Draped Dreams and Reality in a Vial: My sojourn encounter with Intra-Uterine Donor Sperm Insemination

By Effie Achieng (Mama Bear)

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) has brought hope and new beginnings to countless individuals and families struggling with choices of having kids when not in the dating cycle, when in a relationship or in cases of infertility. One such remarkable story revolves around me. After undergoing an IUI procedure in November 2019 at a renowned fertility clinic, I was blessed with twin girls. My journey serves as a powerful testimony to the wonders of modern science and medicine and the unwavering spirit of hope.

Intrauterine insemination, also known as artificial insemination, is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm directly into the uterus during the woman’s fertile window. This procedure is often recommended for couples who have unexplained infertility, mild male factor infertility, or cervical issues that may hinder the sperm’s ability to reach the egg or a possibility option for women wishing to have babies free of relationships or attachments by choice or circumstances.

A Dream Deferred

At the time I was a single mum of a 7-year-old son deeply in love and obsessed with babies, whose only yearning was to become a mom again. Alas, being a single mum and not in the dating cycle following an end to a previous relationship, yet also battling hormonal issues including polycystic ovarian syndrome, was completely losing my self-esteem due to random bleedings resulting from hormonal imbalance and failed hormonal therapies. I was only left with two options – getting pregnant to allow my body overhaul naturally or have my uterus removed. Well, there was no way the baby-fevered young me was going for the latter!

Effie Achieng (Mama Bear) – A beacon of hope

Since at some point in my life, I nearly became a surrogate mum for a couple in DRC, I had full knowledge of the procedures and services of fertility clinics. I thus found myself at the door of a fertility clinic. Following a series of tests, and explaining my predicament, doctors recommended IUI as their best chance of fulfilling my dream. The only twist to it was that I only needed a donor sperm and use my very own eggs.

 Intrauterine insemination using a donor sperm (IUI-D) matched on the basis of an existing child’s appearance involves a series of steps and considerations.

This process is typically pursued by individuals or couples who are seeking to have a child that shares physical characteristics with an existing child in the family. It is important to note that this approach raises ethical, legal, and psychological considerations, and it is crucial for individuals or couples to seek professional guidance and counseling throughout the process.

 Process of intrauterine insemination using donor sperm matched on the basis of an existing child’s appearance

The first step in my journey towards IUI involved scheduling a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist or fertility specialist. During this initial visit, my medical history was reviewed, and any previous fertility treatments or pregnancies was discussed. Additionally, I underwent various tests to assess my fertility status, including hormone evaluations, semen analysis for the male donor sperm, and my ovarian reserve testing through blood tests and ultrasound scans, checking my fallopian tubes for any blockages or abnormalities, and ensuring that my uterus was healthy and capable of supporting a pregnancy.

After undergoing tests, IUI was approved, and I was prescribed fertility medications to stimulate ovaries. Monitoring appointments were scheduled to track follicle growth. Once follicles reached optimal size, I received an injection of hCG to trigger ovulation, ensuring eggs were released within 36-40 hours.

In cases where the intention is to match the physical appearance of an existing child like my own case, the selection of donor sperm became a critical aspect of the process. The chosen sperm donor should ideally possess physical traits such as skin color, eye color, hair color, and other relevant characteristics that are like those of the existing child. This was done in comparison with my existing son’s attributes.

This selection process involved working closely with a reproductive endocrinologist and utilizing the services of a reputable sperm bank that offered detailed donor profiles which we went through before settling on one who was anonymous but ended up being the perfect match.

 Once the donor sperm was selected, I underwent ovulation induction using fertility medications to stimulate the development of multiple eggs. Although I had a previous history of conceiving multiples naturally – identical twin boys in the first Pregnancy- who were born at 26 weeks due to my cervix opening up, while they survived for seven hours, they tragically passed on; my second Pregnancy I conceived triplets but sadly ended in a miscarriage; my third Pregnancy was a fraternal twin pregnancy but lost one in the first trimester but my now 7 year old son survived and was born full term; my fourth Pregnancy was a triplet on failed family planning and ended up in miscarriage. This was now my fifth Pregnancy attempt. I certainly still had strong convictions of a multiple pregnancy. Throughout this phase, regular monitoring through blood tests and ultrasound examinations was conducted to track the growth and maturation of ovarian follicles.

The doctors told me that am a “hyper-Ovulator” and would constantly need extra keen attention when pregnant as well as Mc-Donald stitch at 12-15 weeks to keep the pregnancy

As ovulation approaches, the timing for intrauterine insemination is carefully planned. This typically involves scheduling the procedure when ovulation is imminent to optimize the chances of successful fertilization. Since I already had a son, I was keen on having girls, as such I wanted my insemination done three days before my expected ovulation date. I tracked my ovulation and cycles using an app (My Calendar) on my phone that has been accurate in all my previous pregnancies. It also came in handy in tracking my irregular cycles due to my hormonal issues.

