Instead Softcup as a Fertility Aid?
Can the Instead Softcup be used as a fertility aid? According to this website, you’d certainly think so. [A review: the Instead Softcup is a flexible plastic menstrual collection cup, inserted in the vagina to collect menstrual fluid rather than absorb it] The website in question [click the image to make larger] proclaims in its headline, “Now a Fertility Aid for TTC Couples!” That sounds fairly definitive. It goes on to state:
Now, trying-to-conceive (TTC) couples have discovered a new application for the Softcup – as a fertility aid! So how are women using the safe, hypo-allergenic Softcup to increase their chances of conceiving a baby? Easy! Instead of inserting the Softcup during their periods, trying-to-conceive couples are using the Softcup following lovemaking to help pool and hold sperm around the cervix! Alternately, semen can be directly deposited into the Softcup reservoir and inserted directly into the vagina and around the cervix.
The idea this website promotes is that the Softcup, which can be worn during sex, would instead (ha) be worn after sex to “hold in” all the semen. The claim is repeated near the “Buy Now!” button. Has Instead ever been tested or approved as a fertility aid, though? It appears that the answer is “no.” Instead’s own website includes this FAQ entry:
I am trying to get pregnant. Would inserting an INSTEAD® Softcup® Immediately after intercourse help trap sperm in place to help increase the probability that I get pregnant?
INSTEAD, Inc. has not studied the post-intercourse placement of an INSTEAD® Softcup® as a method to help improve the probability of conception. The use of the Softcup® as a pregnancy aid has not been cleared by the FDA. [emphasis added]
I did a search of the FDA site looking for information about the company’s claim that “Softcup fertility success stories are now so commonplace that Instead has filed for FDA clearance to officially market the Softcups as a conception aid!” In doing so, I turned up this odd adverse event report (something filed with the FDA when something goes wrong with a “medical device):
Patient inserted the instead softcup in january 2005 and when they [they?] tried to remove it 6 hours later was unable to get it out. 14 hours later they were sitll[sic] unable to get it out and became dizzy and deviloped[sic] a migraine. They finally called the paramedics to take them to the hosital[sic] where they had the cup removed by the physcian[sic].
Look, I’ve tried Instead. It shot out into the toilet when I sneezed. It is large and flexible, and has a firm outer ring, and sits inside the vagina. I have no idea how it could be stuck for 20 hours. I have no idea how having it stuck for 20 hours could cause dizziness and migraine. I fail to see how the assistance of a hand mirror wasn’t more called for than that of a paramedic, but perhaps one of you can enlighten me. To be fair, the FAQ says not to wear it for more than twelve hours, it also states that “the Cup cannot be lost inside your body.”
Neither 20 hours nor fertility aid are how the makers of the Instead Softcup currently intend for the product to be used, and their online information is clear on this point. Less scrupulous vendors of the product, however, are not quite so honest about what they’re selling.
[Hat tip to the blogger at Missed Conceptions]