You may sometimes feel that you need a medical degree to understand the biology of conception and the terminology of fertility.
Most confusing of all are the many initials and acronyms that get easily tossed around by gynecologists and fertility specialists.
The zona pellucida, or outer covering, of the embryo is partially opened, to aid implantation.
ART—Assisted reproductive technology
A phrase to describe any treatments that involve handling human eggs or embryos.
CASA—Computerassisted semen analysis
A laboratory technique to precisely measure and study sperm motion when male infertility is suspected.
CCCT—Clomiphene challenge test
A blood test to measure FSH (see below) taken on days three and 10 of the menstrual cycle. Clomiphene citrate is given on days five through nine to induce ovulation.
A procedure that involves electrically stimulating tissue near a man’s prostate to cause ejaculation.
FSH—Follicle stimulating hormone
A hormone produced by the pituitary gland (and sometimes given by injection). FSH stimulates the growth of the follicle surrounding an egg.
GIFT—Gamete intrafallopian transfer
The placing of sperm and egg directly into the fallopian tube, where fertilization takes place.
GnRH—Gonadotropin releasing hormone
A hormone secreted by the hypothalamus (an area of the brain that controls reproduction and other actions) that prompts the pituitary gland to release FSH and LH into the bloodstream.
hCG—Human chorionic gonadotropin
A hormone produced by the placenta that is measured in common pregnancy tests. It may also be injected to stimulate ovulation and maturation of eggs.
HMG—Human menopausal gonadotropin
A medication containing FSH and LH derived from the urine of postmenopausal women. HMG is used to stimulate the growth of multiple egg follicles.
An X-ray procedure to determine whether the fallopian tubes are open to check for abnormalities in the uterus.
ICSI—Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
A procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg to help spur fertiliztion used primarily with male infertility.
A form of articial insemination in which sperm that has been washed free of seminal fluid to increase the chance of fertilization is inserted directly into the uterus.
IVF—In vitro fertilization
A procedure in which an egg and sperm are combined in the laboratory to facilitate fertilization. Resulting embryos are transferred to a woman’s uterus.
Produced by the pituitary gland, this hormone normally causes a woman to ovulate and her eggs to mature.
MESA—Microepididymal sperm aspiration
A procedure for collecting sperm from men whose reproductive ducts are blocked, usually as a result of a vasectomy or absence of vas deferns (the tube that carry sperm to the urethra).
OHSS—Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
A potentially life-threatening condition characterized by enlargement of the ovaries, fluid retention and weight gain that may occur when the ovaries are over-stimulated during assisted reproduction.
PESA—Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration
A procedure in which a needle is inserted into the gland that carries sperm from the testicle to the vas deferns in order to extract sperm for an IVF procedure.
PGD—Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
A test in which one or two cells are removed from an embryo and screened for genetic abnormalities.
TESE—Testicular sperm extraction
Surgery to remove testicular tissue and collect living sperm for use in an IVF or ICSI procedure.
ZIFT—Zygote intrafallopian transfer
A procedure similar to IVF in which an egg is fertilized in a laboratory dish and the zygote (the stage before cell division begins) is transferred to the fallopian tube.
Related Topics: Fertility Basics; Fertility Tips