Fertility Glossary

Terms & Acronyms Related to Fertility:

anovulation Total absence of ovulation

Corpus luteum The remaining follicle after ovulation that prepares the uterine lining for implantation by the fertilized egg.

Cyropreservation A procedure used to preserve (by freezing) and store embryos or gametes (sperm, oocyctes).

Endometrial biopsy The extraction of a small piece of tissue from the endometrium (lining of the uterus) for microscopic examination.

EmbryoThe term used to describe the early stages of fetal growth, from conception to the eighth week of pregnancy.

estradiol (E2) A hormone released by developing follicles in the ovary. Plasma estradiol levels are used to help determine the progressive growth of the follicle during ovulation induction.

Fallopian tubes A pair of narrow tubes that carry the ovum (egg) from the ovary to the body of the uterus.

Fertilization The penetration of the egg by the sperm and fusion of genetic materials to result in the development of an embryo.

Follicle The fluid-filled sac in the ovary that has nurtured the ripening egg and from which the egg is released during ovulation.

Gamete The male or female reproductive cells - the sperm or the ovum (egg).

Hormone A chemical, produced by an endocrine gland, which circulates in the blood and has wide spread action throughout the body.

HysterosalpingogramAn x-ray procedure in which a special dye is injected into the uterus to illustrate the inner contour of the uterus and degree of openness (patency) of the fallopian tubes.

Implantation The embedding of the fertilized egg in the endometrium of the uterus.

Insemination The installation of semen into a woman's vagina for the purpose of conception.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) A method of assisted reproduction that involves removing an egg from the ovary, combining it with sperm in a petri dish and, if fertilized, replacing the resulting embryo back into the woman's uterus.

laparoscopy A diagnostic procedure in which a surgeon inserts a laparoscope through a small incision below the naval; he/she then views the exterior surfaces of a woman's reproductive organs and abdominal cavity.

Oocyte retrieval A procedure to collect the eggs contained within the ovarian follicles. A needle is inserted into the follicle, the fluid and egg are aspirated into the needle, and then placed into a culture medium-filled dish.

Ovarian failure The inability of the ovary to respond to any gonadotropic hormone stimulation, usually due to the absence of follicular tissue on a genetic basis or the postmenopausal condition (absence of oocytes).

Ovary The sexual gland of the female which produces the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and in which the ova are developed.

Ovulation The expulsion of a ripened egg from its follicle in the outer layer of the ovary.
post-coital test: the microscopic analysis of a sample of vaginal and cervical secretions that has been collected soon after sexual intercourse or insemination.

Progesterone A hormone secreted by the corpus luteum.

Sperm The male reproductive cell.

Ultrasound A technique for visualizing the follicles in the ovaries and the fetus in the uterus, allowing the estimation of size.

Uterus The reproductive organ that houses, protects and nourishes the developing embryo/fetus. It is a hollow, muscular structure that is part of the female reproductive tract and is the source of a woman's menses.

Zona Pellucida The outer covering of the ovum that the sperm must penetrate before fertilization can occur.

Zygote An embryo in early development stage.

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