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Pregnancy And Birth



This article explains the technical terms and jargon used during infertility treatment, and is a helpful guide for those undergoing or considering treatment.

Abstinence = Time since last ejaculation

AIH = Artificial insemination using husband's sperm

Amniocentesis = Taking fluid and cells from the amniotic fluid around the fetus at 16 - 20 weeks of pregnancy

Ampoule = Glass container used to hold a drug

Analgesia = Pain relief (not the same as anaesthesia)

Antibodies = Usually meaning antibodies against sperm

Ascites = Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

Back up sample = Semen sample frozen in case it is later needed

Beta hCG (bhCG) = The part of the hCG molecule measured in most pregnancy tests

Biochemical pregnancy = A pregnancy at an early stage before the fetus or sac can be seen by ultrasound, which can be monitored by bhCG levels in blood

Blastocyst = An embryo stage just before implantation, usually 50 - 150 cells, occurring 5 - 6 days after fertilisation

Buserelin = Name of a drug used to "turn off" the hormones FSH and LH

Catheter = A fine plastic tube (eg used to put sperm or embryos into the uterus through the cervix)

Cervical insemination = Putting sperm into the cervix

Chlamydia = A sexually transmitted bacteria which may cause tubal disease

Chromosome = Structures containing all the inherited information in the cell

Chromosome abnormalities =Wrong number of chromosomes or chromosomes with bits missing or with bits in the wrong place

Chromosome analysis = Inspection of chromosomes through a microscope

Clearblue = Name of a home pregnancy test using urine

Clearplan = Name of a home test for ovulation using urine

Cleavage = Division of cells in an embryo

Cleaved embryo = An embryo with more than one cell but at a simpler stage than a blastocyst

Clomiphene Citrate = Name of a drug used to induce ovulation or increase the number of eggs ovulated

Congenital abnormality = An abnormality present from birth

Corpus luteum = The remains of a follicle after ovulation (plural: corpus lutea)

Cryopreserved = Frozen

Cryoprotectant = Chemical used to help cells survive freezing

Culturing (cells) = Growing cells outside the body

CVS = Chorionic Villus Sampling - taking small bits of tissue from the placenta 8-10 weeks into pregnancy

Day 1 = First day of the period. Start of the menstrual cycle

DI = Donor Insemination

Diluent = Fluid used to dissolve a drug

Down regulated = When the ovaries have stopped making hormones after a person has been given Buserelin

Dummy run = Trial run for embryo replacement without embryos

Ectopic pregnancy = A pregnancy anywhere other than in the uterus, most often in the fallopian tube

Embryo = A fertilised egg

Empty sac = A pregnancy in which only the placenta, but not the fetus, has developed

Endometrial biopsy = Removal of a small part of the uterine lining to measure its maturity

Endometriosis = Growth of the tissue, that normally lines the uterus, outside the uterus

Engineered cycle = An artificial menstrual cycle in which drugs, not the ovaries, supply the hormones to prepare the uterus

Estrogen = Major type of hormone made by the ovary before ovulation

Estradiol = Major type of estrogen made by the ovary before ovulation

Excess embryos = Embryos remaining after embryo replacement in an IVF cycle

Fallopian tubes = Part of the body that carries eggs from the ovary to the uterus

Fertilisation = Incorporation of sperm into the egg

Folic acid = A vitamin which may reduce neural tube defects

Follicle = Fluid filled structure in which the egg matures in the ovary

Fragmentation (of embryos) = Uneven division of cells in an embryo leaving "bits" which have no chromosomes

FSH = Follicle Stimulating Hormone

Genetic abnormality = An abnormality caused by errors in the hereditary material in a cell

GIFT = Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer

GnRH = Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone - the hormone which controls the release of FSH and LH from the pituitary gland

hCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin - the major pregnancy hormone

HIV = The AIDS virus

hMG = Human Menopausal Gonadotrophin - essentially FSH isolated from urine to be used as a drug to stimulate ovaries

Humagon = Drug company name for hMG

Hyperstimulation = Stimulation of the ovaries to mature too many eggs

Immunological infertility = Infertility caused by antibodies to sperm 

Implantation = Hatching of the embryo, then its growth into the lining of the uterus

Intramuscular injection = Injection into a muscle

Intra uterine insemination = Placing sperm directly into the uterus

Irregular embryo = An embryo with fragments or cells of different sizes

IVF = In Vitro Fertilisation

Karyotype = Description of all the chromosomes in a cell

Laparoscopy = Abdominal operation without (big) holes through the skin, fat and muscle - guided by a laparoscope

LH = Luteinising Hormone

LH rise = The increase in LH that precedes and causes ovulation

LH surge = Same as the LH rise

Metrodin = Drug company name for FSH

Multiple pregnancy = Twins or triplets or more

Oocyte = (Human) egg

Oocyte pick up = Recovery of eggs during IVF

Ovarian failure = Lack of ovarian function as after the menopause

Ovarian stimulation = Inducing the ovary to mature more than one egg in a menstrual cycle

Ovulation = Release of the egg from the follicle (into the fallopian tube)

Neural tube = The very early nervous system of a developing embryo

Non identifying information = Information about a sperm or oocyte donor which does not give the donor's identity

Pick up = Oocyte collection during an IVF cycle

Pituitary gland = Gland in the brain releasing FSH and LH

Post coital = After sexual intercourse

Progesterone = Major hormone made by the ovary after ovulation

Pergonal = Drug company name for hMG

Pregnyl = Drug company name for hCG

Profasi = Drug company name for hCG

Pronucleus = The male or female genetic material visible just after fertilisation of an egg (plural: pronuclei)

Pronuclear embryo = A fertilised egg (embryo) still only one cell in which the pronuclei are visible

PROST = Pronuclear Stage Transfer (of embryos in IVF)

Quarantine = Period after freezing before sperm can be used

RTAC = Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee of Australia

Semen = What is ejaculated

Serophene = Drug company name for Clomiphene Citrate

Spare embryos = Embryos remaining after embryo replacement in an IVF cycle

Sperm = The cells (spermatozoa) in the semen

Spermicides = Chemicals which kill sperm

Straws = Small plastic straws in which sperm or embryos are frozen

Subcutaneous injection = Injection under the skin

Suprefact = Drug company name for Buserelin

Synchronising cycles = Manipulating the menstrual cycles of a donor and recipient so that they would ovulate at the same time or have hormone changes at the same time

TEST = Tubal Embryo Stage Transfer (after IVF)

Trigger = Induction of ovulation with hCG

Tube(s) = Fallopian tube (s)

Transvesicle scanning = Ultrasound scanning using the full bladder as a "window"

Transvaginal = Ultrasound scanning where the ultrasound probe is in the vagina

Trisomy = Three copies of a chromosome instead of the usual two

Unprotected intercourse = Sexual intercourse without using a condom or diaphragm in a treatment cycle

Vial = Container holding a drug, usually with a rubber top that a syringe needle can be put through

Voltaren = Drug company name for a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

Ultrasound scan = Visualising (usually the ovaries) by ultrasound

Zygote = An embryo that has not yet cleaved

ZIFT = Zygote Intra Fallopian Transfer (same as PROST)

See also:

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