Alpha-fetoprotein Test (AFP): A blood test performed to evaluate the development of the fetus and to look for fetal abnormalities.
Amenorrhea: Refers to a woman who has never had a period.
Amenorrhea, Secondary: A term describing a woman who has menstruated at one time, but who has not had a period for six months or more.
Amniocentesis: A test where amniotic fluid is aspirated to test the fetus for genetic abnormalities.
Ampules: Sealed vials containing a sterile medicinal solution usually injected intravenously or intramuscularly.
Androgens: Male sex hormones.
Aneuploidy screening: also known as pre-implantation genetic screening – see below
Anovulation: The failure to ovulate; ovulatory failure.
Anteverted Uterus:Uterus that tips forward toward that bladder.
Antiovarian Antibodies (AOA, AVA): Antibodies against ovarian targets. Such antibodies would bind to important functional sites in the ovary and granulosa cells and impair the normal response.
Antisperm antibodies: Substances produced by the immune system which attack and destroy the sperm because they recognize it as a foreign substance.
Artificial Insemination (AI): The depositing of sperm in the vagina near the cervix or directly into the uterus, with the use of a syringe instead of by coitus. This technique is used to overcome sexual performance problems, to circumvent sperm-mucus interaction problems, to maximize the potential for poor semen, and for using donor sperm. See also Artificial Insemination Donor; Artificial Insemination Homologous.
Asherman’s Syndrome: A condition where the uterine walls adhere to one another. Usually caused by uterine inflammation.
Aspiration Cycle: An initiated ART cycle in which one or more follicles are punctured and aspirated irrespective of whether or not oocytes are retrieved.
Assay: A medical term meaning “ Test”.
Assisted Hatching: An in vitro procedure in which the zona pellucida of an embryo (usually at eight-cell stage or a blastocyst) is perforated by chemical, mechanical, or laser-assisted methods to assist separation of the blastocyst from the zona pellucida.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): All treatments which include laboratory handling of eggs,sperm,and/or embryos. Some examples of ART are in vitro fertilization(IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT),pronuclear stage tubal transfer (PROST), tubal embryo transfer(TET),and zygote intra fallopian transfer(ZIFT).
Asthenozoospermia: Low sperm motility.
Atresia:The normal degeneration of eggs and follicles in the ovaries
Autoimmune: A condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, falsely recognizing them as foreign.
Azoospermia: Semen containing no sperm, either because the testicles cannot make sperm or because of blockage in the reproductive tract.
Baby Aspirin: Low dose aspirin (80-100 mg) used in infertility treatment to increase blood flow to the uterus. Often used in conjunction with Heparin in patients with immune problems.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT):Your body temperature when taken at its lowest point, usually in the morning before getting out of bed. Charting BBT is used to predict ovulation.
Beta hCG Test: A blood test used to detect very early pregnancies and to evaluate embryonic development
Bicornuate Uterus: A congenital malformation of the uterus where the upper portion (horn) is duplicated.
Bio chemical pregnancy: When a patient’s pregnancy test is positive but no fetus is visible on ultrasound.
Birth Defect: Structural, functional or developmental abnormalities present at birth or later in life, due to genetic or nongenetic factors acting before birth.
Biopsy: The removal of a tissue sample for microscopic examination. The term also refers to the tissue removed.
Blastocyst: An embryo with a fluid-filled blastocele cavity (usually developing by five or six days after fertilization).
Bladder: A bag-like structure located in the lower abdomen that holds urine flowing from the Kidneys.
Bromocriptine: A drug used to suppress the production of prolactin by the pituitary gland.
Buserelin : A long-acting GnRH available in Europe as a nasal spray and used to create the pseudomenopause desirable for reducing the size and number of endometriotic lesions. It can also be used to treat fibroid tumors, PMS, hirsutism, ovulation induction and for in vitro fertilization.
Candidiasis (Yeast): An infection that may be uncomfortable and itchy and may impair fertility.
Cannula:A hollow tube like that used for insemination.
Catheter:A fine tubing especially developed for the transporting of eggs, sperms and embryos in to the woman’s fallopian tubes or uterus.
Capacitation: A process that sperm undergo as they travel through the woman’s reproductive tract. Capacitation enables the sperm to penetrate the egg.
Cauterize: To burn tissue with electrical current (electrocautery) or with a laser. Used in surgical procedures to remove unwanted tissue such as adhesions and endometrial implants. Also used to control bleeding.
Cerclage: A surgical stitch (suture) used to try to keep cervix tightly closed. Used for women with Incompetent Cervix.
Cervical Stenosis: A blockage of the cervical canal from a congenital defect or from complications of surgical procedures.
Cervical canal: The passage way leading from the vagina in to the uterus.
Cervical mucous: Secretions produced by the cervix that, at the time of ovulation, assist the passage of sperm through the cervix.
Cervix: The opening between the uterus and the vagina. The cervical mucus plugs the cervical canal and normally prevents foreign materials from entering the reproductive tract. The cervix remains closed during pregnancy and dilates during labor and delivery to allow the baby to be born.
Cervix, Incompetent: A weakened cervix, which opens up prematurely during pregnancy and can cause the loss of the fetus. A cervical cerclage is a procedure in which a stitch or two is put around the cervix to prevent its opening until removed when the pregnancy is to term.
Chocolate Cyst: A cyst in the ovary that is filled with old blood; endometrioma. Occurring when endometriosis invades an ovary, it causes the ovary to swell. Frequently, patients with large endometriomas do not have any symptoms. If the cyst ruptures or the ovary containing the cyst twists, emergency surgery may be necessary. Usually treatment can be carried out through the laparoscope.
Chromotubation/Chromopertubation: This test is usually done in combination with a diagnostic laparoscopy. It involves injecting colored liquid through the fallopian tubes and watching the ends of the tubes for the dye. Spillage of dye indicates patent (open) tubes.
Chromosome: The structures in the cell that carry the genetic material (genes); the genetic messengers of inheritance. The human has forty-six chromosomes, twenty-three coming from the egg and twenty-three coming from the sperm
Chorionic Villae Sampling (CVS): An alternative to amniocentesis that can be done earlier in the pregnancy. It is a biopsy of the placenta that is used to check for genetic abnormalities in the fetus.
Cilia : Tiny hairlike projections lining the inside surface of the fallopian tubes. The waving action of these “hairs” sweeps the egg toward the uterus.
Cleavage: The series of cell divisions, or one of the cell divisions, of the fertilized egg that results in the formation of the blastomeres and changes the single-celled zygote into a multicellular embryo.
Clinical Pregnancy: Evidence of pregnancy by clinical or ultrasound parameters (ultrasound visualization of a gestational sac). It includes ectopic pregnancy. Multiple gestational sacs in one patient are counted as one clinical pregnancy.
Clinical Pregnancy Rate: The number of clinical pregnancies expressed per 100 initiated cycles, aspiration cycles, or embryo transfer cycles. When clinical pregnancy rates are given, the denominator (initiated, aspirated, or embryo transfer cycles) must be specified.
Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid, Serophene): A fertility drug that stimulates ovulation through the release of gonadotropins from the pituitary gland.
