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Glossary of Common Terms

Adhesion:
Scar tissue that forms between tissues of the body. Adhesions cause things to stick together. For Example, the fallopian tube may become adhesed to the ovary.

Alpha-fetoprotein Test (AFP):
The AFP test is performed during pregnancy as a blood test. An elevated AFP test can be a marker for a problem with the baby involving the spinal cord or brain development.

AID (Artificial Insemination Donor):
Insemination of donor sperm

Amenorrhea:
Absence of menses, or period.

Andrologist:
A specialist or technician who works with sperm. Frequent duties include performing a semen analysis, preparing sperm for IVF, and sperm washing for IUI.

Anovulation:
Lack of ovulation. Usually associated with oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea.

Antibodies:
Structures that regulate or signal the immune system. Antibodies are produced to attach to certain tissues, foreign materials, or sperm. Antibodies target the tissue for destruction by the immune system and can also cause sperm to cluster, or agglutinate together.

Antisperm Antibodies (ASA):
Antibodies that are directed against the sperm. ASA can cause the sperm to agglutinate, or cluster toghether. This can cause male infertility.

Artificial Insemination (AI):
A procedure where sperm are prepared for insertion into the uterus and transferred into the inside of the uterus using a small catheter. Frequently called intrauterine insemination, or IUI.

Artificial Insemination Donor (AID):
Artificial insemination with donor sperm.

Asherman's Syndrome:
Scar tissue forming within the uterus that can interfere with the lining of the uterus. An infection in the uterus following a surgical procedure is the biggest risk factor for this problem.

Assisted Hatching:
A procedure used in combination with in vitro fertilization (IVF) where a small opening is made in the outer shell (zona pellucida) of the embryo. It is thought that this may help the embryo hatch. Embryo hatching is a normal process that occurs around day 6 after the egg and sperm collection.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART):
A term that refers to advanced fertility treatments including IVF and ICSI.

Asthenozoospermia:
Low sperm motility.

Azoospermia:
Absence of sperm in the ejaculate

Bacterial Vaginosis:
A vaginal infection caused by bacteria. Discomfort, itching, discharge, and a foul odor are common. The condition is usually treated with antibiotics.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT):
This is the temperature measured in the morning and used to create a BBT chart. The chart is used to see if there is a pattern of temperature that shows ovulation. When the temperature increases after ovulation, a "biphasic" pattern is seen. If there is no increase through the month, the pattern is described as "monophasic".

Beta hCG:
Beta Human Chroionic Gonadotropin - The hormone normally produced by a pregnancy. HCG can also be used to cause ovulation. Beta hCG levels, or BHCG is used to monitor the growth of an early pregnancy. The BHCG level should roughly double every 48 hours.

Bicornuate Uterus:
A malformation of the womb where the upper portion is split into a left an right horn. This can often be found on an HSG test and is associated with a high risk of breech deliveries occurring preterm. This must be distinguished from a uterine septum which is associated with a very high rate of miscarriages.

Biochemical Pregnancy:
A pregnancy that is detected by hormone levels only. Sometimes the hormone levels will start to increase and will then decrease before a pregnancy can be seen on ultrasound (clinical pregnancy).

Blastocyst:
A day 5 or day 6 embryo will develop a fluid cavity with some cells lining the outer wall of the embryo and other cells clustering inside the blastocyst. The inner cell mass will be the cells that go on to make the baby. This stage of development is called the blastocyst stage and the embros are occasionally referred to as "blasts"

Capacitation:
A process that sperm go through after ejaculation where they are preparing for the fertilization process. The sperm increase in their motility and are said to be "excited".

Cervical Stenosis:
A narrowing or obstruction of the cervix that may be caused by scar tissue from previous procedures or from infections, inflammation, or lack of estrogen.

Cervix:
The lower portion of the uterus that sticks out into the vagina. The small opening allows the sperm to enter and the menstrual flow to exit. The cervix and cervical canal make up the passage from the vagina to the uterus. This is used to place sperm or embryos into the uterus for an IUI or IVF procedure.

