Glossary

Adhesion Scar tissue from previous injuries, infections, or endometriosis that forms in and around reproductive organs, possibly interfering with reproductive capability.
Agglutination of Sperm Sticking together of sperm, often due to infection, inflammation ,or antibodies, which impairs the ability to fertilize an egg.
AID (Artificial insemination donor) procedure introducing sperm from an anonymous donor into the woman’s uterus in order to achieve a pregnancy.
AIH(Artificial insemination hudband) procedure introducing sperm from the husband into the wife’s uterus in order to achieve a pregnancy. Also called as IUI
Amenorrhea Absence of menstruation.
Anovulation Total absence of ovulation. Note: This is not necessarily the same as "amenorrhea." Menstruation may still occur with anovulation.
Andrology Science of diseases of males, including infertility, spermatogenesis and sexual dysfunction.
Antisperm Antibodies Protective protein that exists naturally, or may develop, that causes clumping of sperm, thus preventing or inhibiting fertilization.
Aspermia Absence of semen and sperm.
Assisted Hatching Mechanical or chemical manipulation of the zona pellucida to facilitate implantation of the embryo
Asthenospermia Condition in which the sperm do not swim (move) at all or swim more slowly than normal.
Azoospermia Condition in which there are no sperm in the seminal fluid. This may be due to a blockage of transport of sperm or to an impairment of sperm production.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Temperature of the woman, taken orally upon waking in the morning before any activity. Used to help determine if ovulation is occurring.
Blastocyst The final stage of the embryo at the time of implantation. Now, many laboratories will offer culturing the embryo upto the blastocy st stage and transfer it in the uterus at this stage to improve pregnancy rates.
Cervical Mucus Mucus produced by the cervix which permits passage of sperm to the uterus and fallopian tubes. This mucus changes in volume and quality at the time of ovulation.
Cervix Lower section of the uterus that protrudes into the vagina, through which the sperm pass to reach the uterus.
Conception Fertilization of a woman's egg by a man's sperm.
Congenital Characteristic of defect present at birth, acquired during pregnancy but not necessarily hereditary.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Condition that one is born with due to the lack of an enzyme needed by the adrenal gland. Normal products of the adrenal gland, therefore, are not produced; the body tries to stimulate the gland, and it enlarges (hyperplasia).
Cryopreservation The preservaton of sperm or embryos by freezing, usually by immersion in liquid nitrogen
Cryptorchidism Occurs when a testes is not in its normal position in the scrotum. It may be in the groin or abdomen.
Dysmenorrhea Cramping and pain during the time of menstruation.
Ectopic Pregnancy pregnancy in which the embryo implants outside the uterine cavity, most commonly in the fallopian tubes.
Egg (Oocyte) Donation Surgical removal of an egg from one woman for fertilization with partner's or donor's sperm. The resulting embryo is then transferred into the fallopian tube or uterus of another woman.
Embryo Term used to describe the early stages of fetal growth, from conception to the eighth week of pregnancy.
Endocrine System System of glands including the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, adrenals and testicles or ovaries.
Endometriosis Presence of endometrial tissue (the normal uterine lining) in abnormal locations such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries and peritoneal cavity, often causing painful menstruation and infertility.
Ejaculate Sperm combines with fluid from the seminal vesicle and a thick secretion from the prostate gland. This fluid is discharged through the penis.
Endometrium Lining of the uterus.
Epididymis Elongated organ in the male lying above and behind the testicles. It contains a highly convoluted canal, where after production, sperm are stored, nourished and developed for several months.
Estrogen Class of female hormones, produced mainly by the ovaries from the onset of puberty until menopause, which are responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics, such as breasts.
Fallopian Tubes Pair of narrow tubes that carry the ovum (egg) from the ovary to the uterus.
Fertilization Penetration of the egg by the sperm and joining of genetic materials to result in the development of an embryo.
Fibroid (Leiomyoma) Benign tumor of fibrous tissue that may occur in the uterine wall. May be totally without symptoms or may cause abnormal menstrual patterns or infertility.
Fimbria Fringed and hair like outer ends of the fallopian tubes, which capture the egg when it is released from the ovary during ovulation.
Follicle Structure in the ovary that nurtures the developing egg and from which the egg is released.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) - Hormone produced in the anterior pituitary gland that stimulates the ovary to develop a follicle for ovulation in women, and stimulates the production of sperm in the testicles in men.
Follicular Phase First half of the menstrual cycle when ovarian follicle development takes place and the egg matures.
Gamete Male or female reproductive cells-the sperm or the egg.
GIFT Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer ( transferring of the egg and sperm in the normal fallopian tube to facilitate fertilization)
Gonads Glands that make the gametes (the testicles in the male and the ovaries in the female).
Gonadotropin a hormone which stimulates the gonads
GnRH gonadotropin releasing hormone, a hormone produced by the hypothalamus which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce FSH and LH. They are two types of analogues of the hormone, agonist (one which acts like the hormone) and antagonist (one which blocks the effect of the hormone)
HMG Human menopausal gonadotropin, used to stimulate the ovaries. It contains FSH and LH in equal parts
HCG Human chorionc gonadotropin, a hormone normally produced by the placenta and its presence in blood or urine is used to detect pregnancy. It is also used to trigger final maturation of the egg
Hormone Chemical produced by the endocrine gland that circulates in the blood and has widespread action throughout the body.
Hypogonadism Inadequate ovarian or testicular function as shown by low sperm production or lack of follicle production, as well as in low or absent levels of FSH, LH.
Hypothalamus Gland at the base of the brain that controls the release of hormones from the pituitary.
Hysteroscopy an endoscopic procedure used to visualize the interior of the uterus. The endoscope is a fibre optic telescope and can be used for diagnosis as well as for certain surgical procedures can also be carried out through the hysterocope.
Idiopathic (Unexplained) Infertility Term used to describe infertility when no reason can be found to explain the cause of a couple's infertility.
Implantation Embedding of the fertilized egg in the lining of the uterus (endometrium).
Impotence Inability of the male to achieve or maintain an erection for intercourse due to physical or emotional problems or to a combination of factors.
IUI Intra Uterine Insemination ( transfer of washed and enriched sperm directly in the cavity of the uterus)
In Vitro Fertilization a process where fertilization of the sperm and the egg occurs outside the body, (in a laboratory). The resulting embryo is implanted in the woman’s uterus.
 
