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Have a question about reproductive health? Find out more about reproductive health and other health terms by reading our glossary.


Failure or absence of ovulation.

Antisperm Antibodies (ASAB)

Antibodies that may develop if there has ever been an interruption in the "blood-testis barrier" which normally prevents the sperm from being exposed to the immune system.


The application of light suction in the ovarian follicle to remove the eggs.

Assisted Zona Hatching (AZH)

A small hole is created in the shell (zona pellucida) that surrounds the embryo. This will aid in the embryo hatching from the shell.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

The body temperature at rest. It is taken orally each morning immediately upon waking up and recorded on a BBT chart. The readings are studied to help identify ovulation, usually occurring near the time of the rise in BBT.

BhCG or Beta hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)

A quantitative blood test to document a chemical pregnancy.


An embryo formed after five to six days in culture.

Catheter Fitting

The placement of a small sterile catheter through the cervix to measure the length of the uterine cavity for the purpose of future embryo transfers.

Clomiphene Citrate (CLH)

Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid): Oral medication used to increase the number of oocytes that are released from the ovaries.

Corpus Luteum

The gland that forms on the surface of the ovary at the site of ovulation and produces progesterone during the second half of the menstrual cycle. It is necessary to prepare the uterine lining for implantation of the embryo.

Cryopreservation (embryo freezing)

A procedure used to preserve (by freezing) and store embryos or gametes (sperm, oocytes).

Donor Eggs

Eggs taken from the ovaries of a woman (known/anonymous) donated to an infertile woman to be used in an assisted reproductive technology procedure.

Donor Sperm

Sperm from a fertile man (known or anonymous) is donated to the patient/couple for fertilization.


A test to evaluate the function of the adrenal glands.

Down Regulation

Use of Norethindrone Acetate (Aygestin) and Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron) to suppress the body’s natural hormones.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Implantation of an embryo anywhere but in the uterine cavity (including the fallopian tube, the ovary, or the abdominal cavity).


The early stage of fetal growth, from conception to the eighth week of pregnancy.

Embryo Transfer

Introduction of the embryo into the uterus after fertilization has occurred.


The presence of tissue resembling endometrium in abnormal locations such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and abdominal cavity. Endometriosis may be associated with pelvic pain and infertility.


The lining of the uterus where the embryo implants.

Estradiol (E2)

The hormone released by the developing follicles in the ovary. Estradiol levels are used to help determine growth and maturity of the follicle during stimulation.


Direct visualization of the interior of the fallopian tubes by means of inserting a falloposcope vaginally.

Fallopian Tube

The structure that carries the egg from the ovary to the uterus. This is normally where fertilization takes place.


The penetration of the egg by the sperm and fusion of genetic material that results in the development of an embryo.


Fluid filled sac in the ovary that occurs during stimulation from which the egg is released during ovulation.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

The hormone produced and released from the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the ovary to prepare a follicle for ovulation.

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.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

The use of medications to enhance the endometrium for implantation.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG ) – Pregnyl /Novarel/Ovidrel

The hormone used to induce ovulation by substituting for the preovulatory surge of LH that a body produces during a normal menstrual cycle.

Hyperstimulation Syndrome

A syndrome which may include ovarian enlargement, gastrointestinal symptoms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distention and weight gain. Severe cases may be complicated requiring hospitalization.


A diagnostic procedure in which a lighted scope (hysteroscope) is inserted through the cervix into the uterus to enable the physician to view the inside of the uterus.

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

An x-ray procedure in which a special media (dye) is injected into the uterus to demonstrate the inner contour of the uterus and degree of openness (patency) of the fallopian tubes.


The imbedding of the embryo in the lining of the uterus.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Injection of a single sperm into the egg using micromanipulation.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Technique where sperm is introduced into the uterus transvaginally.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

A method of assisted reproduction that involves removing eggs from the woman’s ovaries, combining them with sperm in the laboratory and, if fertilized, replacing the resulting embryo into the woman’s uterus. Also known as the "test-tube baby" procedure.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) + ICSI

A method of assisted reproduction that involves removing eggs from the woman's ovaries and injecting a single sperm into the egg using micromanipulation. If the egg is fertilized the resulting embryo is placed into the woman's uterus.


The direct visualization of the ovaries and the exterior of the fallopian tubes and the uterus by inserting surgical instruments through several small incisions in the lower abdomen.


A surgical procedure that requires an abdominal incision. This allows the physician to adequately visualize any complication that may have occurred.

LH Surge

The release of luteinizing hormone by the pituitary gland triggering the release of mature eggs from the follicles.

Luteal Phase

The phase of the menstrual cycle after ovulation has occurred. It is associated with progesterone production.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

The hormone that triggers ovulation and stimulates the corpus luteum to secrete progesterone.


A group of procedures in which the egg (oocyte) and sperm are manipulated to aid in fertilization.

Midluteal Phase

Day 21 of cycle or 7 days after LH surge.


The eggs.

Ovarian Reserve Testing

Either a day 3 FSH and estradiol or a Clomid Challenge Test to assess the viability of the ovaries.


The release of an egg from an ovarian follicle.


This occurs when the egg has been fertilized by more than one sperm and therefore cannot be used.

Pituitary Testing

The pituitary controls many parts of reproduction. Hormones frequently tested include FSH, LH, Prolactin and TSH.

Postcoital Test (PCT)

The microscopic analysis of a sample of cervical mucous, usually collected within 18 hours after intercourse. This test determines the quality of cervical mucous and the ability of sperm to enter and penetrate the mucous.


A hormone secreted by the corpus luteum of the ovary after ovulation has occurred and is also produced by the placenta during pregnancy.

Semen Analysis (SA)

The microscopic examination of the ejaculate to determine the number of sperm, their shapes, and their ability to move.

Strict Criteria (SC) Morphology

This test involves a very detailed analysis of the sperm shape and in turn is used as an indicator of how well the sperm are likely to fertilize oocytes.


A technique which involves injecting fluid into the uterus and fallopian tubes in order to observe the image of these structures produced by ultrasound on a monitor screen.

Spontaneous Abortion

A miscarriage or the unintended termination of a pregnancy before the twentieth week.

Testicular Biopsy

Small surgical excision of testicular tissue to determine the ability of the cells to produce normal sperm or to diagnose possible neoplasms.

Thyroid Testing

Measurement of thyroid hormones which influence ovulatory function in women and sperm production in men.

Uterine Profile

The placement of a small sterile catheter through the cervix to measure the length of the uterine cavity for the purpose of future embryo transfers.

Ultrasound (US)

High frequency sound waves that form an image on a monitor screen through the insertion of a probe into the vagina. This technique is used for visualizing the follicles in the ovaries and later used to document both the presence of the fetus in the uterus and to estimate size and gestational age.

World Health Organization

An organization of the medical community who helped establish standards for laboratory analysis of human sperm.

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