IVF - In Vitro Fertilization and Other Fertility Treatments Glossary

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AATB - American Association of Tissue Banks

adhesions - scar tissue

AFS - American Fertility Society (now ASRM)

agonist - compound that has stimulating properties (a GnRH agonist first stimulates before it suppresses the reproductive system

analogue - compound that is similar to another chemically

antagonist - compound that suppresses the reproductive system

AH - assisted hatching

amniocentesis - withdrawal of a sample of fluid contained in the pregnancy sac

amenorrhea - lack of menstrual period

andrologist - specialist in male reproductive function

anovulation - lack of ovulation

antiphospholipid antibodies - antibodies to cell components which can inhibit placental development or cause clotting in the blood vessels supplying the implanting embryo/fetus

antisperm antibodies - proteins that can specifically attach to sperm, impairing their function

ART - assisted reproductive technology aspiration (follicle) withdrawal of fluid surrounding the egg

ASRM - American Society for Reproductive Medicine

assisted hatching - a variation of IVF in which a small hole is made in the shell of the embryo to facilitate implantation

assisted reproductive technology (ART) - technical manipulation of the sperm and egg outside the body for replacement into the reproductive tract to achieve a pregnancy

asthenospermia - poor movement of sperm

azoospermia - the complete absence of sperm in the ejaculate

basal body temperature (BBT) - body temperature upon awakening, before any activity

BBT - basal body temperature

beta HCG - the specific part of the pregnancy hormone that is measured to diagnose pregnancy

biochemical pregnancy - a positive blood test for HCG but without ultrasound evidence of pregnancy

blastocyst - embryo stage following development of a fluid-filled cavity within the embryo; during this stage cells become specialized to form placental cells and the embryo itself (inner cell mass)

bromocriptine (Parlodel) - drug used to reduce elevated levels of prolactin in treating galactorrhea, amenorrhea, and prolactin-secreting tumors of the pituitary

CAP - College of American Pathologists

cabergoline (Dostinex) - drug used to reduce elevated levels of prolactin in treating galactorrhea, amenorrhea, and prolactin-secreting tumors of the pituitary

capacitation - development of the ability of sperm to fertilize an egg

cervical mucus - mucus produced by the cervix that thins before ovulation to assist sperm migration

cervix - the opening of the uterus

chlamydia - an organism, generally sexually transmitted, that can cause tubal damage

chromosomes - tiny collections of genetic material within a cell nucleus

clinical pregnancy - evidence of pregnancy by ultrasound, passage of pregnancy tissue in a miscarriage, or delivery of a fetus or baby

Clomid - brand name of clomiphene citrate

clomiphene citrate (Serophene, Clomid) - an oral medication that stimulates ovulation

coasting - stopping the gonadotropins and continuing the Lupron in an ART patient in danger of hyperstimulation so the estrogen level may be allowed to fall into the acceptable range.

conceptus - the developing zygote, pre-embryo, or embryo resulting from the joining of the sperm and egg

corpus luteum - hormone producing tissue in the ovary that develops from the collapsed follicle, produces hormones, and supports early pregnancy

cryopreservation - deep-freezing by techniques that allow survival and growth of cells after thawing

cumulative pregnancy - rate the chance of a couple conceiving over a period of time

cumulus - the expanded clear mucus-like tissue surrounding the egg

danazol (Danocrine) - drug used to treat endometriosis

Danocrine - brand name of danazol

DES - diethylstilbestrol

diethylstilbestrol - a synthetic estrogen, given to women in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, to prevent miscarriage, that resulted in abnormalities of the reproductive tract of female offspring

Dostinex - brand of cabergoline

ectopic pregnancy -growth of a pregnancy in any location other than the uterine cavity, known commonly as tubal pregnancy

egg retrieval - aspiration of eggs from the ovary

ejaculate - the sperm and glandular fluid released when a man reaches sexual climax (ejaculation)

embryo - the result of the fertilization of the egg by the sperm; the developing individual from conception to the end of the second month

embryo transfer (replacement) - placement of embryos into the reproductive tract

embryologist - a person trained to work with gametes and embryos

endometrial biopsy - sample of tissue obtained from the endometrium to assess its maturity and ability to promote implantation of the embryo

endometrioma - a cyst within the ovary caused by endometriosis and containing a dark-brown chocolatelike fluid

endometriosis - a disease in which endometrium grows outside the uterus

endometrium - the tissue lining the cavity of the uterus

epididymis - part of the tubular system where sperm collect after leaving the testicles

estradiol - the principal active estrogen in women

ER (embryo replacement) - placement of an embryo into the reproductive tract

ET (embryo transfer) - embryo replacement

fallopian tube - a thin tubal structure that picks up the egg from the ovary, supports fertilization and early embryo development, and transports the embryo to the uterus

fertilization - union of the sperm and egg resulting in the development of the zygote

