Infertility treatment in modern medicine allows so many individuals and couples to realize their dreams of parenthood. Like most medical fields, fertility treatment has its own language, often complicated or highly technical. Acronyms are also a favorite in today's infertility medical lingo. To help decipher the terminology of 21st-century infertility medicine, we've compiled an "old school" favorite: A glossary of common terms and acronyms.
Glossary of Infertility Terms and Acronyms
We've listed the items here in alphabetical order. Acronyms appear in their commonly used form, followed by the full term the set of letters represents.
Describes an event in which sperm clump together, making it difficult for them to swim easily. Sperm agglutination is a possible indication of immunological infertility, which makes it an important factor to consider in forming an infertility diagnosis.
AI (Artificial Insemination)
A procedure that deposits sperm near the cervix in the vagina or directly into the uterus using a catheter.
The complete absence of menstrual periods.
A complete absence of ovulation.
ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies)
ARTs are various procedures used to combat infertility in which conception occurs without sexual intercourse.
A process that includes an ART procedure, stimulation of the ovaries, or frozen embryos that are thawed for transfer into a woman. This process starts when a woman begins fertility medications or monitors her ovaries for follicle production.
BBT (Basal Body Temperature)
A temperature reading taken every day that can be used to chart ovulation.
Beta HCG Test
This blood test detects very early pregnancies and can help evaluate embryonic development.
This freezing process preserves embryos, sperm, and other tissues at very low temperatures. When embryos are not utilized in an ART cycle, they can be cryopreserved for potential use in the future.
DEIVF (Donor Egg In Vitro Fertilization)
An in vitro fertilization procedure in which the egg used is procured from a donor.
Also known as egg donation, this term describes the donation of an egg from one woman to another. The goal is to become pregnant by in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Describes an embryo donated by a couple who previously had ART treatment that resulted in the creation of extra embryos. When donated, all parental rights of the donor couple are relinquished.
Professionals who specialize in advanced laboratory techniques to prepare and provide the conditions necessary for the fertilization of eggs. These specialists facilitate the development, growth, maturation, and preservation of embryos.
A physician who specializes in treating fertility problems. These physicians receive certification in a subspecialty for OB-GYNs from the American Board of Obstetrics after obtaining extra training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
This term refers to the period of development the fetus undergoes in the uterus from conception to birth, usually 40 weeks' duration.
Gestational Surrogate / Gestational Carrier / Gestational Surrogacy
Arrangement in which a woman agrees to carry a pregnancy on behalf of another individual or couple (the intended parents). In Gestational Surrogacy, embryos are created using the egg of the intended parent (or an egg donor) and the sperm of an intended parent (or a sperm donor). Gestational Carriers (surrogates) do not have any biological relation to the resulting baby.
HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
A hormone produced in early pregnancy that's released from the placenta after implantation. It can be employed via injection to trigger ovulation after certain types of fertility treatments. In men, it can stimulate testosterone production.
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
This procedure retrieved eggs and sperm from both partners. In a laboratory, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg, and the fertilized egg is then implanted into the woman's uterus.
A term applied when the cause of infertility remains unexplained.
This occurs when a fertilized egg embeds itself in the uterus lining.
Inability to conceive following a year of unprotected intercourse, or six months in women over age 35.
IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
Less frequently, it can stand for intra-uterine injection or intra-uterine infection. Intra-uterine insemination is a procedure for treating infertility. The sperm is washed, then concentrated before being placed directly in the uterus when the ovary releases one or more eggs.
IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)
A complex procedure for treating infertility in which mature eggs are retrieved from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab.
In this laboratory procedure, sperm is injected next to an egg cell surface in a laboratory dish. This is done to increase the chances of fertilization.
PGT (Preimplantation Genetic Testing)
A screening technique used to evaluate the chromosomal makeup of an IVF embryo and whether the embryo contains genetic abnormalities.
In this standard fertility test, a sample of cervical mucus is taken from the woman after intercourse to determine the number and behavior of sperm. Cervical mucus is an accurate reflection of the ovarian cycle, the PC test is an invaluable indicator of the endocrine preparation of the female reproductive system.
Highly trained Obstetrician-Gynecologist with advanced education, research, and skills in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Infertility lasting six months or more in a couple who previously had a successful pregnancy and birth.
A facility that specializes in the collection and freezing of sperm, preserving it to be used later by a couple or donated for use in assisting others with infertility.
The number of active sperm in an ejaculate sample. Normally, the sperm count ranges from 15 million sperm to more than 200 million sperm.
The percentage of sperm in an ejaculate that moves forward.
Traditional surrogacy is sometimes called "straight surrogacy," "partial surrogacy," or "genetic surrogacy." It involves a legal agreement between the intended parents and the surrogate. In this scenario, the surrogate is the biological mother of the baby. The surrogate's own eggs are fertilized using a sperm donor or the intended father. Intended mothers do not have a genetic link to the baby in traditional surrogacy. IHR does not work with traditional surrogates, only gestational surrogates.
A gestational surrogate carries and delivers a baby for another person or couple. Gestational surrogate pregnancies are achieved through IVF. In this procedure, an embryo is created in a lab using the egg and sperm from the intended parents, or donor eggs and sperm may be used. The embryo is then transferred to the uterus of the gestational surrogate. Because the gestational carrier carrying the pregnancy doesn't provide an egg, there is no genetic connection between the child and the surrogate.
TTC (Trying to Conceive)
Considered slang, this acronym is generally used as a form of shorthand in notes, in online communities, and on social media. Often seen as a hashtag: #TTC.
A testing procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to view the ovaries, uterus, and the developing fetus.
This procedure is performed through a probe inserted into the vagina. It allows the viewing of the follicles, fetus, and other soft tissues by using sound waves. Imaging the structures in the pelvis with ultrasound can identify abnormalities and help diagnose conditions.
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