Library Glossary

Glossary of Selected Terms

Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is the absence for three or four months in a row, of a menstrual period in a woman of reproductive age.

Aneuploidy

Aneuploidy is an abnormal number of chromosomes missing or present in a cell.

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH)

A protein produced by the ovarian follicles to prepare an egg for release. A blood test can be performed to determine the level of AMH and can be an indicator if your ovaries are still releasing eggs.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

All treatments or procedures that involve surgically removing eggs from a woman's ovaries and combining the eggs with sperm to help a woman become pregnant.

Azoospermia

The complete absence of sperm from the semen.

Blastocyst

Blastocyst is the developmental stage of the fertilized ovum by the time it is ready to implant.

Cervical Mucus

Cervical mucus is the mucus that is secreted from the cervix. It is produced by the hormone estrogen in the first phase (follicular phase) of a monthly cycle.

Clomiphene Citrate

Clomiphene Citrate is the chemical name for clomid. Clomiphene Citrate works to trigger the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) to start the ovulation process.

Egg Donation

The eggs taken from the ovaries of a fertile woman and donated to an infertile woman to be used in an assisted reproductive technology procedure.

Embryo

An egg that has been fertilized by a sperm and has undergone one or more divisions

Embryo Donation

A form of third party reproduction whereby unused embryos are given to other couples or women for embryo transfer, with the goal of producing a successful pregnancy.

Endometriosis

A condition where endometrial tissue, which normally grows inside the uterus, grows abnormally and may be present on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other nearby organs in the pelvic area, causing scaring, bleeding, pelvic pain and infertility.

Estrogen

A hormone made by the woman that helps her eggs mature each month. It also sends a signal to the endometrium to start thickening.

Follicle

A cystic structure containing the oocyte and all it's supporting cells.

Follice Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

A hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. In women, it is responsible for stimulating the maturation of egg follicles. In men, it is responsible for stimulating and maintaining sperm production. High levels of FSH indicate Ovarian Reserve is low and chances of conception are poor.

Gestational Carrier

A woman who carries an embryo to delivery. The embryo is derived from the egg and sperm of persons not related to the carrier; therefore the carrier has no genetic relationship with the resulting child.

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

An X-ray test that is performed by placing an iodine-based dye into the cervix, to determine whether the fallopian tubes are open or blocked and where the blockage is located.

Infertility

A couple is considered infertile if the couple has not conceived after 12 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is under the age of 34, or the couple has not conceived after 6 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is over the age of 35.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

A procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg; this procedure is most commonly used to overcome male infertility problems.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

A medical procedure that involves placing sperm into a woman's uterus to facilitate fertilization. IUI is not considered an ART procedure because it does not involve the manipulation of eggs.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

An ART procedure that involves removing eggs from a woman's ovaries and fertilizing them outside her body. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the woman's uterus through the cervix.

Lutenizing Hormone (LH)

A hormone produced by the pituitary gland, in women it is responsible for the monthly release of an egg. In men, LH is responsible for starting the production of testosterone.

Obstetrician / Gynecologist (OB/GYN)

Trained physicians who diagnose and treat female reproductive health issues, as well as care for women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the recuperative period following delivery.

Ovulation

Ovulation is the term used to define the release of an egg (usually one, though sometimes more) from a woman’s ovary.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is technically a hormonal imbalance, earmarked by any two of the following three characteristics: overproduction of androgens (male hormones); irregular menstrual cycles; and an ultrasound demonstrating polycystic appearing ovaries. Some women with this disorder experience a degree of insulin resistance as well.

Premature Ovarian Failure

The loss of normal function of the ovaries, causing a woman to have irregular periods or no periods at all.

Progesterone

A hormone that helps to improve the condition of the endometrium, making it more receptive to implantation.

Reciprocal In Vitro Fertilization

Lesbian couples not experiencing infertility may choose to retrieve the eggs from one partner, inseminate those eggs with donor sperm and then have the resulting embryo(s) placed into the other partner, who will hopefully become pregnant via this process. This is known as reciprocal IVF.

Reproductive Endocrinologist

Physicians specializing in reproductive endocrine disorders and infertility.

Retrograde Ejacuation

The entry of semen into the bladder instead of going through the urethra during ejaculation.

Semen

The sperm and the seminal fluid that is secreted during ejaculation.

Semen Analysis

The microscopic examination of semen to determine the number of sperm (sperm count), their shapes (morphology), and their ability to move (motility).

Sperm Donation

The donation of sperm for the use by females with without male partners, lesbian women and infertile couples with severe male factor infertility.

Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE)

A minor surgical procedure that involves the removal of a small sample of testicular tissue in order to retrieve sperm for use in an IVF cycle.

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.

Testosterone

A male sex hormone, it is produced in the testicles and aids in the production of sperm.

Tubal Factor Infertility

Tubal factor infertility is defined as either being complete or partial blockage and/or scarring of the fallopian tubes. Tubal factor infertility causes a disruption of egg pick up and transport, fertilization, and also embryo transport from the fallopian tube down into the uterus where the embryo implants.

Urologist

Physician who specializes in the treatment of disorders and diseases related to male and female urinary organs and male reproductive organs.

Varicocele

A cause of male infertility in which varicose veins are present in the blood vessels above the testes.