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Fertility Terms You Should be Familiar With

In 2012, in vitro fertilization (IVF) accounted for over 1.5% of all babies born that year. In the developed world, it is estimated that up to 5% of children have been born using IVF technology, and this percentage is expected to continue to rise.

During your research into IVF and other fertility options, you’re bound to come across some complex research terms and lingo you haven’t seen before.

Fear not! With this article, you’ll find the descriptions and definitions of the most common fertility terms to help guide you through your research.

Keep reading to learn common fertility terms and their definitions.

Common Fertility Terms and What They Mean

Below are dozens of fertility terms you may see while performing research into fertility.

ABO-Rh: Blood type and antibody screen
Agglutination: This is the clumping of particles, often used to describe when sperm clump together
Amenorrhea: A condition in which a woman doesn’t have menstrual periods
Anovulation: A condition in which a woman doesn’t ovulate or ovulates rarely
Antisperm Antibody Test: Can determine if antibodies on sperm are interfering with the sperm’s ability to move, penetrate, or fertilize an egg
Artificial Insemination: The procedure in which sperm are inserted directly into a woman’s cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus
Assisted Hatching (AH): Assisted hatching is an IVF technique that involves creating a small opening in the shell of an embryo to weaken the wall of the embryo. This helps the embryo successfully hatch and implant into the endometrium
Assisted reproductive technology(ART): The general term for infertility procedures such as IVF, GIFT, ZIFT, and ICSI
Azoospermia: Absence of sperm in semen
Basal body temperature (BBT): temperature upon first waking. A rise of temperature around the time of ovulation can indicate ovulation
Blastocyst: An embryo which is at day 5 of development after fertilization
Cervical Mucus: Mucus produced by the cervix that increases in quantity as ovulation approaches
Cleaved Embryo: An embryo between 2 and 4 days of development after fertilization
Clomid: A fertility drug that stimulates ovulation
Donor eggs (DE): Eggs that are taken from a fertile woman and implanted in another woman
Days post-transfer (DPT): days after an embryo is transferred into the uterus in an IVF cycle
Ectopic Pregnancy: When an embryo implants outside the uterus
EDD: Estimated due date
Embryo Transfer: A procedure performed either 3-5 days after a fresh egg retrieval or during a frozen embryo transfer cycle. A catheter guides the egg or embryo into the uterine cavity, and they are placed in an area with the highest receptivity
Endometriosis: A painful condition in which tissue from the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): A hormone normally secreted from the pituitary gland to stimulate ovarian follicle growth and maturation

Gestational Carrier: A woman who undergoes an embryo transfer who is not genetically similar to the embryo being transferred
Gonadoptropins: Hormones used for ovulation induction
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG): the hormone pregnancy tests look for.
Manufactured HCG is also injected to cause an egg to fully mature and ovulate.
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): A pelvic X-ray performed to determine if the uterine cavity is lesion-free and to check for fallopian tube patency
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): A lab procedure that helps couples undergoing IVF with male factor infertility. ICSI involves the insertion of one sperm directly into the cytoplasm of a mature egg
IUI: Intra-uterine insemination: placement of sperm that have been washed and concentrated directly into the uterus. IUI increases the number of available sperm to fertilize an egg
In-vitro fertilization (IVF): procedure where an egg is fertilized with sperm outside the womb, then implanted in a woman’s uterus
Luteinizing hormone (LH): the hormone the ovulation test kits look for to see if you’re ovulating
Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA): An outpatient sperm retrieval technique to obtain sperm from a man’s epididymis if he does not have any sperm in his semen
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): a condition where female sex hormones are out of balance and can prevent regular ovulation
Post-coital test (PCT): infertility test that looks at how sperm and cervical mucus interact
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): A technique that can be used during an IVF procedure to test embryos for genetic disorders and chromosome abnormalities prior to their transfer into the uterus
Progesterone: hormone that supports the lining of the uterus to develop each month so that an embryo can implant and begin a pregnancy. This hormone is also required for pregnancy to continue

Premature ovarian failure (POF): early menopause

Reproductive endocrinologist: specialist who treats infertility and reproductive disorders in women and men

Zygote: An early stage in the development of a fertilized egg

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT): A technique similar to IVF that involves removing sperm and eggs, combining them outside the body, and inserting fertilized eggs into the fallopian tubes

Final Thoughts

The terms, definitions, and explanations surrounding fertility can be daunting. In fact, the list above only includes some fertility terms, but certainly not all.

If you’re having trouble conceiving and would like to inquire into fertility treatments, find a local fertility specialist to help answer any questions you may have.

For more resources on fertility, visit our blog today.