Fertinex - brand name of FSH with higher purity than Metrodin, enabling subcutaneous injection

fetus - developing individual in the postembryonic period, from 7-8 weeks after fertilization until birth

fibroid - benign muscle tumor of the wall of the uterus

fimbria - delicate fingerlike tissue at the end of the fallopian tube that picks up the egg from the ovary

follicle - fluid-filled space and surrounding tissue that envelop the developing egg

follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) - hormone that stimulates growth of the follicle

Follistim - brand name of FSH manufactured by means of recombinant DNA technology

FSH (Fertinex, Follistim) - follicle-stimulating hormone

galactorrhea - milklike discharge from the breasts

gamete - reproductive cell; sperm in the male, ova in the female

gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) - placement of sperm and eggs into the fallopian tube

Ganirelix - (ganerelix) brand name of GnRH antagononist

germ cells - sperm and egg

GIFT - gamete intrafallopian transfer

GnRH - gonadotropin releasing hormone

GnRH agonist - GnRH analogue with stimulating property

GnRH analogue - compound that is almost identical chemically with GnRH

GnRH antagonist - compound that suppresses the reproductive system

gonadotropin-releasing hormone - a hormone that stimulates the pituitary to release FSH and LH

gonadotropins - the hormones FSH and LH, which act on the ovary to control its function

gonads - reproductive organs that produce gametes and hormones; the testicles and ovaries

Gonal-F - brand of FSH manufactured by mans of recombinant DNA technology

HCG - human chorionic gonadotropin

health maintenance organization (HMO) - a form of heath insurance where the premium prepays all expenses and providers are strictly limited to those within the plan. Generally no reimbursement is provided for physicians outside the health plan unless prior arrangements are made, with the plan making the referral.

hMG - (Pergonal) human menopausal gonadotropin

HMO - health maintenance organization

HSG - hysterosalpingogram

Humegon - brand of human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG)

human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) - hormone produced by the conceptus and later the placenta that can be measured to diagnose pregnancy

human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG; Pergonal, Humegon) - preparation of FSH and LH derived from menopausal urine

hydrosalpinx - dilated fluid-filled, obstructed fallopian tube

hypothalamus - area of the brain just above the pituitary gland that controls many hormone-producing glands through its effects on the pituitary

hysterosalpingogram (HSG) - X-ray of the inside of the uterus and tubes; employs a radio-opaque dye

hysteroscopy - examination of the inside of the uterus using a telescope placed through the cervix

ICSI - intracytoplasmic sperm injection

infertility - generally, the inability of a couple to conceive within one year

integrin - a molecule in the endometrium which is a marker for uterine receptivity

intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) - a variation of IVF in which fertilization is achieved by direct injection of a single sperm into the egg, utilized in couples when the male partner has a problem with his sperm

intrauterine device (IUD) - device worn inside the uterine cavity to prevent pregnancy

intrauterine insemination (IUI) - placement of sperm, usually washed, into the uterine cavity

intravenous immunoglobulin - a preparation of immunoglobulin (antibodies) which is given intravenously and acts to suppress a hyperactive immune system

in vitro fertilization (IVF) - most advanced procedure in the ART repertoire: the sperm and egg are combined in the laboratory, incubated, and the resulting embryos are transferred into the woman's uterus; literally, fertilization "in glass"

IUD - intrauterine device

IUI - intrauterine insemination

IVF - in vitro fertilization

IVF/ER - in vitro fertilization/embryo replacement

IVF/ET - in vitro fertilization/embryo transfer

IVIG - intravenous immunoglobulin

laparoscopy - examination of the abdomen and pelvic organs by means of a telescope placed through an incision in the navel

LH - luteinizing hormone

LH - surge marked increase of release of LH into the blood, which causes final maturation of the egg and its release from the follicle

liquefaction - process by which semen changes consistency from jellylike to liquid