 Insemination Procedure

On insemination day, the clinically prepared donor sperm sample was introduced into the uterus through a thin catheter through the cervix and into the uterus. Placing it closer to the fallopian tubes where fertilization occurs. The sample having been prepared in the laboratory to separate the healthy sperm from the seminal fluid. a process, known as sperm washing, that helps to increase the concentration of motile sperm and remove any potential contaminants. This procedure was quick and minimally invasive, which was performed in a clinical setting without requiring anesthesia.

Post-Insemination Care and Follow-Up

Following the insemination, I was advised to rest for a brief period before resuming my normal activities. The waiting game began as I eagerly anticipated whether conception had taken place or failed as my previous attempt which was in October 2019. Subsequent follow-up appointments may be scheduled to monitor early pregnancy signs or discuss further steps if conception does not occur. Approximately two weeks later, I took a pregnancy test which confirmed my joyous news – I was pregnant in the month of November 2019!

Nurturing New Life; Birth of Double Blessings

34 weeks and 4 days later, after a smooth pregnancy journey, I gave birth to two healthy baby girls through a normal delivery, the girls arrived barely 2 minutes apart. The ecstatic me named them Mallorie and Mykelti, symbols of our journey’s beauty and resilience. Holding my daughters in my arms, I was in awe of the miracles that science and the unwavering human spirit can bring to life.

Challenges of IUI

It is important to note that IUI, like any medical procedure, carries certain risks and challenges. One of the main risks associated with IUI is multiple pregnancies. Since fertility medications are often used to stimulate ovulation and increase the chances of success, there is a higher likelihood of conceiving twins or even triplets. This can pose additional challenges during pregnancy and delivery.

Secondly, the emotional rollercoaster that comes with fertility treatments. The anticipation, hope, and disappointment experienced during each cycle can take a toll on an individual or couple’s mental well-being. It is crucial for one or a couple to have a strong support system in place and seek counseling if needed.

In my case, my journey with IUI resulted in the conception and birth of twin girls. While I was overjoyed with my double blessing, I also faced unique challenges throughout the pregnancy. my body had to accommodate two growing babies, which led to increased discomfort and a higher risk of complications such as gestational diabetes and preterm labor.

Regular prenatal check-ups and monitoring became essential to ensure the well-being of both me and the babies. I also had to adjust in my daily lives to accommodate the needs of two infants, including preparing for the financial implications of raising twins as well as a 7-year-old toddler son.

Am thankful that my journey was awesome apart from extreme nausea which subsided on the 5th month. Luckily, the country was on lock down due to Covid-19 which enabled me work from home and have enough rest whenever needed. Despite the risks and challenges, my experience with IUI brought my son and I the happiness for which we had longed. Their twin girls brought immeasurable joy into our lives, making every step of my IUI journey worthwhile.

In conclusion, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that can offer hope to couples facing difficulties conceiving naturally. The process involves stimulating the ovaries, monitoring follicle growth, triggering ovulation, preparing the sperm sample, and performing the insemination procedure. While IUI carries risks such as multiple pregnancies and emotional challenges, it has helped many couples achieve their dream of parenthood.

Epilogue: Forever Grateful

My story stands as a radiant testament to the possibilities available to single mums wishing to have kids and not in any relationships either by choice or circumstance and or couples facing infertility. With the guidance and expertise of compassionate doctors and the marvels of modern medical advancements, I experienced the overwhelming joy of holding my twin girls. Forever grateful to the fertility clinic and IUI procedure, my son and I now cherish a lifetime of love and fulfillment alongside our precious additions to our family.

My remarkable journey serves as a beacon of hope for countless others faced with infertility challenges. The advent of intrauterine insemination has undoubtedly transformed our lives, bringing twin girls into their world, and illuminating their path with love and joy. My story ignites a flicker of hope for those walking the same arduous road, revealing the incredible miracles that can arise from the dedicated expertise of fertility clinics and the unending pursuit of parenthood. Given a chance or opportunity, I would gladly do this again!



My name is Emmaculate Effie Achieng, an Executive Assistant at the National Assembly of Kenya. Certified TEFL/TESOL Teacher, Certified Teacher -Teachers Service Commission of Kenya, Treasurer, The Empowerment, Relief & Inclusion Agenda (TERIA), Menstrual Health Management Advocator and Founder Cuddleys Apparels by Gypsy. Currently a Grad Student at United States International University-Africa studying International Relations (Diplomacy & Foreign Policy.


Currently a Proud single mum of three kids (10yr old son & 3.5yrs old Twin Girls.)