Coitus: Intercourse; the sexual union between a man and a woman.
Conception: See Fertilization.
Conceptus: The early products of conception; the embryo and placenta.
Computerized tomography(CT): An X-ray imaging technique that creates a three- dimensional image of internal organs.
Condom Therapy: Therapy prescribed to reduce the number of sperm antibodies in the woman by using a condom during intercourse for six months or more and by the woman refraining from all skin contact with the husband’s sperm. The woman’s antibody level may fall to levels that will not adversely affect the sperm.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: A congenital condition characterized by elevated androgens which suppress the pituitary gland and interfere with spermatogenesis or ovulation. Women may have ambiguous genitalia from the excess production of male hormone.
Congenital Defect: A birth defect, acquired during pregnancy but not necessarily hereditary.
Conization:Treatment for abnormal or precancerous cells on the cervix in which a cone-shaped section of the cervix is remove.
Continuing Infertile: Someone who has gone through primary infertility, successfully given birth, and is trying for another child.
Contraception: A congenital condition characterized by elevated androgens which suppress the pituitary gland and interfere with spermatogenesis or ovulation. Women may have ambiguous genitalia from the excess production of male hormone.
Contraceptive, Oral: A medication that prevents ovulation and pregnancy. Up to 3 percent of women taking the Pill will become anovulatory when they stop taking it. The regulatory effects of the Pill can also disguise symptoms of fertility problems– for example, an irregular cycle or endometriosis. May be used to control the symptoms and development of endometriosis.
Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation (COH): Medical treatment to induce the development of multiple ovarian follicles to obtain multiple oocytes at follicular aspiration.
Corpus luteum: Tissue formed in the ovary from a natural follicle that has released
Iits egg at ovulation: The corpus luteum secretes progesterone, a hormone that prepares the lining of the uterus(endometrium) to support a pregnancy.
Cornu: The area where the tube joins the uterine cavity.
Cryopreservation: The freezing and storage of gametes, zygotes, or embryos.
Cryptorchidism: When one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum. See undecended testicles.
Cumulus Oophorus : The protective layer of cells surrounding the egg.
Cumulus cell: The nutrient cells that surround the egg (ova)
Cycle Day: The day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The first day (day 1) is when full flow starts before mid-afternoon
Cytoplasmic Transfer: An extension of in vitro fertilization which takes the genetic material from a mother’s egg and combines it with the cytoplasma of a donor
egg: Two methods of cytoplasm transfer were developed, one which transfers a small amount of cytoplasm by tiny needle from the donor to the recipient egg, the other transfers a larger amount of cytoplasm which is then fused to the recipient cytoplasm with electricity. See Cytoplasmic Transfer article.
Cytotoxin: An antibody or toxin that attacks the cells of particular organs
Cyst: A fluid filled sac left over from previous cycle which does not contain an egg. It usually resolves without any treatment.
D&C (Dilation and Curettage): A procedure used to dilate the cervical canal and scrape out the lining and contents of the uterus. The procedure can be used to diagnose or treat the cause of abnormal bleeding and to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
Delayed Puberty: A condition in which the youngster fails to complete puberty and develop secondary sex characteristics by sixteen years of age. Puberty may be stimulated with hormonal replacement therapy. Some will outgrow the condition without treatment.
Diabetes mellitus: A condition due to lack of insulin or lack of response to insulin, resulting in glucose (sugar) levels that are too high.
Diagnostic hysteroscopy: The insertion of a long, thin, lighted telescope-like instrument called a hyseroscope, through the cervix into the uterus in order to look for abnormalities inside of the uterus.
Diagnostic laparoscopy: The insertion of a long, thin, lighted telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope into the abdomen to look for abnormalities of the internal pelvic organs.
Dilation & Evacuation (D&E): A procedure in which the cervix is dilated and the baby and placenta are removed. D&E is used to describe two different procedures. One is similar to a D&C and uses more suction than scraping, and is performed on first trimester pregnancies. A D&E can also be used to describe a surgical removal of a fetus between 14-20 weeks gestation as an alternative to induced labor.
Direct Oocyte-Sperm Transfer (DOST): Involves transvaginal retrieval of eggs from the stimulated ovary, just as in standard IVF. However, following retrieval, instead of inseminating the eggs with sperm and placing them into the incubator, the eggs are inseminated and transferred directly into the uterus nonsurgically two hours later. This allows the eggs to fertilize within the uterus, making it acceptable for women with damaged, nonfunctional or absent fallopian tubes, just as in IVF.
Distal tube blockage: Blockage at the end of the fallopian tube farthest away (distal) from where it joins the uterus and near where it meets the ovary.Dominant follicle: The largest follicle among the developing follicles in the ovary.
Donor embryos: Embryos produced from sperm and egg of couple and/or donor and donated to an infertile women.
Donor Egg: The eggs taken from the ovaries of a fertile women and donated to an infertile women to be used in an assisted reproductive technology procedure using IVF/ICSI.
Donor Insemination: Artificial insemination with donor sperm. See Artificial Insemination, Intrauterine Insemination.
Down Regulation: This refers to the” Shutting off” the message from the pituitary gland to the ovary that enables complete control over the events in a cycle.
Down syndrome: A genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21 and characterized by mental retardation, abnormal facial features and medical problems such as heart defects.
Dysmenorrhea: Painful menstruation. This may be a sign of endometriosis.
Dyspareunia: Painful coitus for either the man or the woman.
Early Menopause: Cessation of menstrual periods due to failure of the ovaries before age 40. It is also called premature ovarian failure.
Early Neoneonatal Death: A death occurring within the first seven days after delivery.
Ectopic Pregnancy: A pregnancy outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. Such a pregnancy can rarely be sustained, and often leads to decreased or complete loss of function in the affected tube. Methotrexate is now used to dissolve the pregnancy without causing major damage to the tube.
Egg (Oocyte): The female reproductive cell.
Egg Donation: The act of donating eggs to someone else for use in attempting pregnancy through in vitro fertilization.
Egg Donor: A women who contracts to donate eggs to an infertile couple for in vitro fertilization.
Egg Retrieval: A procedure used to obtain eggs from ovarian follicles for use in in vitro fertilization. The procedure may be performed during laparoscopy or by using a long needle and ultrasound to locate the follicle in the ovary.
Ejaculate: The semen and sperm expelled during ejaculation.
Ejaculation: The physiological process by which the semen is propelled from the testicles, through the reproductive tract, and out the opening of the penis.
Ejaculatory Duct: A duct formed by the joining of the seminal vesicles with the vas deferens, through which semen is propelled at the time of ejaculation
Embryo: The early products of conception; the undifferentiated beginnings of a baby; the conceptus.
Embryo Donation: The transfer of an embryo resulting from gametes that did not originate from the recipient or her partner.
Embryo Toxic Factor (ETF): An immune response against a woman may have against her own fetus in a pregnancy that may result in the loss of the pregnancy. Treatment is high doses of progesterone until the 16th week of pregnancy.
