AART - Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Amenorrhea
The absence of menstrual periods for more than six months.

Androgens
Male sex hormones (like testosterone) that cause development of male characteristics and sex organs.

Anovulation
The absence of ovulation.

Artificial Insemination
Artificially putting semen in the woman’s vagina, uterus or fallopian tube to aid fertilization.

Basal Body Temperature Method
A method of taking your basal body temperature (in the morning before movement, eating, etc.) and recording it on a chart with the aim of predicting/determining when ovulation occurs.

Blastocyst
An embryonic stage of development occurring on day 5 or 6 after fertilization.

Breakthrough Bleeding
A term used to describe bleeding that happens between periods. Usually describes bleeding that is heavier than spotting.

Cervical Crypts
The tiny cave-like areas of the cervix where sperm can live while waiting for ovulation.

Cervical Fluid
See cervical mucus.

Cervical Mucus
A fluid that is secreted by the cervix when estrogen is ripening eggs just before ovulation. This mucus nourishes the sperm and helps it travel. Slippery mucus generally moves down to the vaginal opening. Many women monitor their cervical mucus to determine their most fertile time of the month.

Cervix
The opening of the uterus into the vagina.

Cilia
Tiny hair-like projections on cells lining both the vas deferens in the male and the fallopian tubes in the female. The cilia help push the egg along in the fallopian tube.

Clomid
A drug commonly used to stimulate ovulation. It acts on the pituitary, stimulating it to make FSH.

Corpus Luteum
The mass of cells that form from the follicle once the egg has been released from the ovary. The corpus luteum produces progesterone.

Cyst
A mass filled with either fluid or soft material. When on the ovary, can cause ovulation problems and can be painful if ruptures.

Ectopic (tubal) Pregnancy
A pregnancy occurring outside of the uterus – usually in the fallopian tube, but can occur in the abdominal cavity.

Ejaculation
The expulsion of semen from the penis.

Embryo
The fertilized egg up to the 8th week of development.

Endocrine Gland
A gland that secretes hormones into the bloodstream.

Endometriosis
A condition where the endometrium or other uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes or along the abdominal wall.

Endometrium
The uterine lining.

Erectile Dysfunction
Lacking the ability to have an erection. Commonly known as impotence.

Estrogen
Female sex hormones (also produced in men in small amounts), produced in the ovaries.

Fallopian Tube
The tube extending from the uterus to the ovary. Where conception takes place.

Fetus
The name given to an unborn baby after the eighth week.

Fibroids
Benign tumors located in or around the uterus. Can cause miscarriages, but not always.

Fimbriae
The finger-like projections at the end of the fallopian tube. The fimbriae pick up the egg after it is released from the ovary.

Follicle
The capsule of cells surrounding the egg in the ovary.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
The hormone that stimulates follicle development in women and sperm production in men.

Follicular Phase
The first phase of the menstrual cycle. This is the time when the egg is ripening for ovulation.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
The hormone produced by the placenta. This is the hormone pregnancy tests look for. We use this hormone in some of our treatments.

Hypothalamus
A part of the brain that regulates certain functions, including sex hormone production.

ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
A procedure where sperm is injected into the egg under a microscope to achieve fertilization.

Implantation
When the egg burrows into the uterine lining.

IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
A procedure where sperm are inserted through the cervix and into the uterus through a tiny catheter.

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)
A process where the woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm are retrieved and placed together in a petri dish. After fertilization occurs, the embryos are deposited into the woman’s uterus.

Luteal Phase
The third part of the menstrual cycle. During this time, ovulation has taken place and progesterone is released by the corpus luteum.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
The hormone that triggers ovulation. It is released from the pituitary gland. hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) can sometimes be used during treatment to perform this function.

Menstruation
The shedding of the blood-rich uterine lining.

Miscarriage
A pregnancy that terminates on its own. Also known as “spontaneous abortion.”

Mucus (cervical)
The substance that changes consistency as ovulation approaches and after ovulation. This mucus helps sperm reach the uterus when a woman is fertile.

Oocyte
Another word for egg or ovum.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation
A condition that sometimes happens when a woman undergoes fertility treatments where the ovaries are artificially stimulated to produce eggs. It happens in 1-3% of women undergoing IVF.

Ovaries
The two sex glands in the woman that produce hormones and ova (eggs).

Ovulation
The release of an egg from the ovaries.

Ovum
Another word for egg.

Pergonal
A drug that matures eggs in the ovaries and prepares the follicles for ovulation. (Rarely used nowadays as more pure medications are available).

Progesterone
The female sex hormone responsible for creating a nourishing environment in the uterine lining after ovulation.

Reproductive Endocrinologist
A specialist who helps couples with infertility and certain female reproductive problems.

Semen
The fluid that is released from the penis during ejaculation. Some of the fluid is sperm.

Spotting
Light bleeding at anytime except menstruation.

Testes
The male sex glands that produce sperm and hormones. Located in the scrotum.

Testicle
A testis. (singular for testes).

Tubal Ligation
A sterilization procedure where the fallopian tubes are cut, clipped or burned shut with the aim of ensuring that sperm do not meet an egg.

Uterus
Also known as the “womb,” this is where a baby grows during gestation.

Vagina
Female organ that receives a man’s penis. Also known as the birth canal because this is where the baby emerges during birth.

Vas Deferens
The tube in a man that carries sperm to the urethra. This is the tube that is cut during a vasectomy.

Vasectomy
Sterilization procedure where the vas deferens is cut or burned to prevent sperm from traveling to the urethra.

Zygote
The fertilized egg before it has divided into two cells after which it is called an embryo up to the 8th week.