a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z
  • A
  • Androgen: A male sex hormone that is produced in the testes and responsible for typical male sexual characteristics.
  • Anovulatory cycle: A cycle during which the ovaries fail to release an oocyte. Therefore, ovulation does not take place. Chronic anovulation is a common cause of infertility.
  • Anesthesia: Loss of bodily sensation with or without loss of consciousness.
  • Antral follicle count: The number of follicles detected by the ultrasound at the beginning of the menstrual cycle, which indicates the size of your ovarian reserve.
  • Assisted hatching: A procedure performed after fertilization and prior to implantation in which the zona pellucida of the embryo is partially opened by application of laser, to facilitate embryo implantation.
  • Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): All fertility treatments that include the handling of eggs and sperm.
  • B
  • Basal Body Temperature (BBT): Body temperature in the morning before rising or moving about or eating anything.
  • Blastocyst: An embryo usually five days after fertilization that has formed a fluid-filled cavity. At this stage the cells begin to form the early placenta and embryo.
  • C
  • Cervix: The narrow entrance to the uterus.
  • Clinical pregnancy: A pregnancy confirmed by hormone levels and visible by ultrasound.
  • Clomiphene challenge test (CCCT): A common test of ovarian reserve in which FSH is checked on days three and ten of the menstrual cycle and Clomid is taken on days five through nine.
  • Cryopreservation: Freezing at a very low temperature to keep embryos, eggs, or sperm viable for further transfer or fertilization. Vitrification is an advanced type of cryopreservation.
  • Corpus albicans: The regressed form of the corpus luteum.
  • Corpus luteum: A yellow mass of cells that forms from an ovarian follicle during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
  • Cyst: An abnormal, closed sac-like structure within a tissue that contains either fluid or tissue. A cyst can occur anywhere in the body and can vary in size.
  • D
  • DNA: The hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms.
  • E
  • Ectopic pregnancy: A pregnancy where the embryo is not embedded in the uterine lining. Usually it is lodged in the fallopian tubes.
  • Egg: The female sex cell produced and matured by the ovary, also called an ovum or oocyte.
  • Egg retrieval: A procedure, performed right before ovulation, in which eggs are removed from the ovaries via an ultrasound-guided needle and suction.
  • Ejaculation: The discharge of semen.
  • Ejaculatory duct: A canal formed by the union of the vas deferens and the duct from the seminal vesicles.
  • Embryo: A fertilized egg that has begun cell division.
  • Embryo bank: A collection of embryos which are stored.
  • Embryo transfer: Placement of an embryo into the uterus.
  • Endometriosis: A condition in which tissue resembling the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. It is often associated with infertility.
  • Endometrium: The lining of the uterus.
  • Epididymis: A tubule in each testis that carries sperm to vas deferens.
  • Estradiol: The most common estrogen (hormone) produced by the ovaries.
  • Estrogen: The female hormone largely responsible for the development of female secondary sex characteristics, the thickening of the endometrium and regulating the other aspects of the menstrual cycle.
  • Fallopian tubes: Part of the female reproductive system where sperm and egg meet in normal conception. This pair of tubes leads from the each ovary to each side of the uterus.
  • F
  • Female factor infertility: Infertility caused by the female reproductive system.
  • Fertilization: The union of sperm and egg to form one cell with the genetic material of both parents.
  • Fibroids: Non-cancerous growths of the uterine wall that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding and pain.
  • Fimbria: Thin finger-like projections lining the fallopian tubes.
  • Fluorescent In Situ hybridization: A technique that uses fluorescent markers to detect changes in the genetic material.
  • Fluoroscope: An imaging technique that uses x-rays to cast shadows of an internal structure on a fluorescent screen; the shadows vary in intensity according to the density of the structure.
  • Follicle: A fluid-filled sac in the ovary containing an egg.
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): The pituitary hormone responsible for stimulating the growth and maturation of follicles. It acts in concert with LH.