Embryo Toxicity Assay (ETA): A combination of two procedures. The first involves maternal cell (lymphocyte) culture which is aimed at stimulating the lymphocytes using components of the human embryo (trophoblast) cell line, and the second is an embryo culture. These procedures are used to measure if the patient’s lymphocytes secrete anything that be toxic to the embryo (test utilizes two-cell stage mouse embryos). Women who have been sensitized in the course of their earlier pregnancies or in any other mode, could amass an immune response against their own fetus in the following pregnancy, and end up losing it (in the implantation process or later in the first trimester).
Embryo Transfer: Placing an egg fertilized outside the womb into a woman’s uterus or fallopian tube.
Embryo Transfer Cycle: An ART cycle in which one or more embryos are transfered into the uterus or fallopian tube.
Empirical therapy: When medications or other treatments reportedly work for some patients, but are unproven to work consistently in large research studies. Emprical therapy is tried without proven effects.
Endocrinology: It is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the endocrine system and its specific secretions called hormones.
Endometrial Biopsy: A test to check for Luteal Phase Defect. A procedure during which a sample of the uterine lining is collected for microscopic analysis. The biopsy results will confirm ovulation and the proper preparation of the endometrium by estrogen and progesterone stimulation
Endometrioma : A solitary, non-neoplastic mass containing endometrial tissue and blood.
• Endometriosis: Growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. The tissue may attach itself to the reproductive organs or to other organs in the abdominal cavity. Each month the endometrial tissue inbreeds with the onset of menses. The resultant irritation causes adhesions in the abdominal cavity and in the fallopian tubes. Endometriosis may also interfere with ovulation and with the implantation of the embryo.
Endometritis: An inflammation of the endometrium.
Endometrium: The lining of the uterus which grows and sheds in response to estrogen and progesterone stimulation; the bed of tissue designed to nourish the implanted embryo.
Epididymis: A coiled, tubular organ attached to and lying on the testicle. Within this organ the developing sperm complete their maturation and develop their powerful swimming capabilities. The matured sperm leave the epididymis through the vas deferens.
Erection: The process during which the erectile tissue of the penis becomes engorged with blood, causing the penis to swell and become rigid.
Erectile dysfunction: The inability of a male to achieve or maintain an erection.
Estradiol: The female hormone produced in the ovary. Responsible for formation of the female secondary sex characteristics such as large breasts; supports the growth of the follicle and the development of the uterine lining. At midcycle the peak estrogen level triggers the release of the LH spike from the pituitary gland. The LH spike is necessary for the release of the ovum from the follicle. Fat cells in both obese men and women can also manufacture estrogen from androgens and interfere with fertility.
Estrogen: The female sex hormones. First recognized around 1915, estrogen is responsible for the development of the secondary feminine sex characteristics, which include breasts, rounded hips, and pubic hair. Together with progesterone, another female hormone made by the ovaries, estrogen regulates the changes that occur with each monthly period and prepares the uterus for pregnancy. See Estradiol.
Estimated Due Date (EDD): An approximate date for when a baby is due to be born. It is generally calculated based on LMP, when LMP is two weeks before ovulation. To figure the due date, take your LMP and add 9 months plus one week. To figure EDD based on ovulation, add 9 months and subtract one week. When using ARTs, one would consider the day of insemination to be ovulation, and the day of egg retrieval to be ovulation.
Fallopian Tubes: Ducts through which eggs travel to the uterus once released from the follicle. Sperm normally meet the egg in the fallopian tube, the site at which fertilization usually occurs.
Falloscopy: Falloposcopy is the visual examination of the inside of the fallopian tube. A tiny flexible catheter is inserted through the cervical canal and uterine cavity into the fallopian tube. A small flexible fiber optic endoscope is threaded through the catheter into the fallopian tube. A camera at the end of the falloscope transfers images of the inside of the tube to a monitor so the surgeon can thoroughly visualize and examine the inside of the tube. If problems are found, surgical repairs can be made at the same time.
Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) : Blood glucose levels taken after not eating or drinking anything other than water overnight. A normal level is under 110, over 110 shows impaired glucose tolerance or insulin resistance, and over 126 is diabetic. Its ratio in comparison to fasting insulin can also indicate insulin resistance.
Fasting Blood Insulin : Insulin levels taken after not eating or drinking anything other than water overnight. Insulin is a hormone released to break down sugar. Its ratio in comparison to fasting blood glucose can indicate insulin resistance.
Fecundability: The ability to become pregnant.
Female Kallman’s Syndrome: A condition characterized by infantile sexual development and an inability to smell. Since the pituitary cannot produce LH and FSH, the woman must take hormone supplements to achieve puberty, to maintain secondary sex characteristics, and to achieve fertility.
Fertility: It is the ability of people to produce healthy offspring in abundance.
Fertile Eunuch: A rare disorder characterized by an LH deficiency leading to low testosterone levels and poor sperm production. Male secondary sex characteristics will be incomplete and sex drive will be low.
Fertility Specialist: A physician specializing in the practice of fertility. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology certifies a subspecialty for OB-GYNs who receive extra training in endocrinology (the study of hormones) and infertility.
Fertility Treatment: Any method or procedure used to enhance fertility or increase the likelihood of pregnancy, such as ovulation induction treatment, varicocoele repair, and microsurgery to repair damaged fallopian tubes. The goal of fertility treatment is to help couples have a child.
Fertilization: The combining of the genetic material carried by sperm and egg to create an embryo. Normally occurs inside the fallopian tube (in vivo) but may also occur in a petri dish (in vitro). See also In Vitro Fertilization.
Fetus: A term used to refer to a baby during the period of gestation between eight weeks and term.
Fimbriae:The flared end (fingers) of the fallopian tube that sweeps over the surface of the ovary and helps to direct the egg into the tube.
Follicles: Fluid-filled sacs in the ovary which contain the eggs released at ovulation.
• Each month an egg develops inside the ovary in a fluid-filled pocket called a follicle. This follicle is one inch in size and is about ready to ovulate.
Follicular Fluid: The fluid inside the follicle that cushions and nourishes the ovum. When released during ovulation, the fluid stimulates the fimbria to grasp the ovary and coax the egg into the fallopian tube.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): A pituitary hormone that stimulates spermatogenesis and follicular development. In the man FSH stimulates the Sertoli cells in the testicles and supports sperm production. In the woman FSH stimulates the growth of the ovarian follicle. Elevated FSH levels are indicative of gonadal failure in both men and woman.
Follicular Phase: The pre-ovulatory portion of a woman’s cycle during which a follicle grows and high levels of estrogen cause the lining of the uterus to proliferate. Normally takes between 12 and 14 days.
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) : A procedure where frozen embryos are thawed and then placed into the uterus.
Fructose: A sugar which is made in the seminal vesicles. The presence or absence of fructose in the semen may indicate the location of a blockage in the duct system.
Full-term Birth: A birth that takes place at 37 or more completed weeks of gestational age. This includes both live births and stillbirths.
Galactorrhea: A clear or milky discharge from the breasts associated with elevated prolactin.
