I’ve been hearing about the use of menstrual cups as a method to get pregnant. What are they? Is it safe?
According to an article in the publication, Parents, couples trying to get pregnant faster or trying to avoid expensive fertility treatments such as IVF (in vitro fertilization) have turned to the menstrual cup to aid in fertilization.
Things to consider before exploring this method are that menstrual cups are FDA approved to hold period blood, not semen. Furthermore, STIs are still transmitted through bodily fluids such as semen. If you are trying to use this method and choosing to use a donor for sperm, make sure you are aware of the risks of STI infection.
There have been no clinical studies on this process. There is no scientific proof that this process works, only anecdotal evidence.
In order to get pregnant, fertilization must occur. This happens when sperm reaches an egg, which usually occurs in the fallopian tube. The idea behind using a menstrual cup is that it holds the sperm close to the cervix for a longer period of time, increasing the likelihood that sperm will swim through the cervix and uterus into the fallopian tube to fertilize an egg. Sperm can only live outside the body for a few hours at most before drying up and losing the ability to swim. But, sperm can live inside a woman’s body for up to five days. The menstrual cup keeps them inside the body in a warm, moist environment giving them more time to swim up and fertilize an egg. The menstrual cup also only allows the sperm to swim in one direction, into the body.
When using a menstrual cup, it is important to use and maintain it correctly. Most menstrual cups are only designed to be left in for 8-12 hours. Leaving a menstrual cup in for too long can lead to toxic shock syndrome.
The National Women’s Health Network is committed to ensuring that women have access to accurate, balanced information. We encourage women to speak to their doctors about the use of a menstrual cup to get pregnant. Your doctor can help you determine the best options for you based on your medical history.
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Evita Almassi, MSW, served as the Communications and Digital Marketing Manager for the NWHN. Her 10+ years in nonprofit communications – especially with social media advocacy campaigns – enabled the NWHN to reach and empower more women in their health education and advocacy journeys.
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