Glossary of Terms

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  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): Medical treatments that assist in overcoming infertility by handling the eggs and/or embryos. Some common forms include IVF, GIFT, ZIFT and TET (all defined below).


  • Cervix: The lower, narrower end of the uterus.
  • Cryopreservation: The freezing of something, such as an egg, sperm or embryo, to keep it preserved.


  • Ectopic pregnancy: A pregnancy occurring in the fallopian tube or outside of the uterine lining.
  • Egg: An ovum produced by the woman’s ovary. It turns into an embryo when fertilized by a man’s sperm.
  • Egg retrieval: A medical procedure where eggs are harvested. A needle is inserted into the ovarian follicle, and eggs and fluids are removed. (Also called “ooycte aspiration”.)
  • Embyro: An egg that has been fertilized and has started the process of cell division.
  • