||Day 15 and Day 16|
|Day 11||Day 13||Day 14 and Day 15|
|Day 10||Day 12||Day 13 and Day 14|
|Day 9||Day 11||Day 12 and Day 13|
|Day 7||Day 10||Day 11 and day 12|
7. Prior to thawing two straws of sperm, patients would detect the ovulation window (luteinizing hormone surge) by using the ovulation predictors inside the Conception Kit.
8. Once the luteinizing hormone surge has been detected with the ovulation predictors the patient would thaw two straws of sperm via the instructions from Cryos International, USA.
9. Patients would then transfer the sperm from the straws into the soft and flexible Conception Cap® (cervical cap used for insemination) and place on their cervix. The Conception Cap® is designed to hold, protect and concentrate sperm near the cervical opening(os) for 4-6 hours.
10. Patients would use the pregnancy test to see if conception has occurred.