Glossary of Terms

The staff at the Reproductive Medicine Group has compiled a list of frequently used terms that you will see throughout your treatment and on this website. Please use the following list so you may better understand the procedures and treatments offered.

  • Advanced Reproductive Technologies (ART): Used to assist couples in overcoming infertility through the joining of the sperm and egg outside of the body and the transfer of resulting embryos. These procedures include: In Vitro Fertilization, Donor Oocyte IVF, Micromanipulation (ICSI and AH), Cryopreservation of embryos and sperm related procedures.
  • Aspiration: A method of removing eggs from the ovaries via a needle which is passed through the vagina into the ovary.
  • Assisted Hatching (AH): A small opening is made in the shell of the embryo to improve the chances of implantation.
  • Cryopreservation: A process that preserves embryos by freezing them for later implantation.
  • Egg Donation: This procedure is utilized for women who lack good quality eggs or do not produce healthy eggs. Generally egg development is stimulated in a younger woman, who donates the eggs which are then fertilizad with the patient’s spouse/partner’s sperm. The embryo is then transferred into the woman’s uterus.
  • Embryo: The cells resulting after fertilization of the oocyte by the sperm.
  • Follicle: The fluid-filled sac in the ovary that has nurtured the egg and from which the egg is release during ovulation or aspiration.
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): A hormone produced and released from the pituitary that stimulates the ovary to ripen a follicle for ovulation. Elevated levels in the blood early in the cycle may indicate decreased quality and quantity of the eggs.
  • Gestational Surrogacy: This is an option for women with viable eggs who don’t have a normal uterus or can’t carry a pregnancy for other medical reasons. A woman’s eggs are removed, fertilized with the male’s sperm and the embryo is implanted into the surrogate’s uterus.
  • Gamete: A generic term referring to either the male sperm or the female oocyte (egg).
  • In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfers: In IVF, eggs are extracted from a woman and combined in a laboratory with sperm from a man. Fertilization usually takes place in one day. The resulting embryos are kept in an incubator for three to five days, after which time they are checked for appropriate development, and then transferred into the woman’s uterus.
  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): This is used when there is male-factor infertility. A single sperm is injected into an egg to achieve fertilization.
  • Laparoscopy: An abdominal surgical exploration using a special telescope (laparoscope) to view the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus.
  • Microscopic Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA): Used to obtain sperm when a man’s vas deferens is obstructed. Sperm is removed through an opening made in the skin.
  • Oocyte: The egg produced in the ovaries each month.
  • Ovulation Induction: The use of specialized medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce one or more eggs.
  • Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis/Screening (PGD/PGS): Technique used during In Vitro Fertiliztion procedures to test the embryos for genetic or chromosomal disorders prior to their transfer into the uterus.
  • Reproductive Endocrinologist: A sub specialist physician who has received training (a residency) in Obstetrics and Gynecology, advanced training (a fellowship) in the treatment of infertility, recurrent miscarriages, and hormonal disorders in women.
  • Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE): Used to obtain sperm from the testes in men who do not have sperm in their ejaculate (azospermia). The sperm is injected directly into the egg (ICSI) to acheive fertilization.
  • Ultrasonography: A radiological procedure performed either transvaginally or abdominally that uses sound waves to assess uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, pelvic masses, pelvic pain, and other gynecologic problems. It is also used to track the development of egg-bearing follicles during ovulation induction.
  • Zygote: The cell resulting after fertilization of the oocyte by the sperm.