+One Helps Queer And Lesbian Couples Conceive At Home, Because Having A Family Doesn't Have To Start In The Hospital

ByMehak Anwar

One of the most distressing scenes in Showtime's The Real L Word is when the token adorable couple, Cori and Kacy Boccumini, go to a sex toy shop in hopes of finding something that will help the pair conceive — the idea being for Cori to inseminate Kacy at home, instead of having the process happen on an uncomfortable and impersonal hospital bed. Though reality television is oftentimes skewed and exaggerated for ratings and entertainment purposes, this particular interaction wasn't necessarily too far off from what happens when queer, bisexual, and lesbian couples try to conceive. Now, though, enter, +one conception, an at-home insemination kit and online platform geared towards helping couples who can't conceive with their combined bodies create a family of their own.

The product is revolutionary for many reasons, but the most important feature +one offers is an integrated online platform that provides expecting queer, lesbian, bisexual couples with information that isn't readily accessible elsewhere, including financial, legal, and medical advice. Bustle spoke to Joanna Dillon, one of the four members of the +one team, about why these resources are vital for queer, lesbian, and bisexual couples trying to conceive: "The lack of accessible information made it difficult for most women we interviewed to understand the various choices they had to make," she said. "So we saw the need for a platform that has the info and the connections to experts to help prospective parents on this journey." In addition to expert advice, the +one platform will connect users to a community of peers who are also trying to build a family, up-to-date articles, and other downloadable resources to help make the process clear and seamless.

The +one kit also features a sleek product with innovative and optimized design that aids in physical insemination. It includes an insulated cup, reusable applicator, and simple instructions. "The important insight that we had was the need for something beyond just a fancy syringe," Dillon told Bustle. "We came up with lots of concepts for how someone could get semen into a vagina without a penis around!"

Ultimately, the team decided on this particular design as being the best for the product and least stressful for the users. Why? For a few reasons. "First, a simple product could be manufactured at a lower cost, resulting in a lower price point for the customer," said Dillon. "Second, the mechanics don't need to be fancy to do the job well and, in concept testing, a more simplified design was more approachable for the women respondents."

Need more reasons to love +one? In addition to creating a much-needed product to help queer, lesbian, and bisexual couples start families, Dillon talks about the importance of having an ethical business model that will ultimately make people's lives better. "We believe that business needs to go beyond a corporate donation program or campus sustainability metrics and create products and services that actually, directly help people live better." It makes sense for the +one team to want to have a conscientious business model, seeing as their backgrounds are all in social-impact spaces.

So just how much of a need is there for a product like this? A quick Google Search of "insemination kits" only yields a handful of results, none of which seem to be particularly user-friendly because of their intimidating design, lack of instructions, and poor marketing (I don't think too many people would find the IS-360 Makler to be a particularly desirable name for something that's going to create their family). The folks at +one have not only created something that's useful for a lot of people, but also easy to understand and use.

As of right now, the insemination kit by +one is just in the early, conceptual phases. According to +one's most recent newsletter, the team is looking at a variety of options for launching the product, including becoming a startup, piloting an aspect of the business, or forming a partnership with another interested organization.

Check out +one's website for more information about the product, platform, and design and take a peek at this video to see what users have to say.

Images: Fotolia; +one; Queer Mama/YouTube; Because Equality/Vimeo