Glossary of Fertility Terms
You'll hear dozens of new scientific words and terms on your journey to get pregnant. Don't despair. They're not as complicated as they sound. To help you at the doctor's office, print out this glossary and keep it with you.
Agglutination: When sperm clump together.
Amenorrhea: A condition in which a woman doesn't have menstrual periods.
Anovulation: A condition in which a woman doesn't ovulate or ovulates rarely.
Antisperm Antibody Test: A test that can determine if antibodies on the surface of sperm are interfering with the ability of sperm to move, penetrate the cervical mucus, or fertilize an egg.
Artificial Insemination: The general name for the procedure in which sperm are inserted directly into a woman's cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus.
Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART): The general term for infertility procedures (involving both egg and sperm) such as IVF, GIFT, ZIFT, and ICSI.
Azoospermia: When a man has no sperm present in his semen.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT): A temperature reading that can be used to chart ovulation when taken every day.
Blastocyst: This stage is achieved around 5 days after the egg is fertilized.
Cervical Mucus: Mucus produced by the cervix that increases in quantity as ovulation approaches.
Clomid: A fertility drug given to women to stimulate ovulation.
Donor Eggs: Eggs that are taken from a fertile woman and implanted in another woman.
Ectopic Pregnancy: When an embryo implants outside the uterus.
Endometriosis: A painful condition in which tissue from the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus.
Endometrium: The tissue lining the inside of the uterus.
Fallopian Tubes: Two hollow tubes on either side of the uterus where the egg and sperm meet to begin the process of fertilization.
Follicle: A group of cells forming a cavity in the ovary where the egg grows before it's released during ovulation.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): A hormone that causes cells in the ovaries to grow. Sold under the name Follistim, Fertinex, and Gonal-F.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT): An assisted reproductive technique that involves removing sperm and eggs, mixing them together and placing them into the fallopian tubes.
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (Gn-RH): A hormone that is involved in triggering ovulation. Sold under the name Factrel and Lutrepulse.
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Agonists and Antagonists (GnRH Agonist): Synthetic hormones that perform the same function as natural Gn-RH.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): A hormone that can be used to trigger ovulation. Sold under the names Novarel, Pregnyl, and Ovidrel.
Hysterosalpinogram: An X-ray which involves injecting dye through the cervix into the uterus to determine if the fallopian tubes are open and the uterine cavity is normal.
Hysteroscopy: A procedure in which a thin, telescope-like instrument is inserted through the cervix into the uterus, allowing the doctor to see and photograph the area.