Glossary

Click on a letter to learn more about conditions, treatments, tests and terms relating to infertility and reproductive disorders.
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Aneuploidy: An abnormal number of chromosomes, either too many or too few. Aneuploidy is a common cause of birth defects.

Anovulation: A reproductive condition where the woman fails to ovulate. Women who do not release an egg from their ovaries every month are suffering from anovulation.

Artificial insemination: A technique in which a doctor injects semen directly into a woman's cervix or uterus during her most fertile time of the month.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) chart: A graph of your basal body temperature (taken upon awakening prior to rising from bed) across the menstrual cycle to ascertain whether or not you are ovulating. See chart

Blastocyst: The stage the developing embryo reaches after four to six days. It lasts approximately until implantation in the uterus a few days later.




Cryopreservation: Freezing sperm, eggs or embryos in liquid nitrogen and storing them for future use.








Donor sperm: Sperm that has been donated by a (usually non-intimate and/or anonymous) male, and processed and frozen for use in artificial inseminations.








Egg donation: Extraction of healthy eggs from a third party for subsequent use in IVF.

Embryo biopsy: A procedure performed on an early embryo in which a single cell is removed for the purpose of genetic analysis.

Endometriosis: A cause of infertility in which the lining of the uterus migrates to other regions of the body, usually in the pelvic region, causing scarring and sometimes damaging the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Fallopian tubes: Narrow, four-inch-long ducts that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

Fertility preservation: Methods used to preserve one’s fertility, including sperm cryopreservation (for males) and embryo, egg and ovarian tissue freezing (for females.)

Fibroids and polyps: Fibroids are benign growths in the uterine cavity that can cause sub-fertility and miscarriage. Polyps are lesions in the lining of the uterine cavity that can cause inflammation.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT): The injection of one or more eggs mixed with washed sperm into the fallopian tube(s) in the hope that fertilization will occur.







Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An x-ray that allows the physician to view the size and shape of the inside of the uterus and the fallopian tubes. Also known as the tubal dye test.

Hysteroscopy: An endoscopic procedure in which a doctor views the interior of the uterus.




In Vitro Fertilization (IVF):  A technique in which eggs are harvested from the ovaries and mixed with sperm in a petri dish and allowed to fertilize. Fertilized eggs are kept in culture in an incubator and are transferred to the uterus as embryos after 3-5 days.

Infertility specialist: A medical doctor with advanced training in infertility or reproductive endocrinology.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): A type of artificial insemination in which washed semen is injected into the uterus.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): Micro-manipulating a single sperm captured in a thin glass needle and injected directly into the egg. ICSI assists fertilization in cases of severe sperm dysfunction.





















Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure in which a rigid tube is inserted into the abdomen, usually through the navel, to allow the doctor to view or treat the reproductive organs.







Male factor: A catchall term used to describe infertility caused by problems with sperm or its production, such as insufficient numbers, poor motility, odd shape and so forth.

Motility: Term used to describe mobility, or swimming movements, of sperm.















Ovaries: Two almond-sized structures in the pelvis, adjacent to the ends of the fallopian tubes, which release eggs and secrete hormones into the bloodstream.

Ovulation induction: The stimulation of the ovaries by fertility drugs to release one or more eggs.




Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): A genetic analysis performed on a biopsied cell from an early embryo to diagnose the presence or absence of a genetic disease.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): A female endocrine disorder that prevents women from ovulating. Effects may include infertility, obesity and male pattern hair growth. PCOS occurs in about 75% of women who are unable to conceive due to not ovulating.












Recurrent pregnancy loss: This term refers to women who have had two or more consecutive pregnancy losses. 








Sonohysterogram: A pelvic ultrasound performed while saline fluid is instilled into the uterine cavity, done to evaluate the uterus for the presence of lesions such as polyps or intacavitary fibroids.

Semen Analysis: An evaluation of semen for certain characteristics (semen volume, sperm count, sperm motility, sperm morphology, semen fructose level and pH, and liquefaction time) of a male's semen and the sperm contained in the semen. It may be done while investigating a couple's infertility or after a vasectomy to verify that the procedure was successful. Different laboratories may have different parameters of what is considered normal.

Tubal Infertility: A disorder in which the fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, resulting in infertility.








Ultrasound: Involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasounds performed transvaginally provide the clearest picture of the uterus and ovaries.







Varicocele: A varicose vein, usually located just above the left testicle, that is believed to cause infertility in certain men by impairing sperm development.






































Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT): An ART in which eggs fertilized to the zygote stage in a petri dish (after 24 hours - before the first cell division) are transferred to the fallopian tubes.