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    Glossary

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    A

    Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): Procedures that help unite an egg and sperm.

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    B

    Blastocyst: The early stage of an embryo whose wall is comprised of a single layer of cells; the blastocyst is the liquid-filled sphere that implants in the wall of the uterus during implantation.

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    C

    Cervix: The opening to the uterus.

    Cervical Mucous: A fluid that enhances the transport of the sperm into the endometrial cavity.

    Clomiphene Citrate: A fertility drug used to stimulate ovulation that may result in multiple births.

    Clomiphene Challenge Test: An exam that can determine the egg reserves in the ovaries.

    Clomiphene Citrate: A fertility drug used to stimulate ovulation that may result in multiple births.

    Cryopreservation: The process of freezing commonly used for embryos or sperm. Cryopreservation of oocytes is a relatively recent development.
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    E

    Ectopic Pregnancy: A pregnancy in which a fertilized egg begins to develop outside the uterus (e.g., in a fallopian tube). Ectopic pregnancy can lead to tubal rupture, hemorrhage and death.

    Embryo: An organism in its early development stage.

    Endometriosis: A condition in which the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside of the uterine cavity. Often, this tissue is found in the pelvic cavity attached to the ovary or fallopian tubes.

    Endometrium: The lining of the uterus that grows throughout the menstrual cycle and is shed if an embryo does not implant.

    Estradiol: A hormone secreted by the ovaries.

    Estrogen: A female hormone secreted chiefly by the ovaries that stimulates the development of female secondary sex characteristics and promotes the growth and maintenance of the female reproductive system.
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    F

    Fallopian Tubes: The site of fertilization of the egg and sperm.

    Follicles: A structure in the ovary containing an egg. Although the egg is microscopic, follicles can be visualized by ultrasound.

    Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the growth of the ovum-containing follicles in the ovary.

    Follicular Loss: A progressive process that will deplete the number of egg reserves by menopause.

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    G

    Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT): A method of treating infertility by removing eggs from a woman's ovaries, combining them with sperm from her partner or a donor in the laboratory, and placing the eggs and sperm together in one of her fallopian tubes, where fertilization can occur.

    Gonadotropins: the hormones produced by the pituitary gland that control reproductive function.
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    H

    HMO: Health maintenance organization.

    Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG): A drug that helps to mature eggs and stimulate ovulation.

    Hypothalamus: A specialized gland in the brain that orchestrates the body's hormonal changes.

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    I

    Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): A procedure in which only one sperm is injected directly into the egg.

    Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): A method of introducing a quantity of washed sperm directly into the uterus via a catheter to enhance the chances of fertilization.

    In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A procedure that involves removing eggs from a woman's ovaries and fertilizing them in the laboratory. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the woman's uterus through the cervix.
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    L

    Laparoscopy: A procedure in which a small, lighted instrument is inserted through an abdominal incision for the purpose of diagnosis, biopsy or surgery.

    Luteinizing Hormone (LH): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the development of the corpora lutea and, together with FSH, the secretion of progesterone.
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    M

    Microsurgical Tubal Reanastomosis: A procedure used to reverse tubal sterilization.

    Motile Forms: Sperm with a heightened ability to swim.

    Myomas: Benign, smooth muscle tumors found in the female genital tract.


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    O

    Open Approach (Abdominal Myomectomy): A surgical procedure in which only fibroids, but not the uterus, are removed. This preserves childbearing potential. Myomectomy can be performed in different ways depending on the location of fibroids within the uterus. The most common approach is abdominal myomectomy, which allows the surgeon to directly visualize the uterus and fibroids through an abdominal incision.

    Ovarian Cysts: Sacs filled with fluid or semisolid material that develops on or within the ovary during the time of ovulation. Most cysts are benign and disappear within 60 days without treatment.

    Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): Excessive stimulation of the ovaries by fertility medications.

    Ovary: The female reproductive organs that produce eggs and estrogen.

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    P

    Pelvic Adhesions: Abnormal bands of scar tissue that form in the pelvis and cause organs to stick or bind to one another.

    Pelviscopy: Surgical procedure to examine and treat abdominal and pelvic organs through a small surgical viewing instrument (laparoscope) inserted into the abdomen at the navel.

    Placenta: The organ in the womb that nourishes the fetus.

    PPO: Preferred provider organization.

    Progesterone: A female hormone secreted by the ovaries.
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    T

    Testicular Sperm Aspiration: A needle biopsy of the testicle used to obtain small amounts of sperm. A small incision is made in the scrotal skin and a spring loaded needle is fired through the testicle.

    Tubal Reanastomosis: A surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are reconnected, usually performed after a previous tubal ligation (sterilization).

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    U

    Uterus: The organ where the embryo attaches and develops.

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    V

    Vagina: The birth canal leading to the uterus.

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