Chocolate Cyst:
A cyst on the ovary with dark red or brown fluid from endometriosis that is trapped within the ovary. The fluid represents old blood and has the appearance of melted chocolate.

Chromosome:
The stuctures in cells that contiain the genetic material. The chromosomes are divided and a single copy is given to the baby to pass on genetic material. Errors in the number of chromosomes given to the embryo will increase as a woman's age increases.

Cilia:
Hair-like structures lining the fallopian tube that are thought to contract and cause a fluid wave that propells the embryo towards the uterus. Smoking affects the function of the cilia as well as pelvic infections.

Clinical Pregnancy:
Evidence of a pregnancy on ultrasound.

CCCT: Clomid Challenge Test: A test looking at blood levels of estrogen and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This includes a day 3 FSH which can give information about the ability of the ovaries to respond to fertility medications.

Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation (COH):
The production of multiple follicles containing eggs by giving medicaitons. Ovaries normally produce only one mature egg each month and fertility medications will make more than one egg. The process is monitored using ultrasounds.

Corpus Luteum:
The structure in the ovary that is present after ovulation. The corpus luteum makes progesterone that helps to support the pregnancy. The CL will sometimes form a cyst that may last for 2 weeks or more.

Cryopreservation:
The freezing and storage of sperm, eggs, embryos, or other tissues.

Cumulus Oophorus:
The support cells around the egg. Granulosa cells make estrogen and line the inside of an ovarian follicle. The granulosa cells immediately surrounding the egg are referred to collectively as teh cumulus oophorus complex.

Cycle Day: The day of the menstrual cycle when the first day of heavy bleeding is considered cycle day 1. When injection medications are used, cycle day 1 is usually the day a woman starts stimulation medications. Abbreviated CD.

Cyst: A fluid filled structure inside the ovary. Functional cysts occurs when the fluid sac does not resolve after ovulation. Most cysts will resolve in time and are very common.

D&C (Dilation and Curettage):
A procedure where the cervix is dilated so instruments can be placed into the uterus to evacuate the contents of the uterus. A D&C is most commonly used to evacuate a non-viable pregnancy or to remove a polyp.

DES (Diethylstilbestrol):
A medication commonly used in the 1950's and 1960's as an attempt to prevent miscarriage. The babies that were exposed to this drug frequently develop problems with thier reproductive system which can affect fertility.

Doxycycline:
An antibiotic commonly used to treat bacterial infections of the reproductive tract.

Dysmenorrhea:
Painful menstruation.

Dyspareunia:
Pain during sex. This may be external or internal pain. Sometimes certain triggers may be identified that cause the pain to be worse than other times.

E2: Estradiol - the female hormone that increases with growth of the follicles within the ovary. Estradiol blood levels can predict the response to hormonal medications.

Ectopic Pregnancy:
A pregnancy outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. The ectopic pregnancy must be removed surgically or by medication. An untreated ectopic pregnancy is at high risk for causing severe pain and bleeding. If untreated, this can even result in death.

Egg Retrieval:
A procedure used to collect the eggs from a woman's ovary. The procedure is performed under anesthesia or sedation. A needle is passed under ultrasound guidane into the ovary. The eggs are collected and given to the embryologist. Common terms to describe the retrieval include TVOR (trans-vaginal oocyte retrieval), Egg Pick Up (EPU), or egg harvest.

Embryo:
The very early stages of a baby just after the egg and sperm have joined. There are no tissues or organs formed in an embryo.

Embryo Donation:
The giving of an embryo, or embryos, to another individual. Embryos can not be sold, only donated to another person. Embryo donation can be anonymous or directed (the giving and receiving parties know eachother).

Embryo Transfer
The procedure where the embryos are placed into the uterus wiht the intent to make a pregnancy.

Endometrial Biopsy:
A diagnostic procedure where a small catheter is placed into the uterus to take a sample of endometrial tissue.

Endometriosis:
A disorder in which the lining of the uterus is found inside the abdomen around to tubes and ovaries. This can create inflammation and scar tissue that are able to interfere with fertility and can cause pelvic pain. Endometriosis located inside the ovary forming a cyst of dark or "chocolate" fluid is called an endometrioma.

