Adverse outcome: A pregnancy that does not result in giving birth to a live baby. Causes could include miscarriage, stillborns, and medically induced terminations.
ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology): ART applies to any procedure in which both eggs and sperm are manipulated to help a woman become pregnant. In vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) are all ART procedures.
ART cycle: When a woman begins her fertility drugs, or her healthcare professional begins to monitor her ovaries for follicle production, the ART cycle is initiated. The process continues with an ART procedure, ovarian stimulation, or the thawing of frozen embryos for implantation.
Canceled cycle: Sometimes a cycle needs to be cancelled. Reasons for this can be illness, eggs that don’t develop, or the woman decides to cancel her treatment.
Combination cycle: Sometimes a fertility specialist will decide to use more than one ART treatment. Common combination cycles usually combine IVF with either GIFT or ZIFT.
Concentration of motile sperm: The World Health Organization (WHO) specifies the measurement of sperm that has the motility (ability to swim) to fertilize the egg. WHO states that there should be a minimum of 10 million motile sperm per milliliter of semen.
Cryopreservation: When the extra embryos remaining from the ART cycle are frozen for future use (if needed), it is called “cryopreservation.”
Diminished ovarian reserve: This is a medical condition where the ovary’s capacity to produce eggs is reduced. Causes can be congenital, medical, or surgical, or it can be caused by age (women seeking to have a baby when they are older than 40).
Donor egg cycle: When a woman can’t use her own eggs, doctors can implant an embryo created from a donor egg.
Donor embryo: Sometimes a woman wanting a child receives a donated embryo from a couple who had extra embryos available after their own ART treatment.
Ectopic pregnancy: This is a condition in which a fertilized egg implants itself in a place other than inside the uterus. It can be in the fallopian tube, the ovary, or the abdominal cavity.
Egg: Also known as an ovum or oocyte, the egg is the female reproductive cell.
Egg retrieval (also called oocyte retrieval): Some women undergo a procedure to collect the eggs contained in the ovarian follicles.
Egg transfer (also called oocyte transfer): Some woman undergo a procedure where retrieved eggs are transferred through laparoscopy into a woman’s fallopian tubes. This is only used in GIFT.
Embryo: When a fertilized egg has undergone one or more divisions, it is called an “embryo.”
Embryo transfer: This occurs after in vitro fertilization. The transfer procedure places an embryo into a woman’s uterus through the cervix. Embryos are transferred to the patient’s fallopian tube during the process of zygote intrafallopian transfer.
Endometriosis: A female medical condition due to the presence of uterine tissue growing outside the womb in other parts of the body. Women with this condition can have difficulty becoming pregnant as it can affect both egg fertilization and implantation of the embryo.
Fertilization: This occurs when the sperm successfully penetrates the egg to create an embryo.
Fetus: An embryo becomes a fetus eight weeks after conception through the moment of birth.
Follicle: The structure in which a developing egg is contained.
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH): The pituitary gland produces the FSH hormone that is necessary for an egg to mature and be released.
Fresh eggs, sperm, or embryos: Eggs, sperm, or embryos that have never been frozen are considered “fresh,” even though fresh embryos may have been conceived using either fresh or frozen sperm.
Frozen embryo cycle: When frozen embryos are thawed an implanted in the woman, it is an ART cycle called the “frozen embryo cycle.”
Gamete: A reproductive cell found in a man or a woman — either a sperm or an egg.
Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT): This is one of the ART procedures where eggs are removed from the patient’s ovary and then combined with sperm. The physician cuts several small incisions in her abdomen and, using a laparoscope, places the unfertilized eggs and sperm into the woman’s fallopian tube.
Gestational carrier (also called a gestational surrogate): Sometimes a woman can’t carry a child and uses a surrogate. The surrogate carries an embryo that was formed from the egg of another woman. The gestational carrier and intended parents normally have a contractual arrangement.
Gestational sac: In the early portion of a pregnancy, the gestational sac, an intrauterine structure that is filled with fluid, develops. It is where the developing fetus lives during a normal pregnancy.
Home fertility screening: A testing kit purchased over-the-counter for fertility screening of both men and women.
