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Glossary of Fertility Terms

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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.

Infertility: Typically defined as an inability to get pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): A laboratory procedure in which sperm and eggs are retrieved from both partners. A single sperm is injected directly into an egg, then the fertilized egg is implanted into the woman's uterus.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): An artificial insemination technique in which sperm are put directly into a woman's uterus.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): An assisted reproductive technique that involves removing sperm and eggs, fertilizing them in a laboratory, then placing a fertilized egg in the uterus.

Laparoscopy: A procedure that involves insertion of a narrow, telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope through a small incision in the abdomen.

Luteinizing Hormone: A hormone that triggers ovulation.

Luteal Phase: The second half of the menstrual cycle.

Male Factor Infertility: When the cause of a couple's infertility is due to problems in the man or when it contributes to existing fertility problems in the woman.

Morphology: The size and shape of sperm.

Motility: The ability of sperm to move by themselves.

Oligospermia: When a man has too few sperm to fertilize an egg normally.

Ovulation: When the ovaries release a mature egg that is ready for fertilization.

Ovum: An egg.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries due to infection; a cause of infertility in some women.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A common hormonal condition in which an imbalance in the sex hormones may cause menstrual abnormalities, skin and hair changes, obesity, infertility and other long-term health problems. The name comes from the multiple small cysts which line the ovaries of most women with the disorder.

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