Endometrium:
The lining of the uterus which is shed during menses (the period) and supports implantation during pregnancy.

Epididymis:
The system of storage tubules located above the testes. Sperm stored in the epididymis travel along the vas deferens to the outside of the body during ejaculation.

Estradiol & Estrogen:
A hormone produced by the ovary. The estradiol level increases as the follicle grows. Fertility medications can increase the number of follicles that grow and increase the level of estradiol hormone. The estradiol level normally peaks around ovulation and is responsible for the increase in watery discharge in mid-cycle.

Fallopian Tubes:
The passageway between the abdomen and the inside of the uterus. An egg is collected by the fallopian tube and the sperm travel along the fallopian tube. After fertilization, the embryo travels along the fallopian tube into the uterus.

Fertilization:
The sperm enters the egg and delivers the genetic material from the male. Once the sperm enters the egg, the egg is said to be fertilized. The process of the egg and sperm coming together is known as fertilization.

Fetus:
A pregnancy that is between the early stages of having a heartbeat and delivery.

Fibroid (Myoma or Leiomyoma):
A muscle growth of the uterus that may distort the cavity, or endometrium, and prevent pregnancy. Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that can also cause heavy periods (menses), pelvic pain, or painful intercourse. Fibroids are removed by a surgery called a myomectomy.

Fimbria:
The end of the fallopian tube has finger-like projections for collecting the egg. The end of the tube, like the hand at the end of the arm, picks up the eggs after ovulation.

Follicles:
The fluid filled sacs, or cysts, on the ovary that contain the eggs. During fertility treatments the follicles get larger as the egg inside becomes more mature and ready to be fertilized.

Follicular Fluid:
The fluid contained inside a follicle. This fluid is collected during IVF and contains the eggs that will be used to make a pregnancy.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH):
The hormone that stimulates the growth of follicles and eggs in women and sperm production in men. A high level of FSH can be an indicator of a decrease in ovarian function. FSH is normally checked on day 3 of the menstrual cycle and should be less than 10.

Follicular Phase:
The part of the menstrual cycle that occurs before ovulation. During the folliclular phase, the follicles are growing and producing estrogen. This causes the lining of the uterus to thicken in preparation for a pregnancy.

Galactorrhea:
Milk discharge from the breasts. This may be caused by several different medications or an abnormally elevated prolactin level.

Gamete:
A generic term for reproductive cells or the sperm and eggs.

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT):
An advanced fertility treatment where the sperm and eggs are placed into the fallopian tube to help cause a pregnancy. This technique has been almost completely replaced by in vitro fertilization - IVF.

Germ Cell Aplasia (Sertoli Cell Only):
A condition in which men do not have all of the cells necessary in the testicles to produce sperm. On occasion, a very minute amount of sperm may be collected for use with ICSI though donor sperm is a more common form of treatment.

Gestational Age:
The length of the pregnancy counted from the first day of the last menstrual period. A normal pregnancy is expected to last approximately 40 weeks.

Gestational Carrier:
A woman who carries a pregnancy for another woman. Commonly called a gestational surrogate though the terminology is changing so that gestational carrier is the preferred term.

Gestational Sac:
The fluid sac in the uterus that contains the baby and yolk sac. The size of the gestational sac increases with the age of the pregnancy. The sac usually becomes clearly visible around 5 weeks.

Gonadotropins:
The hormones that directly stimulate the ovary to produce multiple eggs. In a natural cycle, one egg is produced under the direction of the gonadotropins FSH and LH. During fertility treatments with injectable medications (gonadotropins) different brand names of drugs can be used but the drugs are essentially FSH and LH.

Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH):
A hormone produced by the hypothalamus of the brain which regulates the production of gonadotropins (FSH and LH).

Gonad:
A structure that makes reproductive cells or gametes. In women, the gonads are the ovaries; in men, they are the testicles.