Gamete: A reproductive cell:Sperm in men, the egg in women.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT): A technique that may be used in lieu of in vitro fertilization for women with patent tubes. After egg retrieval the eggs are mixed with the husband’s sperm and then injected through the fimbria into the woman’s fallopian tubes for in vivo fertilization.
Genitals: The external sex organs, as the labia and clitoris in the woman and the penis and testicles in the man. Also called genitalia.
Germ Cell: In the male the testicular cell that divides to produce the immature sperm cells; in the woman the ovarian cell that divides to form the egg (ovum). The male germ cell remains intact throughout the man’s reproductive life; the woman uses up her germ cells at the rate of about one thousand per menstrual cycle, although usually only one egg matures each cycle.
Germ Cell Aplasia (Sertoli Cell Only): An inherited condition in which the testicles have no germ cells. Since men with this condition have normal Leydig cells, they will develop secondary sex characteristics. May also be caused by large and/or prolonged exposure to toxins or radiation.
Gestational Age: A woman in whom a pregnancy resulted from fertilization with third-party sperm and oocytes. She carries the pregnancy with the intention or agreement that the offspring will be parented by one or both of the persons that produced the gametes.
Gestational Carrier: The age of an embryo or fetus calculated by adding 14 days (2 weeks) to the number of completed weeks since fertilization.
Gestational Sac: A fluid-filled structure containing an embryo that develops early in pregnancy usually within the uterus.
GnRH analog: A long acting drug that blocks the release of hormones,stops ovulation,and decreases the body’s production of estrogen. Prolonged use of GnRH analog causes decreased hormone production and menopausal levels of estrogen.
Gonads: The glands that make reproductive cells and “sex” hormones: the testicles, which make sperm and testosterone, and the ovaries, which make eggs (ova) and estrogen.
Gonadotropins: Hormones which control reproductive function: Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Lutenizing Hormone.
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH): A substance secreted by the hypothalamus every ninety minutes or so. This hormone enables the pituitary to secrete LH and FSH, which stimulate the gonads.
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH)agonist: Synthetic hormones similar to the naturally occurring GnRH which initially stimulate and then subsequently decrease FSH & LH secretion from the pituitary gland.
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH)antagonist: Synthetic hormones similar to the naturally occurring GnRH which block the physiological action of GnRH.
Gonal-F:Recombinant FSH injectable fertility medication used for superovulation.
Gonorrhea:A sexually transmitted disease caused by the gonococcus bacteria that can cause pelvic infections, scar tissue, and subsequent tubal damage
Granuloma : A ball of inflamed tissue, commonly formed after vasectomy due to sperm leaking into the vas deferens.
Hatching: The process that precedes implantation by which an embryo at the blastocyst stage separates from the zona pellucida.
Hermatospermia: Condition in which blood appears in the semen and may usually be seen by the naked eye.
Hepatitis B&c: Viruses that may be sexually transmitted, or transmitted by contact with blood and other bodily fluids that can cause infection of the liver leading to jaundice and liver failure.
Hemophilia: An inherited blood defect found almost exclusively in males. It is characterized by delayed blood clotting and bleeding problems.
Hirsutism: The overabundance of body hair, such as a mustache or pubic hair growing upward toward the navel, found in women with excess androgens.
Home Pregnancy Test (HPT): A test a woman can use at home to test urine for the presence of hCG.
Hormone: A substance produced by an endocrine gland that travels through the bloodstream to a specific organ.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Refers to estrogen and progesterone replacement in menopausal women.
Host Uterus: Also called a “surrogate gestational mother.” A couple’s embryo is transferred to another woman who carries the pregnancy to term and returns the baby to the genetic parents immediately after birth.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): The hormone produced in early pregnancy which keeps the corpus luteum producing progesterone. Also used via injection to trigger ovulation after some fertility treatments, and used in men to stimulate testosterone production.
Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (HMG – PERGONAL, HUMEGON):
• A combination of hormones FSH and LH, which is extracted from the urine of post-menopausal women. Used to induce ovulation in several fertility treatments.
Human immuno deficiency virus(HIV): A retro virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome(AIDS),a disease that destroys the body’s ability to protect itself from infection and disease. It is transmitted by the exchange of bodily fluids or blood transfusions.
Husband insemination(HI): A procedure in which sperm from a woman’s partner is placed in to her reproductive tract for the purpose of increasing the chance of pregnancy.
Hyperprolactinemia: A condition in which the pituitary gland secretes too much prolactin. Prolactin can suppress LH and FSH production, reduce sex drive in the man, and directly suppress ovarian function in the woman.
Hyperstimulation (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, OHSS): A potentially life-threatening side effect of Pergonal ovulation induction treatment. Arises when too many follicles develop and hCG is given to release the eggs. May be prevented by withholding the hCG injection when ultrasound monitoring indicates that too many follicles have matured.
Hypospadias: An abnormality in which the urethra opens on the underside of the penis. This condition may prevent the semen from being deposited in to the female reproductive tract during intercourse.
Hypothalamus: A thumb sized area in the base of the brain that controls many body functions, regulates the pituitary gland and releases GnRH.
Hydrosapinx: A blocked, dilated, fluid filled fallopian tube.
Hysterectomy: The surgical removal of the uterus. May also include the removal of other reproductive structures, such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An x-ray of the pelvic organs in which a radio-opaque dye is injected through the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes. This test checks for malformations of the uterus and blockage of the fallopian tubes.
Incompetant Cervix: A weakened cervix which opens prematurely during pregnancy and can cause the loss of the fetus. A cervical cerclage is a procedure in which a stitch or two is put around the cervix to prevent its opening until removed when the pregnancy is at term.
Incomplete Abortion: A miscarriage where some tissue has bassed but some remains in the uterus.
Infertility: The inability to conceive or carry a baby to term after 12 months of unprotected sex.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): A micromanipulation procedure where a single sperm is injected into the egg to enable fertilization with very low sperm counts or with non-motile sperm.
Intratubal Insemination (ITI): Artificial insemination where washed sperm is deposited into the fallopian tubes.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): A relatively “low-tech” ART which deposits washed sperm directly into the uterus, bypassing cervical mucus and depositing the sperm more closely to the fallopian tubes, where fertilization occurs. Used to bypass hostile cervical mucus and to overcome sperm count and motility problems. See Artificial Insemination. See Dr. Sherbahn’s article on IUI
Intravaginal Culture (IVC): A procedure related to in vitro fertilization where eggs and sperm are combined in a capsule and then inserted into a woman’s vagina to incubate for 48 hours. The goal being for fertilization to happen within the woman’s body. After 24 hours, any embryos are transferred into the uterus.
Immature Oocyte Retrieval (IOR): A procedure in which immature eggs are aspirated from the ovaries and treated in the laboratory with fertility drugs to bring them too maturity. At maturity they are mixed with sperm and any resulting embryos are transferred into the uterus.
Immature Sperm (Germinal Cell): A sperm that has not matured and gained the ability to swim. In the presence of illness or infection such sperm may appear in the semen in large numbers.
Immunologic Factors: Antibodies or allergic phenomena that may be the causative factors in certain cases of infertility.