  • Frozen egg bank: A collection of stored eggs.
  • Frozen embryo transfer (FET): The transfer of once cryopreserved embryo, now thawed, via IVF into the uterus.
  • G
  • Genome: The total genetic information of a particular organism.
  • Gestation: The period during which an embryo develops.
  • Gestational surrogate: A woman who carries a pregnancy for another woman. The pregnancy is derived from the egg and sperm of the woman and her partner or donor. The surrogate does not have a genetic relationship to the resulting child.
  • Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH): Hormone secreted by the hypothalamus, a control center in the brain, which prompts the pituitary gland to release FSH and LH.
  • GnRH agonists: A GnRH analog that initially stimulates the pituitary gland to release LH and FSH, followed by a delayed suppressive effect. It can be used at the beginning of an IVF cycle to help stimulate follicular growth.
  • GnRH analogs: Synthetic hormones similar to the naturally occurring gonadotropin releasing hormone used to prevent premature ovulation. There are two types of GnRH analogs: GnRH agonists and GnRH antagonists.
  • GnRH antagonists: Synthetic hormones similar to the naturally occurring gonadotropin releasing hormone, which are used to prevent premature ovulation. These medications have an immediate suppressive effect on the pituitary gland.
  • H
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG): A hormone produced by the placenta, the detection of which is the basis for most pregnancy tests. It induces ovulation and follicular maturation.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): The administration of estrogen, progesterone, or a combination of the two to counteract the hormonal effects the decrease in these hormones during menopause.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Over production of thyroid hormones due to an overactive thyroid.
  • Hypothyroidism: Under production of thyroid hormones due to an underactive thyroid.
  • Hypothalamic pituitary disorder: The loss of function in an endocrine gland due to failure of the pituitary gland to secrete hormones to stimulate the endocrine gland’s function.
  • Hysterectomy: This refers to the surgical removal of a woman’s uterus.
  • I
  • Implantation: When the embryo adheres to the wall of the uterus.
  • Incubator: An apparatus consisting of a box designed to maintain a constant temperature by the use of a thermostat.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): A procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg.
  • Insemination: The placement of sperm into the uterus.
  • In-vitro fertilization (IVF): A process in which an egg and sperm are united in a laboratory dish to facilitate fertilization.
  • In-vitro maturation: The technique of allowing ovarian follicles to mature in vitro.
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI): Also known as artificial insemination, this procedure involves placing washed sperm directly into the uterus.
  • IV sedation: Sedation or anesthetic medications delivered through an intravenous (IV) line.
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • Laser-assisted hatching: A method for softening the zona pellucida of the egg to facilitate implantation.
  • Laparoscopy: A diagnostic procedure in which a long narrow fiber-optic instrument, called a laparoscope, is inserted through an incision in or below the woman’s navel so that the internal organs may be observed.
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH): The pituitary hormone that controls the length and sequence of the menstrual cycle, including ovulation and follicular maturation.
  • M
  • Male factor infertility: Infertility caused by a problem in the male reproductive system.
  • Menopause: The period when the menstrual cycle ceases.
  • Menstruation: Monthly discharge of the endometrial lining from the uterus in non-pregnant women from puberty to menopause.
  • Motility: Sperm cells’ ability to move and spontaneously and independently.
  • N
  • O
  • Oocyte: See “Egg.”
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): A condition that may result from ovulation induction, particularly in conventional IVF, which is characterized by enlargement of the ovaries, ovarian tenderness, fluid retention and weight gain.
  • Ovarian reserve: A woman’s fertility potential as measured by the number of eggs she has remaining.
  • Ovary (Ovaries): The two female sex glands in the pelvis, located on each side of the uterus near the end of the fallopian tubes. The ovaries produce eggs and various hormones.
  • Ovulation: Release of an egg from the ovary.
  • P
  • Penis: The external part of the male reproductive system.
  • Pituitary gland: A small gland just beneath the hypothalamus in the brain that secretes many hormones regulating body processes, including FSH and LH.