Gonorrhea:
A sexually transmitted infection that may cause damage to the Fallopian tubes and subsequent impairment of female fertility.

Hatching::
The process by which an embryo breaks out of its protective shell (zona pellucida) so that it can attach to and implant in the uterine wall.

Hirsutism:
Excess body hair in women. Most common sites are the lip, chin, around the nipples, in a vertical line on the abdomen, and along the inner and back thighs.

Hostile Mucus:
Cervical mucus that is thick or does not otherwise allow progression of sperm through the cervix.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG):
The protein hormone produced by the placenta which helps to maintain the pregnancy. This is the hormone measured in pregnancy tests. It should follow a regular pattern of increase in early pregnancy; departure from this pattern can indicate an abnormal or failing pregnancy. This hormone can also be used to trigger ovulation.

Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (HMG –Repronex, Menopur):
Medications which include both of the gonadotropins FSH and LH. These preparations are obtained by purifying the urine of post-menopausal women, primarily nuns.

Hyperprolactinemia:
The presence of excess amounts of the milk production hormone prolactin in the blood. Symptoms of hyperprolactinemia can include milk discharge from the breasts (galactorrhea), headaches, or lack of menstrual periods.

Hyperstimulation (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, OHSS):
A very serious medical condition in which the ovaries become over-stimulated by gonadotropins, resulting in massively enlarged ovaries, leaky blood vessels, fluid accumulation in the abdomen and lungs, an increased risk of blood clots, and a risk of kidney failure. A significant case of OHSS occurs in approximately 1-2% of women who use gonadotropin therapy.

Hyperthyroidism:
A state in which the thyroid gland is over-active.

Hypothalamus:
The part of the brain above the pituitary gland in the hormonal feedback loop which regulates gonadotropin production.

Hypothyroidism:
A state in which the thyroid gland is under-active. In addition to physical complaints such as weight gain, fatigue, and increased susceptibility to cold, hypothyroidism can interfere with female hormone production and thus impair fertility.

Hysterectomy:
Surgery to remove the uterus. This may be done through the vagina, through an abdominal incision, or less commonly, through laparoscopy.

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG):
An X-ray procedure in which dye is injected through the cervix into the uterus. The outline of the uterine cavity can be seen on the X-ray screen, and it can also be seen whether dye fills up and spills out of the Fallopian tubes.

Hysteroscopy:
A procedure in which a small camera is inserted through the cervix and directly into the uterus in order to evaluate the interior of the uterus. Although the openings of the Fallopian tubes can be seen hysteroscopically, the rest of the Fallopian tubes cannot be visualized. Therefore it cannot be determined by hysteroscopy whether the Fallopian tubes are blocked. Also, the rest of the pelvis cannot be seen, so endometriosis cannot be diagnosed by hysteroscopy alone.

ICSI:
Stands for “intracytoplasmic sperm injection.” A technique in which a single sperm is injected directly into the egg to allow for fertilization in cases of severely abnormal sperm.

Imperforate Hymen:
A situation in which the vagina is completely occluded by a membrane (the hymen), and menstrual flow is unable to exit the vagina. This condition requires surgery to alleviate.

Implantation (Embryo):
The process by which the embryo burrows into the maternal tissue and establishes an interconnected blood supply to support the pregnancy.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI):
A technique in which a single sperm is injected directly into the egg to allow for fertilization in cases of severely abnormal sperm.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF):
A procedure in which eggs are extracted from a woman’s ovary and mixed with sperm in a lab dish to allow fertilization. Resulting embryos are placed back into the woman’s uterus in hopes of establishing a pregnancy.

Infertility:
The inability to conceive a pregnancy. Most authorities use this label when a woman under 35 has tried for one year to conceive without success, and when women over 35 have tried for 6 months or more to conceive without success.

Inhibin:
A protein hormone that suppresses FSH production. One form of inhibin, inhibin-B, is sometimes measured in an attempt to predict a woman’s fertility potential, although there are other more commonly used tests such as Day 3 FSH levels, Clomid challenge test, and ovarian antral follicle count.