Implantation (Embryo): The embedding of the embryo into tissue so it can establish contact with the mother’s blood supply for nourishment. Implantation usually occurs in the lining of the uterus; however, in an ectopic pregnancy it may occur elsewhere in the body.
Implantation Failure : Inability of the fertilized egg to properly implant in the uterinelining.
Implantation Spotting: Bleeding associated with an embryo implanting into the endometrium around 5-10 days after ovulation. It is not uncommon, but it is not the norm.
Impotence: The inability of the man to have an erection and to ejaculate.
Initiated Cycles: ART treatment cycles in which the woman receives ovarian stimulation or monitoring, in the case of spontaneous cycles, irrespective of whether or not follicular aspiration was attempted.
Intra mural fibroids: Fibroids located in the muscular wall of the uterus.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A process in which an egg and sperm are combined in a laboratory dish to achieve fertilization. Later, the fertilized egg(embryo) is transferred in to the woman’s uterus. This procedure bypasses the fallopian tubes and allows for pregnancy in those patients with badly damaged or absent tubes.
IVF culture medium: A special fluid into which sperm, eggs, and embryos are placed when outside the human body.
Infertility: The inability to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term.
Inhibin-F (Folliculostatin): A female feedback hormone made in the ovary to regulate FSH production by the pituitary gland.
Karyotyping: A test performed to analyze chromosomes for the presence of genetic defects.
Klinefelter’s Syndrome: A genetic abnormality characterized by having one Y (male) and two X (female) chromosomes or a mosaic (a combination of 46XY and 47XX). Klinefelters often causes a fertility problem, though some men will produce sperm. ART and donor insemination are possible. The condition can be passed on.
Laparoscope: A small telescope that can be inserted into a hole in the abdominal wall for viewing the internal organs; the instrument used to perform a laparoscopy. Used to diagnose and treat a number of fertility problems including endometriosis, abdominal adhesions, and polycystic ovaries. Also used in egg retrieval for in vitro fertilization.
Laparoscopy: Examination procedure of the pelvic region by using a small telescope called a laparoscope.
Laparotomy: Major abdominal surgery where reproductive organ abnormalities can be corrected and fertility restored, such as tubal repairs and the removal of adhesions.
Leydig cells: The interstitial cells in the testis that produce the male hormone testosterone.
Liquifaction: The process by which semen turn from a jelly like consistency to liquid.
Low Responder: A woman who does not produce many follicles with injectable fertility medications.
• Luteal Phase: Post-ovulatory phase of a woman’s cycle. The corpus luteum produces progesterone, which causes the uterine lining to thicken to support the implantation and growth of the embryo.
Luteal Phase Defect (or deficiency) (LPD): A condition that occurs when the uterine lining does not develop adequately because of inadequate progesterone stimulation; or because of the inability of the uterine lining to respond to progesterone stimulation. LPD may prevent embryonic implantation or cause an early abortion.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH): A pituitary hormone that stimulates the gonads. In the man LH is necessary for spermatogenesis (Sertoli cell function) and for the production of testosterone (Leydig cell function). In the woman LH is necessary for the production of estrogen. When estrogen reaches a critical peak, the pituitary releases a surge of LH (the LH spike), which releases the egg from the follicle.
Luteinizing Hormone Surge (LH SURGE): The release of luteinizing hormone (LH) that causes release of a mature egg from the follicle. Ovulation test kits detect the sudden increase of LH, signaling that ovulation is about to occur (usually within 24-36 hours).
Male factors: Infertility caused by a problem in the male For example in ability to ejaculate or insufficient number of sperm.
Masturbation: A technique used to collect semen for analysis and for artificial insemination; manual stimulation of the penis leading to ejaculation.
Maturation Arrest: A testicular condition in which at one stage of sperm production all sperm development halts throughout all testicular tubules. May result in oligospermia or azoospermia.
Midcycle: The second phase of the menstrual cycle in which the LH surge occurs.
• Mittelschmerz: A pain in the lower abdomen that is associated with ovulation.It is usually related to the rupture of the follicle as the egg is released
Medically Assisted Conception: Conception brought about by noncoital conjunction of the gametes. This includes ART procedures and intrauterine, intracervical, and intravaginal insemination with semen of husband/partner or donor.
Menarche: The time when a woman first menstruates.
Menopause: Natural cessation of ovarian function and menstruation.Menopause can occur between the ages 42 and 56 but usually occurs around the age of 51,when the ovaries stop producing eggs and estrogen level decline.
Methotrexate: A toxic anticancer drug that is an analogue of folic acid and an antimetabolite. Used as an antineoplastic agent (to attack abnormal tissue growth). Sometimes used to treat ectopic and molar pregnancies.
Menorrhagia: Heavy or prolonged menstrual flow.
Menstruation: The cyclical shedding of the uterine lining in response to stimulation from estrogen and progesterone.
Metrodin (Pure FSH): An injectable form of Follicle Stimulating Hormone used to stimulate ovulation.
Metrorrhagia: Menstrual spotting during the middle of the cycle.
Micro Injection Fallopian Transfer (MIFT): A technique similar to GIFT and FASIAR that may be used in lieu of in vitro fertilization for women with patent (clear and open) tubes. After egg retrieval the eggs are mixed with sperm and then immediately injected through into the woman’s fallopian tubes for in vivo fertilization. Rather than using laparoscopy, this method uses need aspiration of follicles and injection into the follopian tubes.
Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA): Using microsurgery to remove sperm from the epididymis for use in in vitro fertilization, often with ICSI.
Micro insemination: The IVF laboratory process whereby a small number of sperm are concentrated closed to the eggs to maximize the chance of fertilization.
Micromanipulation: The IVF laboratory process whereby a single sperm is injected under the egg’s cell or directly into the egg to facilitate fertilization.
Miscarriage: Spontaneous loss of an embryo or fetus from the womb.
Mittleschmerz: The discomfort felt on one side of the lower abdomen at the time of ovulation.
Molar Pregnancy: (Trophoblastic Disease) — The fertilization of an egg without a nucleus. A baby (usually anomalous) may or may not be present, and the placenta develops into a nonmalignant tumor called a hydatidiform mole. The layer of cells that line the gestational sac and normally give rise to the chorionic villi convert into a mass of clear, tapioca-like vesicles instead of into a healthy placenta. The fertilized egg then deteriorates. Probably caused by a chromosomal abnormality in the fertilized egg. A continuous or intermittent brownish discharge is the prime symptom. Treated by a D&C and sometimes methotrexate.
Motile: The sperm’s ability to move spontaneously.
Mucus: Secretions from a gland that can be water, gel-like, stretchy, sticky or dry. Fertile mucus resembles raw egg whites (watery and stretchy).
Multifetal pregnancy reduction: Also known as selective reduction. A procedure to reduce the number of fetus in the uterus. This procedure may be considered for women who are pregnant with multiple fetuses. At the risk of extreme premature delivery, miscarriage (Spontaneous abortion), and other problems increases with the number of fetuses present, this procedure may be performed in an attempt to prevent the entire pregnancy from aborting.
