Fertility glossary - Your guide to all the confusing fertility terms

Fertility is a hustle and trying to get pregnant might be challenging for you, this glossary will help you decipher the most important fertility terms so you can easily understand it:

Andrologist: The physician or the specialist who deals entirely with the male reproductive system issues and works with the male aspect of fertility.

Anovulatory: The lack or absence of ovulation (ovulation means the release of the eggs from your uterus). 

Antral Follicles: Antral follicle, also known as graafian follicle, is a follicle that develops during folliculogenesis but then reabsorbed by the body. 

Asherman’s Syndrome: Asherman’s syndrome, also called intrauterine adhesions (IUA),  is a rare gynecological disorder in which the walls of your uterus or cervix are lined by scar tissue that can lead to the walls sticking together, which reduces the size of your uterus and affects your fertility. 

Assisted Hatching: Creation of a crack in the hard shell of the embryo during IVF to let the egg hatch and implant in the uterus. 

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): A series of medical procedures in IVF that aims to treat infertility by uniting your egg to a sperm in the laboratory. 

Asthenozoospermia: Poor motility (movement) of the sperm. 

Azoospermia: No sperm in the ejaculation. 

Bacterial Vaginosis: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal infection caused by bacteria. This infection happens due to a change in the normal balance between bacteria naturally found in the vagina. 

Beta hCG: Beta-hCG (β-hCG) is a pregnancy test that measures the level of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG) in the blood and is often used to confirm pregnancy. 

Biochemical Pregnancy: A pregnancy that is only detected through hormone level tests but can’t be detected by ultrasound due to severe chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo and results in an early miscarriage within 2-3 weeks of conception.

Blastocyst: The stage of human embryo when reaching 4-5 days, an outer cell mass which is a thin-walled hollow structure is formed and possesses the inner cell mass, and it implants in your uterus wall during implantation.

Cervix: The opening of your uterus that connects your vagina and your uterus. 

Cervical Mucus: A gel-like discharge that facilitates the movement of sperms into the endometrial cavity. 

Chocolate Cyst: Chocolate Cyst (also called ovarian endometriomas) is a benign cyst filled with fluids and old blood in the ovary and occurs more with endometriosis. 

Chromosome: A chromosome is a thread-like structure present inside the nucleus of the cell and contains the genetic material. 

Clinical Pregnancy: Clinical pregnancy is a pregnancy that has been confirmed by both an Ultrasound scan and pregnancy hormone (hCG) level in blood. 

Clomiphene Citrate: A drug used to treat infertility in women by inducing ovulation (egg production). 

Clomiphene Challenge Test: An infertility blood test used in the assessment of your ovarian reserve (egg reserves). 

Cryopreservation: The method of using a very low temperature (freezing) to preserve living tissues and cells like embryos and sperms.

D&C (Dilation and Curettage): Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a surgical procedure during which your cervix is dilated, and a special instrument (curette) is inserted to scrap the abnormal tissue remaining from inside your uterus.. 

Ectopic Pregnancy: When your fertilised egg develops outside your uterus, it is called ectopic pregnancy and usually refers to a fertilised egg that develops in the fallopian tube. 

Egg Collection: Also known as egg retrieval, is a surgical procedure done under sedation or general anesthesia to collect your eggs from an IVF cycle. 

Egg Donation: When a woman donates her eggs through an IVF/ICSI treatment to another woman. 

Embryo: The early development stage of an organism resulting from fertilization of the human egg. After 9th weeks of conception, the embryo turns to be the Fetus.  

Embryo transfers: A step in the IVF/ICSI treatment in which the embryos are transferred to your uterus. 

Endometriosis: When the tissue lining your uterus cavity starts to grow outside the uterus in other places like fallopian tubes and the ovary, it might be a cause of female infertility.  

Endometrium: The tissue that lines your uterus which changes in size every month as it is shed with your menstrual cycles. 

Epididymis: A coiled tube at the back of the tesitcles that stores sperm and transport it from the testes. 

Estradiol: A female hormone that is considered the major sex hormone and secreted by your ovaries. 

Estrogen: The sexual hormone that is secreted mainly by your ovaries and responsible for female 2ry sexual characters like pubic hair and breast enlargement and maintain your reproductive system.  

Fallopian Tubes: A pair of tubes that extends from your uterus to your ovary in which the fertilization of the egg and the sperm occurs. 

Fertilisation: The fusion of your husband sperm with your egg that leads to pregnancy. 

Fetus: When a developing baby inside your womb begins the 11th week of pregnancy and until birth, it is considered a fetus. This is also the stage in which the fetus is having heartbeats.  

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): A hormone secreted by your pituitary gland and controls your menstrual cycle and stimulates the growth of your egg in the ovary. In males, it helps control sperm production.  

Follicles: Fluid sacs in your ovaries that contain a developing egg which grows and develops inside this sac. 

Follicular Tracking: An ultrasound scan that is used to monitor your ovulation through evaluation of the number and the size of your follicles during a natural cycle. 

Gametes: The female eggs and the male sperms. 

Gestational Age: Gestational age refers to measuring the age of pregnancy starting from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) to the present day. A normal pregnancy usually lasts 38-42 weeks.

Gonadotropins: Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH): It is a hormone that is produced by the Hypothalamus and stimulates the secretion of FSH and LH hormones. 