IUD (Intrauterine Device):
A contraceptive device inserted directly into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The device may or may not contain hormones.

Karyotype:
A genetic test in which the chromosomes of a cell are viewed and counted to see if they are normal and present in the proper quantity.

Laparoscope:
A telescope camera that is inserted through the belly button to view the pelvic organs. It enables diagnosis of conditions such as endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, and tubal occlusion. The surgical procedure using a laparoscope is called a laparoscopy and is an outpatient (same-day) surgery.

Laparoscopy:
An outpatient (same-day) surgery in which a telescope-type camera called a laparoscope is inserted through the belly button in order to view the pelvic organs. It enables diagnosis and possibly correction of conditions such as endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, and tubal occlusion.

Laparotomy:
Surgery involving a larger incision through the abdomen so that the abdominal organs can be viewed directly, rather than with a camera such as a laparoscope.

Leiomyoma:
Technical name for a fibroid, which is a benign tumor of the uterine muscle and connective tissue.

Leydig Cell:
Cell in the testicle which produces testosterone. Adjacent Sertoli cells are the testicular cells that produce sperm.

Live Birth Rate:
A statistic indicating the number of live births per 100 IVF cycles. Live birth rate data are always going to lag behind pregnancy rate data, since the time to delivery must elapse before being able to collect the data. Twin or triplet births are reported as one live birth, not two or three.

Luteal Phase:
The time after ovulation in the menstrual cycle. Normal luteal length is 10-14 days.

Luteal Phase Defect (or deficiency) (LPD):
A problem in which the uterine lining does not develop in synchrony with the rest of the menstrual cycle. This can cause problems with implantation.

Luteinized Unruptured Follicle (LUF) Syndrome:
A condition in which the mature egg is not released from the ovary, despite normal hormonal triggering. The existence and impact of this condition are controversial.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH):
One of the gonadotropin hormones produced by the pituitary gland. This hormone is responsible for the final maturation of the egg and for the signal for ovulation.

LH Surge (LH SURGE):
The sudden output of the gonadotropin LH (luteinizing hormone), which triggers ovulation 24-48 hours later.

Maturation Arrest:
A problem of sperm production which results in low numbers of sperm (oligospermia).

Meiosis:
The process in which the chromosomes of gametes (sperm or eggs) are divided into half the usual number, so that when the sperm and egg combine, the normal number of chromosomes results.

Menorrhagia:
Heavier than normal menstrual flow, or menstrual flow for longer than 7 days.

Menstruation:
Menstrual period bleeding, in which the uterine lining is shed.

Metrorrhagia:
Bleeding in between menstrual cycles.

Micromanipulation (also referred to as assisted fertilization):
Certain techniques used in the IVF laboratory such as injecting sperm into eggs, removing cells from embryo for biopsy, and breaching the protective shell (zona pellucida) around the embryo to assist hatching and implantation.

Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA):
A surgical procedure, performed under the microscope, by which sperm are extracted from the epididymal portion of the testicle.

Miscarriage:
Early pregnancy loss (before 20 weeks’ gestation).

Mitosis:
Cell division which preserves the usual number of chromosomes and results in two genetically identical cells. This is the process which occurs after the egg is fertilized.

Mittleschmerz:
Mid-cycle pain associated with ovulation.

Myomectomy:
Surgical removal of fibroids (myomas). This can be done either through a laparatomy (see above) or through a hysteroscope (see above).

Neosalpingostomy/fimbrioplasty:
Surgery to correct problems or blockages in the fimbriated ends of the tubes. Depending on the extent of tubal damage, may have only a 15% chance of success.

Oligomenorrhea:
Menstrual cycles that occur less frequently than usual.

Oligospermia, Oligozoospermia:
Low sperm count. Usually defined as less than 20 million/ml.

Oocyte Donation:
An assisted reproduction technique in which eggs are extracted from the ovaries of one woman (the egg donor), fertilized, and then implanted into the hormonally prepared uterus of the recipient woman (intended mother).

