A term for a specific kind of artificial insemination, where the woman in question obtains the sperm from (probably) a non-medical source, and does the insemination herself, or with the help of a partner or friend. Children conceived by this method are often known as turkey-baster babies, from one of the popular, er, vectors of semen that are used.

The term came about as a reaction against the idea that conceiving without having sex with a man was 'artificial'. Needless to say, this nicety of terminology was brought to you mostly by the lesbian community, though straight women do self-insemination too.

The practice itself is a reaction, as well, in part to the medicalisation of conception among lesbians. Some women thought it was exploitative and unnecessary to pay fertility clinics to get them pregnant, when in fact they had no fertility problems.

That's the theory. Anyone interested in the practice should probably try and get hold of a copy of Challenging Conceptions, by Lisa Saffron. I'm told it works wonders :-)

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