IFV Glossary

A

Artificial Insemination (AI) – A process with supports natural fertilization by placing specially-prepared sperm directly inside the woman’s uterus, prior to the release of an egg, to increase the chances of pregnancy. This procedure is used for both male partner and donor sperm. This technique is used to overcome sexual performance issues and to maximize the potential for partners with a low sperm count. See also Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI).

Assisted Hatching – The process of creating an opening in the zona pellucida, or egg shell of the embryo, to promote a higher rate of implantation.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) – Methods/procedures used to achieve pregnancy by artificial means, including IVF, ICSI and IUI.

B

Blastocyst Transfer IVF – The process of allowing embryos to grow in vitro for a longer period of time, providing a greater opportunity to select the most developed embryos for transfer.

C

Cervix – The opening between the uterus and the vagina. The cervix remains closed during pregnancy and dilates during labor and delivery to allow the baby to be born.

Chromosome – The structures in the cell that carry genes containing genetic material. The human has 46 chromosomes, 23 from the egg and 23 from the sperm.

E

Egg Retrieval – A procedure used to obtain eggs from ovarian follicles for use in In Vitro Fertilization.

Embryo – The early stages of development/product of conception from implantation through the eighth week of pregnancy.

Embryo Transfer – The process of placing an egg that was fertilized outside of the womb into a women’s uterus to promote pregnancy.

Embryo Vitrification or Embryo Cryopreservation – This process involves freezing surplus embryos from an IVF or ICSI cycle to be used at a later date. Embryos can be stored safely for up to 5 years.

Endometriosis – A medical condition in which endometrial tissue exists outside of the uterus, most commonly in the ovaries. Endometriosis can interfere with ovulation and the implantation of an embryo.

Estrogen – The female sex hormone.

F

Fallopian Tubes – Two tubes that connect the female’s ovaries to the uterus. When an egg is released from the follicle, it travels through the Fallopian Tubes, the site where fertilization occurs if it is met by a sperm.

Fertility Treatment – Any method/procedure used to enhance fertility or increase the likelihood of pregnancy. See also Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

Fertilization – Also know as conception, the process of combining a sperm and an egg to create an embryo. If a couple is unable to conceive naturally, fertilization can occur through the use of ART.

Fetus – A developing human from the period of gestation between eight weeks to birth.

Follicles – Fluid-filled sacs in the ovary that contain the eggs as they develop each month in order to be released at ovulation.

H

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) – The hormone that supports the development of an egg in a woman’s ovary and triggers ovulation. Commonly used to promote ovulation and treat infertility in women and to increase sperm count in men.

 
I

Implantation – The embedding of the embryo into the lining of the mother’s uterus in order to establish contact with her blood supply for nourishment.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) – One of the most common and well-known fertility treatments, involving the process of manually combining an egg and a sperm in a laboratory dish to encourage fertilization.

Infertility – The inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term.

Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) – The process of injecting a single sperm directly into the center of an egg that has been extracted from the woman’s body. If fertilization occurs, the embryo(s) is then placed back in the woman’s uterus, just as in an IVF treatment.

Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) – A process with supports natural fertilization by placing specially-prepared sperm directly inside the woman’s uterus, prior to the release of an egg, to increase the chances of pregnancy. This procedure is used for both male partner and donor sperm. This technique is used to overcome sexual performance issues and to maximize the potential for partners with a low sperm count. See also Artificial Insemination (AI).

M

Miscarriage – Loss of a fetus prior to the 20th week of pregnancy.

O

Ovulation – The release of the egg from the ovarian follicle.

Ovulation Induction – The process of administering fertility drugs in a controlled manner to stimulate the ovaries. The goal of this process is to produce mature eggs.

P

Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) – The process of performing a biopsy on embryos to identify which of the embryos is at risk for specific genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis.

S

Semen – A secretion of the male reproductive organs, which provides nourishment and protection for the sperm and a medium in which the sperm can travel to the woman’s vagina.

Sperm – The male reproductive cell.

Sperm Count – Used as an indicator of male fertility, this refers to the number of sperm in an ejaculate.

T

Testicular Biopsy – Procedure used to collect sperm directly from the testes when the male partner is producing sperm that is not present in the semen.

Testosterone – The male hormone responsible for the formation of secondary sex characteristics and for supporting sex drive.

U

Ultrasound – The use of ultrasonic waves to create an image of an internal body structure or monitor a developing fetus. During fertility treatment, this process is commonly used to detect and count follicle growth.

Uterus – The hollow, muscular female organ in which the fetus develops and receives nourishment during pregnancy. Also called the womb.