  • Placenta: The membranous vascular organ that develops during pregnancy, lining the uterine wall and partially enveloping the fetus, and attached by the umbilical cord. Following birth, the placenta is expelled.
  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD): A genetic screening test in which a few cells are removed from an embryo on day three, or from a blastocyst on day five.
  • Pregnancy: The period from conception to birth when a woman carries a developing fetus in her uterus.
  • Progesterone: A female hormone secreted during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, which prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation of the embryo.
  • Prolactin: A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that controls milk production (lactation).
  • Prostate: A chestnut sized gland in males at the neck of the urethra which produces the fluid part of semen.
  • Q
  • R
  • Rh: Rhesus factor is a blood group antigen found on red blood cells of Rh positive individuals.
  • S
  • Scrotum: A pouch of skin which contains the testes, epididymis and lower portions of the spermatic cords.
  • Semen: The fluid containing sperm, also known as seminal fluid.
  • Seminal vesicles: A pair of pouch-like glands located on either side of the urinary bladder that secrete seminal fluid.
  • Sonogram: A diagnostic medical image of an unborn fetus or internal organs created using an ultrasound.
  • Sperm: The male reproductive cells that can fertilize a woman’s egg.
  • Sperm washing: A procedure to separate out sperm from seminal fluid.
  • Spermatogenesis: The formation and development of sperm.
  • Subcutaneous: Beneath the skin.
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD): An illness that is passed on by means of sexual contact.
  • T
  • Testes: The two male reproductive glands that produce sperm and secrete androgens.
  • Testicular sperm extraction (TESE): Operative removal of testicular tissue in an attempt to collect living sperm for use in an IVF-ICSI procedure.
  • Testosterone: A steroid hormone primarily secreted in the testes and the ovaries that are responsible for male traits.
  • Timed intercourse: Planning intercourse to sync with the sustained shift in body temperature which occurs during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
  • Traditional Surrogate: Used in cases of female factor infertility. A traditional surrogate is a fertile woman who carries a pregnancy intended for another family, conceived from her egg and the sperm of the infertile woman’s partner. The resulting child carries the surrogate’s genes.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound aspiration: An ultrasound-guided technique for egg retrieval whereby a long, thin needle is passed through the vaginal and ovarian walls and into the ovarian follicle. Egg retrieval occurs when suction is applied.
  • Trophectoderm: Outer cell layer of a blastocyst.
  • Turner’s syndrome: A chromosomal disorder in females who have only one X chromosome. The disease is characterized with dwarfism and heart abnormalities and underdeveloped sex organs.
  • U
  • Ultrasound: A technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of internal organs on a monitor. Fertility specialists use it to monitor the growth of ovarian follicles, to retrieve eggs from follicles, and to evaluate a pregnancy.
  • Urethra: A duct through which urine is discharged in males and females. The urethra in males also serves as the genital duct
  • Uterus: The hollow, muscular female reproductive organ located in the pelvis that houses the embryo during pregnancy. The lining of the uterus is shed each month during menstruation when if pregnancy has not occurred.
  • V
  • Vagina: The canal in the female reproductive system that leads to the cervix.
  • Vaginal culture: A sample of the bacteria in the vagina.
  • Vas deferens: The two muscular tubes in the male reproductive system that carry sperm from the epididymis to the urethra.
  • Vitrification: An advanced form of cryopreservation that uses cryoprotectants and a flash-freezing method to preserve eggs, sperm and embryos. It has a thaw success rate of 98 percent, largely because the method does not allow damaging ice crystals to form in the preserved specimen.
  • W
  • X
  • Y
  • Z
  • Zona pellucida: The egg’s outer layer that a sperm must penetrate in order to fertilize the egg. In assisted hatching the zona pellucida is punctured.
  • Zygote: A fertilized egg before cell division begins. It is a single cell that contains the genetic material of both parents.