Ovarian Cyst:
A fluid collection within the ovary. Cysts are produced each month at the time of ovulation, and usually collapse with the onset of the menstrual period. Abnormal cysts can contain endometriosis or other cells, both benign and cancerous. In reproductive-aged women, the vast majority of ovarian cysts are benign, and most resolve on their own.

Ovarian Failure:
The situation in which the ovary no longer contains any viable eggs. This is a normal condition for all menopausal women, but can occur in younger women as well.

Ovulation:
The process in which the egg is released from the ovary.

Ovulation Induction:
The use of medication or other adjuncts (such as diet or acupuncture) to cause release of an egg or eggs from the ovary.

Ovum:
An egg. This contains 23 chromosomes, which is half of the usual number of chromosomes. The other 23 chromosomes will be supplied by the sperm. In a normal egg cell, one of the chromosomes is always an X chromosome.

Patent:
Open. In fertility treatment, usually used in reference to the Fallopian tubes.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID):
An infection of the female reproductive organs characterized by abdominal pain and fever. Causative agents can include gonorrhea or Chlamydia. PID can result in tubal damage and subsequent infertility.

PID:
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. An infection of the female reproductive organs characterized by abdominal pain and fever. Causative agents can include gonorrhea or Chlamydia. PID can result in tubal damage and subsequent infertility.

Pituitary Gland:
The part of the brain responsible for the production of the protein hormones that regulate ovulation, sperm production, thyroid function, and adrenal function.

Placenta:
The disc of tissue responsible for connecting fetus with mother during pregnancy. It produces hormones to help support the pregnancy and allows nutrient and waste exchange with the maternal circulation.

Polar Body:
A packet of chromosomes discarded during egg division. Discarding chromosomes is necessary to keep the number of chromosomes normal after the egg and sperm unite.

Polycystic Ovaries (PCO or "Stein-Leventhal Syndrome"):
A hormonal condition evidenced by irregular ovulation and excess androgen (male hormone production). Many women evidence difficulty with insulin regulation, which can lead to obesity. Excess androgen production can cause excess hair growth and/or acne. Polycystic ovaries have a classic appearance on ultrasound, with many visible small ovarian follicles or cysts.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD):
A technique in which material from an embryo created through IVF is analyzed for certain genetic defects.

Post Coital Test (PCT):
A test to evaluate the quality of the woman’s cervical mucus at midcycle, and the ability of the sperm to swim through it. This test is omitted when intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization is planned.

Premature Ovarian Failure:
The condition in which the ovary runs out of eggs before a woman is 40 years old. This results in menopause.

Progesterone:
A hormone which makes the uterine lining receptive to implantation and which helps support a developing pregnancy. In IVF, some of the ovarian cells which would ordinarily produce progesterone are withdrawn along with the eggs, so progesterone supplementation is needed to support the uterine lining during an IVF cycle.

Progesterone Withdrawal:
The process by which bleeding occurs after progesterone is given to someone whose uterine lining has already been exposed to estrogen. The progesterone in effect fools the uterine lining into thinking that ovulation has occurred. Once the progesterone is stopped (withdrawn), the lining sheds as it would in a normal menstrual cycle. This technique is often used to bring on a period in a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Prolactin:
The milk-production hormone, which is produced in the pituitary gland. Problems with prolactin production (see hyperprolactinemia) can result in fertility problems.

Prostaglandin:
The hormone that causes most menstrual cycle cramping. This hormone also plays a role in the release of the egg from the follicle at ovulation. Medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen inhibit the action of prostaglandins, which is why they are effective treatments for menstrual cramps.

Prostate Gland:
A male reproductive gland that secretes fluid that helps keep the sperm nourished and pH balanced inside the woman’s vagina. Infection of the prostate gland can introduce white blood cells into the semen and impair sperm function.

Recipient, or intended mother:
A woman who undergoes transfer of embryos into her uterus, when the embryos have been created using the eggs of another woman (the egg donor).

Salpingectomy:
Removal of the Fallopian tube by surgery. Often done to remove a tubal pregnancy, especially if the pregnancy has already eroded through the tube’s wall. Also often performed prior to an IVF cycle in a woman with dilated, fluid-filled tubes, in order to improve pregnancy rates and decrease tubal pregnancy rates.