LPD - luteal-phase defect

LUF - luteinized unruptured follicle

Lupron (leuprolide) - medication similar to GnRH, used to suppress the pituitary and, in turn, the ovaries

luteal phase - phase of the menstrual cycle from ovulation until menses

luteal-phase - defect (LPD) poor development of the endometrium in preparation for implantation

luteinized unruptured follicle (LUF) failure of the follicle to rupture and release the egg

luteinizing hormone - a hormone released from the pituitary that causes ovulation and stimulates the corpus luteum to secrete progesterone

male factor - a term for infertility originating in the male partner

MESA - microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration

microsurgery - surgery using fine instruments, magnification, and gentle handling of the tissues, usually on the fallopian tubes

microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) - an advanced technique for aspirating sperm from the ductal system to use in ICSI

monthly conception rate - the chance of a couple conceiving within the woman's one-month cycle

morphology - categorization of sperm by their shape

morula embryo - stage wherein numerous cells are packed together inside the zona but before the blastocyst cavity has formed

motility - the percentage of sperm moving in a sample of semen

mycoplasma - an organism that can colonize the reproductive tract and may cause miscarriage

oocytes - eggs

ovary - female reproductive organ that produces eggs and hormones

ovulation - release of an egg from the follicle

PCO - polycystic ovarian disease

PCT - post coital test

pelvic adhesions - scar-tissue capable of covering or holding together organs; most commonly affect fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bowel

pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - a general term for pelvic infections resulting from sexually transmitted diseases.

pelviscopy - synonym for laparoscopy, although often used to indicate operative laparoscopy

percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA) - an advanced technique for aspirating sperm from the ductal system to use in ICSI using a needle

Pergonal - brand of human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG)

PESA - percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration

PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis) - testing embryos for single gene defects

PGS (Preimplantation Genetic Screening) - testing embryos for chromosomal abnormalities

PID - pelvic inflammatory disease

pituitary - a hormone-producing gland lying under the base of the brain that controls the function of the adrenals, thyroid, ovaries, and testicles

polycystic ovarian disease (PCO) - condition characterized by hormonal imbalance and lack of ovulation

polyspermia - fertilization of the egg by more than one sperm

post coital test (PCT) - a test of the cervical mucus after intercourse

PPO (preferred provider organization) - a form of health insurance where the insurance company makes contractual arrangements with "preferred providers" for better rates. The patient is not required to go to a specific provider but will generally get better coverage through a preferred provider--for example, 80 percent reimbursement rather than 50 percent through a nonpreferred entity.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis - testing embryos for single gene defects

Preimplantation Genetic Screening - testing embryos for chromosomal abnormalities

premature ovarian failure - cessation of normal ovarian function before the usual age of menopause, generally before forty

progesterone - hormone that causes the endometrium to develop changes to make it receptive to the embryo

progestin - synthetic hormone with action similar to progesterone

prolactin - hormone released from the pituitary that causes the breasts to secrete milk

pronucleus (ei) - the male and female nuclei that are visible 14-18 hours after combining sperm with an egg

RESOLVE, Inc. - a nonprofit organization helping people with infertility by offering counseling, medical referral, emotional support, and literature as well as education and assistance to associated professionals

retrograde ejaculation - passage of semen back into the bladder during ejaculation

retrograde menstrual flow - flow of menses back through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity

salpingitis - inflammation (infection) of the fallopian tubes

salpingostomy - opening into the fallopian tube

SART - Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology

selective termination (reduction) - a procedure that aborts one or more fetuses of a multiple pregnancy, usually quadruplets or more semen the combination of sperm and glandular fluid released from the penis when a man reaches sexual climax

seminal vesicles - glands that add fluid to the semen to assist sperm deposition

Serophene - brand name of clomiphene citrate

sexually transmitted disease (STD) - diseases caused by organisms that are transmitted by sexual contact and activity

SPA - sperm penetration assay

sperm penetration assay (SPA) - test of fertilizing capacity of the sperm using zona-free hamster eggs

STD - sexually transmitted disease

Stein-Leventhal Syndrome - older term for a severe form of polycystic ovarian disease (PCO)

subfertility - synonym for infertility implying that the ability to conceive is less than normal

TESE - an advanced technique for obtaining sperm for use in ICSI utilizing testicular biopsy

testicle - male sex organ that produces sperm and hormones

ultrasound - high frequency sound waves used to make an image of body structures

ureaplasma - type of mycoplasma implicated in male infertility and miscarriage

urethra - the urinating channel leading from the bladder to the outside through the penis

uterus - the womb; a muscular organ that carries the developing fetus

vagina - a tubular structure leading from the vulva to the cervix

varicocele - dilation of the spermatic veins that causes a backflow of blood to the testes and impaired sperm function

varicocelectomy - operation for repair of varicocele vas deferens muscular tube that carries sperm from the epididymis to the urethra

vasovasostomy - operation for reversal of male sterilization (vasectomy)

viscosity - the thickness of the semen, evaluated after a period of time following ejaculation

ZIFT - zygote intrafallopian transfer

zona drilling - the making of a hole in the shell (zona) that surrounds the egg

zona pellucida - the shell that surrounds the egg and protects it during early embryo development

zygote - fertilized egg

zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) - transfer of fertilized egg(s) to the fallopian tube