Mutagen: Substance that alters the genetic structure of the sperm or egg before conception.
Mycoplasma: An infectious agent that falls structurally between a virus and a bacterium. Thought to be related to pregnancy loss and perhaps infertility as well. See Ureaplasma.
Myomectomy: Surgical removal of a uterine fibroid.
Necrospermia: Condition in which sperm are produced but are found dead in the semen and are unable to fertilize eggs.
Non-obstructive Azoospermia: Severely impaired or non-existent sperm production. See Azoospermia.
Non-stimulated Oocyte Retrieval In (office) Fertilization (NORIF): No ovulation induction hormones are used for this process (unlike SCORIF). The egg is removed by ultrasound aspiration from the ovaries. This procedure is done in the doctor’s office. The egg is mixed with sperm and placed in a small plastic dish and left in the incubator for 2 days. The fertilized egg is then transferred to the uterus through a small plastic catheter.
Nonsurgical Embryonic Selective Thinning (NEST): A form of assisted hatching using a chemical to thin the outer membrane of the zona pellucida rather than scraping.
Non-surgical Sperm Aspiration (NSA): The procedure is performed under sedation. A tiny needle is used to extract sperm directly from the testis in those who have blocked ducts or cannot ejaculated. Used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization and ICSI.
Neonatal Death: A death within 28 days of birth.
New-borns or Infants Born: The number of live births plus stillbirths.
Nodules: Penetrating knot like collection of endometriosis
Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB-GYN): A doctor who specializes in the diseases and the routine physical care of the reproductive system of women, including treating women through pregnancy and childbirth.
Obstructive Azoospermia: The result of a blockage in the male reproductive tract. Sperm production may be normal but the sperm are trapped inside the epididymis.
Oligomenorrhea: Infrequent menstrual periods.
Oligospermia, Oligozoospermia: A sperm count below 20 million;a low sperm count; a sperm count low enough to cause a fertility problem.
Oligo-ovulation: Infrequent ovulation, usually less than six per year.
Oocyte: The immature female sex cell which matures into an egg,also called ova.
Oocyte Donation: An ART procedure performed with third-party oocytes.
Operative hysteroscopy: Surgery, such as removal of adhesions or tumors,performed inside the uterus with a hysteroscope and other long, slender instruments.
Operative laparoscopy: Surgery, such as removal of adhesions or endometriosis performed inside the abdomen with a laparoscope and other long, slender instrument.
Orgasm: The psychological and physical thrill that accompanies sexual climax. For the man orgasm causes ejaculation.
Ovaries: Female glands that produce eggs, estrogen and progesterone
Ovarian Cyst: A fluid-filled sac inside the ovary. An ovarian cyst may be found in conjunction with ovulation disorders, tumors of the ovary, and endometriosis. See also Chocolate Cyst.
Ovarian Failure: The failure of the ovary to respond to FSH stimulation from the pituitary because of damage to or malformation of the ovary. Diagnosed by elevated FSH in the blood.
Ovarian Drilling: During a laparoscopy, an electrosurgery needle is used to burn 10-12 small holes into each ovary. This procedure may help reduce androgen levels and restore cycles in women with polycystic ovaries.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): A potentially life-threatening side effect of Pergonal ovulation induction treatment. Arises when too many follicles develop and hCG is given to release the eggs. May be prevented by withholding the hCG injection when ultrasound monitoring indicates that too many follicles have matured.
Ovarian Wedge Resection : Surgical removal of a pie-shaped wedge of a polycystic ovary in order to help ovulation.
Ovulation: The release of the egg (ovum) from the ovarian follicle.
Ovulation Induction: Medical treatment performed to initiate ovulation. See also Clomiphene Citrate; Pergonal.
Ovulatory Failure (Anovulation): The failure to ovulate.
Ovum: The egg; the reproductive cell from the ovary; the female gamete; the sex cell that contains the woman’s genetic information.
Panbypopituitarism: Complete pituitary gland failure.
Patent: The condition of being open, as with tubes that form part of the reproductive organs.
Penile Implant: A device surgically inserted into the penis to provide rigidity for intercourse. Used to treat impotence.
Penis: The male organ that becomes enlarged and erect for the purpose of depositing semen in the woman’s vagina.
Peritoneum: The smooth transparent membrane that lines the abdominal and pelvic cavities.
Perinatalogist: A maternal fetal medicine specialist.
Pituitary Gland: The master gland; the gland that is stimulated by the hypothalamus and controls all hormonal functions. Located at the base of the brain just below the hypothalamus, this gland controls many major hormonal factories throughout the body including the gonads, the adrenal glands, and the thyroid gland.
Placenta: The embryonic tissue that invades the uterine wall and provides a mechanism for exchanging the baby’s waste products for the mother’s nutrients and oxygen. The baby is connected to the placenta by the umbilical cord.
Polar Body: The discarded genetic material resulting from female germ cell division. See also Meiosis.
Polycystic Ovaries (PCO or “Stein-Leventhal Syndrome”): A condition found in women who don’t ovulate, characterized by excessive production of androgens (male sex hormones) and the presence of cysts in ovaries. Though PCO can be without symptoms, some include excessive weight gain, acne and excessive hair growth.
Polyps: A general term that describes any mass of tissue which bulges or projects outwards or upwards from the normal surface level.
Preclinical Pregnancy (biochemical pregnancy): Evidence of conception based only on biochemical data in serum or urine before ultrasound evidence of a gestational sac.
Prednisone: A synthetic drug, similar to cortisol, often used to treat an over active adrenal gland.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): Screening of cells from preimplantation embryos for the detection of genetic and/or chromosomal disorders before embryo transfer.
Preterm Birth: A birth that takes place after at least 20, but less than 37, completed weeks of gestation. This includes both live births and stillbirths. Births are counted as birth events (e.g., a twin or triplet live birth is counted as one birth event).
Post Coital Test (PCT): A microscopic examination of the cervical mucus best performed twelve or more hours after intercourse to determine compatibility between the woman’s mucus and the man’s semen; a test used to detect sperm-mucus interaction problems, the presence of sperm antibodies, and the quality of the cervical mucus.
Posttesticular System: The ducts that store and deliver the sperm to the opening of the penis; also includes the glands that produce seminal fluids.
Premature Ejaculation: A condition in which the man becomes so sexually excited that most of the time he ejaculates prior to penetrating the woman’s vagina.
Premature Ovarian Failure: A condition where the ovary runs out of follicles before the normal age associated with menopause.
Pretesticular System: The male hormonal system responsible for stimulating sperm production and the development of male secondary sex characteristics.
Progestin: synthetic hormones which are similar to progesterone.
Progesterone: The hormone produced by the corpus luteum during the second half of a woman’s cycle. It thickens the lining of the uterus to prepare it to accept implantation of a fertilized egg.
Progesterone Withdrawal: A diagnostic procedure used to analyze menstrual irregularity and amenorrhea; uterine “bleeding” that occurs within two weeks after taking progesterone; a procedure used to demonstrate the presence or absence of estrogen and to demonstrate the ability of the uterus and reproductive tract to “bleed.” Prior to ovulation induction therapy, progesterone withdrawal may be used to induce a menstrual period.