Induced abortion: A medical procedure used to end a pregnancy.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): ICSI is normally used when there is a fertility problem with the male. This procedure injects one sperm into an egg with the hope of creating an embryo.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI): This procedure is used to assist in fertilization and involves placing sperm into a woman’s uterus. Since IUI does not involve any handling of eggs, it is not considered an ART procedure.
In vitro fertilization (IVF): This procedure is used to remove eggs from the ovaries so that they can be fertilized outside of the body. Once fertilized, the embryos are placed into the uterus via the cervix.
Laparoscopy: Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure using a laparoscope (a fiber optic instrument) to see the inside of the pelvis through a very small incision.
Male factor: The “male factor” relates to any cause of infertility in a man. It can be due to a low sperm count or problems with sperm function or make-up that creates difficulty in fertilizing an egg.
Miscarriage (also called spontaneous abortion): A miscarriage is defined as a pregnancy that ends without any intervention, spontaneously, before 20 weeks of gestation.
Multi fetal pregnancy reduction (aka selective reduction): This is a procedure used when a woman is carrying several fetuses. The procedure decreases the number she is carrying in order to improve the chances of healthy survival of the remaining fetuses. When the body does this on its own without medical intervention, it is called “spontaneous reductions.”
Multiple factors, female only: When there is more than one reason for a woman having a fertility issue, “multiple factors, female only” is the diagnostic category given the condition.
Multiple factors, female and male: When there is more than one reason for a man and a woman having fertility issues, this is the diagnostic category given the condition when the causes are diagnosed together.
Multiple-fetus pregnancy: This refers to a woman having two or more fetuses present during pregnancy. It is usually discovered early in pregnancy with the use of ultrasound, which can detect multiple fetal heartbeats.
Oocyte: Also known as an egg, the oocyte is the female reproductive cell.
Ovarian monitoring: When ultrasound and/or blood or urine tests are used to monitor follicle development and hormone production, it is called “ovarian monitoring.”
Ovarian reserve: When a woman has no problems with her fertility potential in her reproductive tract (fallopian tubes, uterus or vagina), it is referred to as “ovarian reserve.”
Ovarian stimulation: Sometimes medications are required to stimulate the ovaries so they will develop follicles and eggs. This is referred to as “ovarian stimulation.”
Ovulatory dysfunction: When the ovaries do not produce eggs normally, it is referred to as “ovulatory dysfunction.” Some causes are linked to ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Pregnancy (clinical): Medically, pregnancy is defined when an ultrasound shows a gestational sac in the womb.
Pregnancy Symptoms: Pregnancy symptoms refer to changes in the body when a woman becomes pregnant. Increased levels of the hCG hormone are always present.
Sperm: Sperm is the reproductive cell of a male.
Sperm motility: Sperm motility refers to the sperm’s capacity to swim forward and fertilize an egg.
Stillbirth: Stillbirth is the term used when the death of a fetus occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Stimulated cycle: Stimulated cycle refers to an ART cycle in which a woman receives oral or injected fertility medications specifically aimed at stimulating her ovaries to produce more follicles.
Thawed embryo cycle: This is another name for the frozen embryo cycle.
Tubal factor: When a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, making it difficult for egg fertilization or for an embryo to travel to the uterus, it falls into a diagnostic category known as a “tubal factor.”
Ultrasound: Ultrasound is a machine used in ART that is capable of visualizing the follicles in the ovaries, the gestational sac, or the fetus.
Unexplained cause of infertility: When no reason can be found to explain why a man or woman is infertile, it falls under the diagnostic category named “unexplained cause of fertility.”
Unstimulated cycle: When a woman’s follicles develop naturally, it is referred to as an “unstimulated cycle,” an ART cycle in which the woman does not need medication to stimulate her ovaries to produce more follicles.
Uterine factor: If there is a structural or functional disorder of the uterus that results in reduced fertility, it is referred to a “uterine factor.”
Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT): Zygote intrafallopian transfer refers to the ART procedure used when eggs are collected from the ovaries and fertilized outside the body. The resulting fertilized egg (also known as a “zygote”) is then laparoscopically inserted into the woman’s fallopian tube through a small incision in her abdomen.
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