Fertility Glossary

Terms & Acronyms Related to Fertility:

anovulation: total absence of ovulation

 

corpus luteum: the remaining follicle after ovulation that prepares the uterine lining for implantation by the fertilized egg.

 

cyropreservation: a procedure used to preserve (by freezing) and store embryos or gametes (sperm, oocyctes).

 

endometrial biopsy: the extraction of a small piece of tissue from the endometrium (lining of the uterus) for microscopic examination.

 

embryo: the term used to describe the early stages of fetal growth, from conception to the eighth week of pregnancy.

 

estradiol (E2): a hormone released by developing follicles in the ovary. Plasma estradiol levels are used to help determine the progressive growth of the follicle during ovulation induction.

 

fallopian tubes: a pair of narrow tubes that carry the ovum (egg) from the ovary to the body of the uterus.

 

fertilization: the penetration of the egg by the sperm and fusion of genetic materials to result in the development of an embryo.


follicle: the fluid-filled sac in the ovary that has nurtured the ripening egg and from which the egg is released during ovulation.

 

gamete: the male or female reproductive cells - the sperm or the ovum (egg).

 

hormone: a chemical, produced by an endocrine gland, which circulates in the blood and has wide spread action throughout the body.

 

hysterosalpingogram: an x-ray procedure in which a special dye is injected into the uterus to illustrate the inner contour of the uterus and degree of openness (patency) of the fallopian tubes.

 

implantation: the embedding of the fertilized egg in the endometrium of the uterus.

 

insemination: the installation of semen into a woman's vagina for the purpose of conception.

 

in vitro fertilization (IVF): a method of assisted reproduction that involves removing an egg from the ovary, combining it with sperm in a petri dish and, if fertilized, replacing the resulting embryo back into the woman's uterus.

 

laparoscopy: a diagnostic procedure in which a surgeon inserts a laparoscope through a small incision below the naval; he/she then views the exterior surfaces of a woman's reproductive organs and abdominal cavity.

 

oocyte retrieval: a procedure to collect the eggs contained within the ovarian follicles. A needle is inserted into the follicle, the fluid and egg are aspirated into the needle, and then placed into a culture medium-filled dish.


ovarian failure: the inability of the ovary to respond to any gonadotropic hormone stimulation, usually due to the absence of follicular tissue on a genetic basis or the postmenopausal condition (absence of oocytes).

 

ovary: the sexual gland of the female which produces the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and in which the ova are developed.

 

ovulation: the expulsion of a ripened egg from its follicle in the outer layer of the ovary.

post-coital test: the microscopic analysis of a sample of vaginal and cervical secretions that has been collected soon after sexual intercourse or insemination.

 

progesterone: a hormone secreted by the corpus luteum.

 

sperm: the male reproductive cell.

 

ultrasound: a technique for visualizing the follicles in the ovaries and the fetus in the uterus, allowing the estimation of size.

 

uterus: the reproductive organ that houses, protects and nourishes the developing embryo/fetus. It is a hollow, muscular structure that is part of the female reproductive tract and is the source of a woman's menses.

 

zona pellucida: the outer covering of the ovum that the sperm must penetrate before fertilization can occur.

 

zygote: an embryo in early development stage.

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