 
Laparoscopy an abdominal surgical procedure using an endoscopic (fibre optic telescope) equipment to visualize the interior of the abdomen, mainly the uterus, fallopian tubes ovaries and other organs. The laparoscope may also be used to perform surgical procedures, with the use of other specialized equipment.
LH Luteinizing hormone, produced and released by the pituitary gland, and is responsible for the maturation and release of the egg in female and testosterone production in the male.
Luteal Phase Days of the menstrual cycle after ovulation and ending with menses during which progesterone is produced.
Luteinized Unruptured Follicle (LUF) Syndrome Clinical indications that ovulation has occurred (blood hormonal changes, temperature rise on the BBT chart, appropriate secreting endometrium found on endometrial biopsy) but the egg is not released from the ovary; the follicular sac is unruptured and the egg is trapped.
Menstruation Shedding of the uterine lining by bleeding that, in the absence of pregnancy, normally occurs about once a month in the mature female.
MESA Micro Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
Myomectomy Surgical removal of a tumor (myoma) in the uterine muscular wall.
Necrospermia Condition in which sperm are produced and found in the semen but are not alive and are unable to fertilize eggs.
Oligo-ovulation Infrequent ovulation, usually less than six ovulatory cycles per year.
Oligospermia Abnormally low number of sperm in the ejaculate of the male.
Ovarian Failure Inability of the ovary to respond to any gonodotropic hormone stimulation, usually due to menopause.
Ovaries Sexual glands of the female that produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone and in which the ova are developed. There are two ovaries, one on each side of the pelvis.
Ovulation Discharge of a mature egg, usually at about the midpoint of the menstrual cycle.
Ovulatory Dysfunction Problem existing in the ovary-either the egg is not released from the ovarian follicle or the process of egg development is abnormal.
Oocyte (Egg) (ovum) Also referred to as an ovum, o
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Inflammatory disease of the pelvis, often caused by infection or endometriosis.
PESA Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
Pituitary Gland located at the base of the human brain that secretes a number of important hormones related to normal growth development and fertility.
Polycystic Ovarian (PCO) Syndrome Development of multiple cysts in the ovaries due to arrested follicle growth. This is caused by an imbalance in the amount of LH and FSH released during the ovulatory cycle.
Postcoital Testing (PCT) Diagnostic test for infertility in which vaginal and cervical secretions are obtained at the time of suspected ovulation and following intercourse. These secretions are analyzed under a microscope. Normal test results should show large numbers of live, motile sperm and a characteristic "ferning" pattern of cervical mucus.
Primary Infertility Inability to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse (after 6 months if the woman is over age 35) for a couple who has never had a baby.
Progesterone Hormone secreted by the corpus luteum of the ovary after ovulation has occurred. It is responsible for preparing the uterus for pregnancy. Also maintains the placenta during early pregnancy to prevent the embryo from miscarriage.
Prostate Gland in the male that surrounds the first portion of the urethra near the bladder. It secretes a liquid that balances acid in the urethra and stimulates movement of the sperm.
 