Prolactin: The hormone that stimulates the production of milk in breastfeeding women. Excessive prolactin levels when not breastfeeding may result in infertility.
Prostaglandin: A hormone secreted by the uterine lining. It is hypothesized that prostaglandins secreted by active, young endometrial implants may interfere with the reproductive organs by causing muscular contractions or spasms.
Prostate Gland: A gland in the male reproductive system that produces a portion of the semen including a chemical that liquefies the coagulated semen twenty minutes to go one hour after entering the vagina.
Proximal tubal blockage: Tubal blockage that occurs near where the tubes enter the uterus.
Pseudo menopause: A hormonal state created by taking medication and characterized by low estrogen level similar to those found at menopause.
Puberty: The time of life when the body begins making adult levels of sex hormones – (estrogen or testosterone) and the youngster takes on adult body characteristics: developing breasts, growing a beard, pubic hair, and auxiliary hair; attaining sexual maturity.
Pubic region: The region at the base of the abdomen above the vaginal opening and covered in part with hair.
Recipient: In an ART cycle, refers to the woman who receives an oocyte or an embryo from another woman.
Rectum: The lowest segment of the intestines attached to the anus.
Refractory Period: A period of time after orgasm during which a man or woman cannot have another; a recovery period.
Resistant Ovary: An ovary that cannot respond to the follicle-stimulating message sent by FSH. Primitive germ cells will be present in the ovary; however, they will not respond to FSH stimulation.
Retrograde Ejaculation: A male fertility problem that allows the sperm to travel into the bladder instead of out the opening of the penis due to a failure in the sphincter muscle at the base of the bladder.
Reversible menopause: A hormonal state in which estrogen levels falls to menopause level,ovulation does not occur, the endometrium does not grow, and menstruation does not occur. Reversible menopause is created by taking GnRH analogus.
Rh sensitized: a condition where by an Rh negative woman has been immunized(sensitized) to the Rh factor through previous exposure to this antigen. An Rh positive foetus may suffer significant intra uterine and immediate post delivery consequences which can lead to significant handicaps and/or death.
Salpingectomy: Surgical removal of the fallopian tube.
Scrotum: The bag of skin and thin muscle surrounding the man’s testicles.
Secondary Infertility: The inability of a couple which has successfully achieved pregnancy to achieve another. This strict medical definition includes couples for whom the pregnancy did not go to term. The common vernacular, however, refers to a couple which has one biological child but is unable to conceive another.
Secondary Sex Characteristics: The physical qualities that distinguish man and woman, such as beard, large breasts, and deep voice. Formed under the stimulation of the sex hormones (testosterone or estrogen), these characteristics also identify those people who have gone through puberty (sexual maturity).
Semen: The fluid portion of the ejaculate consisting of secretions from the seminal vesicles, prostate gland, and several other glands in the male reproductive tract. The semen provides nourishment and protection for the sperm and a medium in which the sperm can travel to the woman’s vagina. Semen may also refer to the entire ejaculate, including the sperm.
Semen Analysis: A laboratory test used to assess semen quality: sperm quantity, concentration, morphology (form), and motility. In addition, it measures semen (fluid) volume and whether or not white blood cells are present, indicating an infection.
• Semen Viscosity: The liquid flow or consistency of the semen.
Seminal Vesicles: Glands in the male reproductive system which produce much of the semen volume, including fructose (sugar) for nourishing the sperm and a chemical that causes the semen to coagulate on entering the vagina.
Semen volume: The amount of semen. The normal amount of semen per ejaculate is one to five milliliters.
Seminal plasma: Fluid in which the sperm is ejaculated.
Seminiferous Tubes: The testicular tubules in which the sperm mature and move toward the epididymis.
Septate uterus: A uterus divided into right and left halves by a wall of tissue (septum). Women with a septate uterus have an increased chance of early pregnancy loss.
Sertoli (Nurse) Cell: A testicular cell responsible for nurturing the spermatids (immature sperm). Secretes inhibin, a feedback hormone, which regulates FSH production by the pituitary gland. When stimulated by FSH, the Sertoli cell initiates spermatogenesis.
Sexually transmitted diseases(STD): Diseases which are transmitted through sexual contact. Some can cause pelvic infections and lead to infertility by damaging or destroying the fallopian tubes.
Sheehan’s Syndrome: A condition caused by profuse hemorrhage at the time of delivery. The severe blood loss shocks the pituitary gland, which dies and becomes nonfunctional.
Short Luted Phase: A condition in which the corpus luteum deteriorates prematurely, causing the menstrual period to begin approximately ten days (instead of fourteen) after ovulation. Frequently found with women undergoing ovulation induction treatment.
Sonogram (Ultrasound): Use of high-frequency sound waves for creating an image of internal body parts. Used to detect and count follicle growth (and disappearance) in many fertility treatments. Also used to detect and monitor pregnancy.
Speculum: A device inserted in to the vagina to allow visualization of the cervix.
Sperm: The microscopic cell that carries the male’s genetic information to the female’s egg; the male reproductive cell; the male gamete.
Sperm Agglutination: Sperm clumping caused by antibody reactions or by infection.
Sperm Antibodies: Antibodies that attack and maim sperm. May be formed by either the man against his own sperm or by the woman against her husband’s sperm.
Sperm Aspiration: A technique which uses a fine needle to remove(aspirate) sperm from the testes or from the tubes leading from the testes. This technique may be recommended for a male who has no sperm in his ejaculate.
Sperm Bank: A place where sperm are kept frozen in liquid nitrogen for later use in artificial insemination.
Sperm Count: The number of sperm in ejaculate. Also called sperm concentration and given as the number of sperm per milliliter.
Sperm Maturation: A process during which the sperm grow and gain their ability to swim. Sperm take about ninety days to reach maturity.
Sperm Morphology: A semen analysis factor that indicates the number or percentage of sperm in the sample that appear to have been formed normally. Abnormal morphology includes sperm with kinked, doubled, or coiled tails.
Sperm Motility: The ability of sperm to swim. Poor motility means the sperm have a difficult time swimming toward their goal—the egg.
Sperm Penetration: The ability of the sperm to penetrate the egg so it can deposit the genetic material during fertilization.
Spermatogenesis: Sperm production in the testicles.
Sperm washing: A procedure to remove seminal fluids from sperm cells.
Spontaneous ovulation: Naturally occurring ovulation.
Stein-Leventhal Disease: Another name for polycystic ovaries.
Sterility: An irreversible condition that prevents conception.
Stillbirth: The death of a fetus between the twentieth week of gestation and birth.
Submucous Fibroids: Fibroids that are found underneath the uterine lining with in the uterine cavity.
Subserous Fibroids: Fibroids that are located beneath the outer covering of the uterus.
Superovulation: Stimulation of multiple ovulation with fertility drugs; also known as controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH).
Superovulation with time intrauterine insemination: a procedure to facilitate fertilization. The woman is given ovulation inducing drugs which cause her ovary to produce multiple eggs. When the eggs are ready to release the woman is inseminated with her partner’s sperm or donated sperm.