Salpingostomy:
Literally, making a hole or cut in a Fallopian tube. Often done to remove a tubal pregnancy if the pregnancy has not already eroded through the tube’s wall.

Scrotum:
The male sac supporting the testicles. The testes would not be able to make sperm effectively if they were internal to the abdomen, so the scrotum provides a way to keep the testicles at a cooler temperature to promote sperm production.

Secondary Infertility:
Inability to conceive after a prior successful pregnancy. The prevalence of secondary infertility is actually higher than the prevalence of primary infertility.

Semen:
The liquid material produced by ejaculation. It consists of nutritive fluid plus the sperm.

Semen Analysis:
A test in which a man provides a semen sample by masturbation for analysis in the lab. Areas analyzed include the sperm volume, sperm count, motility, morphology or sperm shape, pH, and presence of white blood cells or immature sperm.

Semen Viscosity:
The thickness or liquidity of the semen.

Septate uterus:
A situation in which the developing uterus did not properly remove all of the intervening tissue within the uterine cavity. This leads to two halves of the uterus and can increase the odds for miscarriage. This defect can be corrected with hysteroscopic surgery.

Sertoli Cell:
The cell of the testes responsible for sperm production.

Sonogram (Ultrasound):
An examination using sound waves to enable visualization of internal pelvic organs. In fertility practices, usually accomplished by using an ultrasound transducer or wand that is placed directly into the vagina to permit best visualization of uterus and ovaries. The procedure is rarely painful or uncomfortable.

Sperm Agglutination:
The sticking-together of sperm when viewed under a microscope. May be caused by antibodies attached to the sperm.

Sperm Antibodies: - add to anti
Antibodies that attach to the sperm and prevent them from fertilizing the egg effectively.

Sperm Maturation:
The process sperm undergo in the testicles by which they become fully competent to fertilize an egg. The process takes roughly 3 months.

Sperm Morphology:
The shape of the sperm when viewed under the microscope. Sperm have three parts: head, body and tail; any part can be abnormally formed. The importance lies in the fact that the more normal sperm are more likely to be able to penetrate and fertilize the egg. The higher the percentage of normal forms, the more likely that fertilization can occur.

Sperm Motility:
Movement of the sperm. Sperm must have good forward progression in order to reach the egg.

Spermatogenesis:
The production of sperm by the testicles.

Spinnbarkeit:
A measurement of how far midcycle cervical mucus may be stretched. A high Spinnbarkeit indicates a watery mucus that is conducive to penetration by the sperm.

Stein-Leventhal Disease:
An old term for polycystic ovaries, especially the more severe form.

Superovulation:
The use of fertility drugs to make multiple eggs. Also known as controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH).

Surrogate Mother:
A woman who is inseminated with the intended fathers sperm for the purpose of carrying a baby for the intended mother. Many state laws make traditional surrogacy a very risky procedure in terms of parental rights. Gestational carriers have no genetic ties to the baby.

Testicular Biopsy:
A procedure where a portion of tissue from the testicles is removed for the purpose of determining the cause of very low sperm counts. The testicular biopsy procedure can also be used to collect sperm for use with treatments such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA):
A procedure where sperm are aspirated from the testicles without making a larger cut on the scrotum. These sperm can then be used for treatment using ICSI.

Testosterone:
The hormone produced by males that causes male type features such as hair growth, deepening of the voice, and sex drive. Testosterone and sperm production are tied together. Excess testosterone in women can cause unwanted hair growth or problems with ovulation.

Thyroid Gland:
The hormone gland in the neck that is responsible for producing thyroid hormone.

Torsion:
Twisting of an organ within the body. Testicles and ovaries may become torsed and require immediate attention. Torsion is associated with severe pain.

Trichomonas:
A sexually transmitted disease that produces a foul smelling discharge that is greenish in color. A microscope exam will show the swimming organisms that are responsible for the infection.