Retrograde Ejaculation Discharge of sperm backward into the bladder rather than forward through the penis.
Retroverted Uterus Uterus that is flexed severely forward or backward.
Salpingolysis Surgery to remove adhesions on the fallopian tubes.
Salpingoplasty Surgery to correct blocked fallopian tubes.
Scrotum Bag of skin and thin muscle that holds the testicles.
Secondary Infertility Inability to conceive after 6 months of regular unprotected intercourse, or carry a pregnancy when at least one partner has successfully conceived or carried one or more pregnancies.
Semen Analysis Study of fresh ejaculate under the microscope to count the number of million sperm per milliliter or cubic centimeter, to check the shape and size of the sperm (morphology), and to note their ability to move (motility).
Semen or Seminal Fluid Composed of elements formed by the testes (sperm) and the male accessory glands (prostate and seminal vesicle). Only a small part of the visible ejaculate (semen) comes from the testicle.
Seminal Vesicle Pair of pouch like glands around the prostate in the male that produce a thick alkaline secretion that is added to sperm during ejaculation.
Seminiferous Tubules Long tubes in the testicles in which sperm are formed.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Any infection pertaining to or transmitted by sexual intercourse. The most common STDs are gonorrhea, herpes and AIDS. Some STDs are readily treatable if medical help is sought early. Certain STDs can cause infertility in both men and women if untreated.
Sperm (Spermatozoa) - Male reproductive cells that have measurable characteristics such as:
  • Motility - Refers to the percentage of sperm demonstrating any type of forward movement.
  • Count (or Density) - Refers to the number of sperm present.
  • Morphology - Refers to the form or shape of the sperm.
  • Viability - Refers to whether the sperm are alive.
Sperm Antibodies Presence of sperm antibodies in the woman or man that tend to destroy sperm action by immobilizing the sperm or making them clump together.
Sperm Washing Technique that separates the sperm from the seminal fluid.
Spermatogenesis Production of sperm within the seminiferous tubules.
Spinnbarkeit Stretch ability of cervical mucus. This is a rough measure of how easily sperm cells can enter and penetrate the cervical secretions.
Split Ejaculate Method of collecting a semen specimen so that the first half of the ejaculate is caught in one container and the rest in a second container. The first half usually contains the majority of the sperm and is then used to inseminate the woman.
Surrogate Mother Woman who becomes pregnant through insemination with the sperm of the male partner of an infertile woman and then, following pregnancy and birth, turns the child over for adoption by the couple.
Testes Male sexual glands of which there are two. Contained in the scrotum, they produce the male hormone testosterone and produce the male reproductive cells, the sperm.
Testicular Biopsy Small surgical excision of testicular tissue to determine the ability of the cells to produce normal sperm or to diagnose possible neoplasm.
TESA Testicular Sperm Aspiration
TESE Testicular Sperm Extraction
Thyroid Gland Gland located at the front base of the neck that secretes the thyroid hormone, found to be necessary for normal fertility.
Tubal Patency Unobstructed and open fallopian tubes.
Uterus Hollow muscular organ in the woman that holds and nourishes the fetus until the time of birth.
Vagina Muscular opening in the woman extending from the vulva to the cervix of the uterus.
Vaginismus Spasm of the muscles around the opening of the vagina, making penetration during sexual intercourse either impossible or very painful. Can be caused by physical or psychological conditions.
Varicocele Collection of varicose veins in the scrotum. Blood flows in an abnormal direction in these veins toward the testicle rather than the normal direction which is always toward the heart. Elevated scrotal heat results.
Vas Deferens Pair of thick-walled tubes about 45 cm long in the male that lead from the epididymis to the ejaculatory duct in the prostate.
Vasectomy Surgery to excise part of the vas deferens to sterilize a man.
Viscosity Thickness of semen.
Vulva External genitalia of the female.
 
 
 
ZIFT Zygote Intra fallopian Transfer ( transfer of the fertilized ovum or zygote in a normal fallopian tube)
Zona Pellucida Outer covering of the egg/embryo.
Zygote Egg that has been fertilized but has not yet divided.

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