Surrogacy: In traditional surrogacy, a woman is inseminated with the sperm of a man who is not her partner in order to conceive and carry a child to be reared by the biologic(genetic) father and his partner.In this procedure the surrogate is genetically related to the child. The biologic father and his partner must usually adopt the child after its birth. Another type of surrogate is the gestational carrier,a woman who is implanted with the embryo of another couple in order to carry the pregnancy the surrogate is not genetically related to the child in this case.
Surrogate Mother: A woman who is artificially inseminated and carries to term a baby which will be raised by its genetic father and his partner.
Suture: Thread used to close an incision made during surgery. It is generally absorbable.
Testicular Biopsy: A minor surgical procedure used to take a small sample of testicular tissue for microscopic examination; a test used to diagnose male fertility problems when no other means is available (this is because the biopsy procedure itself may cause testicular damage).
Testicular Enzyme Defect: A congenital enzyme defect that prevents the testes from responding to hormonal stimulation. Will result in oligospermia or azoospermia.
Testicular Failure, Primary: A congenital, developmental, or genetic error resulting in a testicular malformation that prevents sperm production.
Testicular Failure, Secondary: Acquired testicular damage – for example, from drugs, prolonged exposure to toxic substances, or a varicocoele.
Testicular Feminization: An enzymatic defect that prevents a man from responding to the male hormone testosterone. The man will look like a woman, but karyotyping will reveal a normal XY male chromosome pattern, and testosterone levels will be in the normal male range.
Testicular Function: The ability of the testicles to produce sperm and testosterone.
Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA): A procedure in which spermatozoa are obtained directly from the testicle by either aspiration or surgical excision of testicular tissue.
Testosterone: The male hormone responsible for the formation of secondary sex characteristics and for supporting the sex drive. Testosterone is also necessary for spermatogenesis.
Thyriod gland: A large, two-lobed, ductless gland located in front of and on either side of trachea(wind pipe) in the neck that secrets a hormone that maintains normal body growth and metabolism.
Thyroid hormone: A hormone produced by the thyroid gland that regulate growth and metabolism.
Torsion: The twisting of the testis inside the scrotum. Besides causing extreme pain and swelling, the rotation twists off the blood supply and causes severe damage to the testicle. Torsion of the ovary may also occur in a woman suffering from hyperstimulation, a complication of ovulation induction treatment. Transcervical cannulation:An X-ray directed technique of opening a fallopian tube which is blocked proximally(at the junction of the uterus) using a narrow, flexible tube inserted through vagina in to the uterine cornu.Also known as selective salpingography or retrograde hysterosalpingography.
Trichomonas: An infection that may produce a greenish, bad-smelling vaginal discharge.
Tubal(Ectopic pregnancy): A fertilized egg that implants with in the fallopian tube rather than the uterine cavity. Under these conditions, the tube can rupture and bleed. Tubal pregnancies can be fatal if they are not identified and treated early.
Tubal ligation: A surgical procedure where the fallopian tubes are clamped,clipped, or cut to prevent pregnancy.
Tubocornual Anastomosis: Surgery performed to remove a blocked portion of the fallopian tube and to reconnect the tube to the uterus. Tubouterine implantation may also be performed to remove fallopian tube blockage near the uterus and reimplant the tube in the uterus.
Tubotubal Anastomosis: Surgery performed to remove a diseased portion of the fallopian tube and reconnect the two ends; sterilization reversal.
Turner’s Syndrome: The most common genetic defect contributing to female fertility problems. The ovaries fail to form and appear as slender threads of atrophic ovarian tissue, referred to as streak ovaries. Karyotyping will reveal that this woman has only one female (X) chromosome instead of two
Ultrasound: A test used instead of X rays to visualize the reproductive organs; for example, to monitor follicular development and to examine the tubes and uterus. The instrument works by bouncing sound waves off the organs. A picture displayed on a TV screen shows the internal organs.
Umbilical Cord: Two arteries and one vein encased in a gelatinous tube leading from the baby to the placenta. Used to exchange nutrients and oxygen from the mother for waste products from the baby.
Undescended Testicles (Cryptorchidism): The failure of the testicles to descend from the abdominal cavity into the scrotum by one year of age. If not repaired by age six, may result in permanent fertility loss.
Unexplained Infertility: Unexplained infertility is a diagnosis of exclusion, once a couple have both been evaluated. The reasons for infertility are unable to be determined. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of couples will receive the diagnosis of unexplained infertility.
Unicornuate Uterus: An abnormality in which the uterus is “one sided” and smaller than usual.
Urethra: The tube that allows urine to pass between the bladder and the outside of the body. In the man this tube also carries semen from the area of the prostate to the outside.
Urologist: A physician specializing in the genitourinary tract.
Uterus: The hollow, muscular female reproductive organ that houses and nourishes the fetus during pregnancy. The womb.
Uterine fibroids: Abnormal masses of smooth muscle tissue that grow with in the uterine wall also called myomas or leiomyomas.
Uterine septum: A congenital abnormality caused by a band of tissue in the mid section of the uterus tat divides the normal uterine cavity.
Vagina: The canal leading from the cervix to the outside of the woman’s body; the birth passage.
Vaginitis: Yeast, bacterial vaginosis, or trichomonas infections of the vagina. Frequent vaginitis may indicate the presence of pelvic adhesions and tubal blockage from other infections, such as chlamydia. Vaginitis may interfere with sperm penetration of the cervical mucus, and the symptoms may even interfere with the ability and desire to have intercourse.
Varicocoele: A dilation of the veins that carry blood out of the scrotum. The resulting swollen vessels surrounding the testicles create a pool of stagnant blood, which elevates the scrotal temperature. A major cause of male infertility.
Vas Deferens: One of the tubes through which the sperm move from the testicles (epididymis) toward the seminal vesicles and prostate gland. These tubes are severed during a vasectomy performed for birth control.
Vasectomy: The accidental or elective surgical separation of the vasa deferential a procedure used for birth control.
Vasovasostomy: A surgical procedure to reconnect the severed ends of the vas deferens. Often called “Vasectomy reversal”.
Venereal Disease: Any infection that can be sexually transmitted, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, ureaplasma, and syphilis. Many of these diseases will interfere with fertility and some will cause severe illness. See also PID.
Virility: Masculinization; having male secondary sex characteristics; being able to perform sexually.
X Chromosome: The congenital, developmental, or genetic information in the cell that transmits the information necessary to make a female. All eggs contain one X chromosome, and half of all sperm carry an X chromosome. When two X chromosomes combine, the baby will be a girl.
Y Chromosome: The genetic material that transmits the information necessary to make a male. The Y chromosome can be found in one-half of the man’s sperm cells. When an X and a Y chromosome combine, the baby will be a boy.
Zona Pellucida: The protective outer membrane surrounding the egg.
Zygote: A fertilized egg which has not yet divided.
Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT): An ART in which eggs are removed from a woman’s ovaries, fertilized with the man’s sperm in a lab dish, and the resulting embryos are transferred into the woman’s fallopian tubes during a minor surgical procedure