Gonadotropins: Peptide hormones (like FSH and LH) released by the pituitary gland and control the reproductive function and sexual development of both male and female.  

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): It is a hormone produced by the placenta during your pregnancy and stimulates the corpus luteum to continue producing progesterone which is essential to maintain your pregnancy. It also plays a role in IVF treatment by inducing the eggs to become mature and ready for collection. 

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): A drug that is used in the treatment of female infertility and helps to mature the eggs. 

Hypothalamus: A small gland in the brain that stimulates important processes to control hormonal changes in the body.  

Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which your womb (uterus) is removed. The uterus is where your baby grows when you are pregnant. 

Hystero Contrast Sonography (Hycosy): An ultrasound procedure to detect the patency of your fallopian tubes and diagnose any abnormality in it like fallopian tubes blockage. 

Hysteo-Salpingpgram (HSG): An x-ray procedure to examine the inside walls of your uterus and the fallopian tubes. It is used in the investigation of female infertility. 

Hysteroscopy: A procedure that allows your doctor to examine the inside of your uterus in order through a tube.  

Implantation: When the embryo (fertilised eggs) travels down your fallopian tube and attaches to the lining of your uterus, this is called implantation.  I

nfertility: When you and your husband are not able to conceive after 12 months or more of unprotected sexual intercourse. Karyotype: A karyotype test is a laboratory procedure in which your chromosomes are viewed and counted to check any genetic disorders in your baby while being developed in your uterus. 

Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure through a small incision near your belly button, in which your doctor inserts a lighted instrument and a camera to explore your pelvis. It is used by your gynecologist to explore your fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the uterus.   

Live Birth Rate: It is The chances of having a live birth from your IVF treatment, and it is calculated by the number of live births per 100 IVF cycles

Luteinizing Hormone (LH): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland and controls the menstrual cycle in females. In males, it plays a vital role in testosterone secretion and sperm production. 

Miscarriage: A spontaneous loss of a viable embryo or fetus before your 20th weeks of pregnacy.

Mittelschmerz: Ovulation pain, also known as Mittelschmerz (comes from the German word for “middle” and “pain”), is pelvic pain, commonly on one side in the lower abdomen, and occurs during your ovulation. 

Motile Forms: A sperm that has the ability to swim the right way. 

Myomas (fibroids): Smooth non-cancerous tumor in the female genital tract in or around your uterus.  

Oligozoospermia: Low sperm count in the ejaculate. 

Ovarian Cysts: Fluid filled sacs that develop in your ovary during ovulation that cause no symptoms, usually disappear spontaneously and require no treatment. 

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): When your ovaries are stimulated by drugs during IVF, an exaggerated response might happen in which the ovaries enlarge and become painful. 

Ovary: A gland in the female reproductive system which is responsible for producing eggs and estrogen hormone. 

Ovulation: The release of an egg from ovarian follicles into your fallopian tube. 

Ovulation Induction:A hormonal therapy that stimulates ovulation including the development and the release of your eggs.  

Pelvic Adhesions: Bands of scar tissue that affect the female reproductive system and lead to internal organs stuck together. 

PESA: An abbreviation for Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration, is a procedure in which a fine needle is introduced into the epididymis to directly retrieve sperm. 

PGD: refers to Pre-Genetic Implantation Diagnosis, is a procedure to detect any genetic disease in your embryo through laboratory analysis. 

PID: An abbreviation for pelvic inflammatory disease, is the infection of your reproductive organs. 

Placenta: The placenta is an organ responsible for connecting your fetus with you during pregnancy and attached to the lining of your uterus.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A condition that affects the function of your ovaries and leads to irregular periods or no period at all. 

Premature Ovarian Failure: A condition in which your ovaries stop producing follicles before you reach 40.   

Progesterone: A hormone released by your ovaries and prepares your uterus for implantation during pregnancy.  

Secondary Infertility: Secondary infertility (2ry infertility) is the inability to conceive or have a full-term pregnancy after a previous successful pregnancy. 

Sperm: The male gamete that contains the genetic material and produced in the testes. 

Sperm Count: The number of sperm in the ejaculate. 

Sperm Donation: A procedure in which another person donates his sperm to help a couple conceive. 

Sperm Motility: The ability of sperm to move efficiently toward the egg so the fertilization can occur.  

Surrogacy: An agreement in which a woman (the surrogate)  carries a pregnancy for a couple. 

Teratozoospermia: High concentration of abnormal sperm in the man’s ejaculate. 

TeSE: refers to testicular sperm extraction, is a procedure in which the sperm is retrieved directly from the testicular tissue. 

Testosterone: The male sex hormone that stimulates sperm production and regulates male sexual development. 

Ureaplasma (Mycoplasma): Ureaplasma is a group of bacteria that are normally present in the urinary or genital tract of healthy people. However, sometimes it might overgrow and lead to inflammation of healthy tissues. 

Vagina: A muscular canal that extends from your vulva to your uterus. 

Vaginal Ultrasound: An ultrasound scan that gives your doctor a clear image of your reproductive organs.  

Vasectomy: A surgical procedure that is used as birth control in male through cutting the tubes that transport the sperm.  

Varicocele: A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins (blood vessels) inside your scrotum (the skin-covered sac that holds your testes), it can lead to male infertility.  

Zygote: A zygote, also known as fertilised egg, is the union of a female gamete (egg) with a male gamete (sperm).


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