Tubotubal Anastomosis:
The reconnection of the fallopian tube after a tubal ligation or ectopic pregnancy. Other similar names include a bilateral tubal anastomosis (BTA), or tubal reversal procedure.

Ultrasound:
A machine that uses high frequency sound waves to view tissues inside the body. The ultrasound waves pass through the body and show tissues in different shades of gray depending on how the tissue reflects the sound waves. Ultrasound is used to monitor the response of the ovaries and uterus to fertility medications.

Unicornuate Uterus:
A birth defect in which the uterus has only one horn and one fallopian tube. This is most frequently detected by a hysterosalpingogram or HSG.

Ureaplasma (Mycoplasma):
Bacteria that infect the genital tract and interfere with pregnancy and implantation of the embryo. Treatment can reduce the inflammation associated with the infection.

Urologist:
A specialist doctor that treats disorders of the genitals and urinary tract.

Uterus:
The womb. A muscular structure that carries a pregnancy. Contractions of the uterus expel the baby at the time of delivery. The uterus is lined by the endometrium that is shed during menses.

Vaginitis:
An infection of the vagina. Vaginal infections can be from bacteria - bacterial vaginitis (acute infection), or BV. Yeast vaginitis is a yeast infection of the vaginal canal.

Varicocoele:
Dilated blood vessels. Infertility may be caused by testicular varicoceles where the male has dilated blood vessels around the testicles. This is thought to cause increased blood flow which increases heat. This may affect a male's chances of causing a pregnancy.

Vas Deferens:
The tubes that act as the passage way to allow sperm to go from the testicles to the outside. The tubes are cut during a vasectomy which causes a blockage of sperm to the outside.

Vasectomy:
A procedure used to interrupt the tubes that carry sperm outside the body. The interruption of the vas deferens will cause the absence of sperm in the ejaculate.

Vasectomy Reversal:
The procedure to reverse a vasectomy, or put the tubes back together so they may carry sperm to the outside of the body and restore a man's chance of getting his partner pregnant.

X Chromosome:
The genetic informtion from our parents are carried on chromosomes. The X chromosome is one of 23 chromosomes and is present in males (XY) and females (XX).

Y Chromosome:
The genetic information specific to males is carried on the X chromosome. Women do not have a Y chromosome.

Zygote:
The stage of developement where an egg has been fertilized but not yet divided. After the genetic information has merged and cell division happens, the structure is called an embryo.

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT):
A procedure where fertilized eggs are placed into the fallopian tube of a woman. This procedure requires laparoscopy and has become less common in favor of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Common acronyms

AH - Assisted Hatching

AMA - Advanced Maternal Age

ART - Assisted Reproductive Technologies - included IVF and ICSI procedures

BBT - Basal Body Temperature Chart

CCCT - Clomiphene Citrate Challenge Test

CD - Cycle Day

COH - Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation

E2 - Estradiol

EPU - Egg Pick-up

ET - Embryo Transfer

FET - Frozen Embryo Transfer

FSH - Follicle Stimulating Hormone

GIFT - Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer

G - Gravida - number of times pregnant

GnRH - Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone

HCG - Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

HSG - Hysterosalpingogram

ICSI - Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

IUI - Intrauterine Insemination

IVF - In-vitro Fertilisation

LH - Luteinizing Hormone

MESA - Micro-epididymal sperm aspiration

OD - Oocyte Donor

OHSS - Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

OI - Ovulation Induction

OPU - Oocyte pick-up

P4 - Progesterone

PGD / PGS - Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, Preimplantation Genetic Sampling

PRL - Prolactin

SA - Semen Analysis

SCUS - Saline Contrast Ultrasound (Hydrosonogram)

SubQ - Subcutaneous

TESA - Testicular sperm aspiration

TSH - Thyroid Stimulating Hormone

TVOR - Transvaginal Oocyte Retrieval

U/S - Ultrasound

 

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California IVF: Davis Fertility Center.  Providing infertility and IVF services to the Sacramento and Roseville area.  Services include IVF, inseminations - IUI, male and female infertility, PGD, ICSI, and much more.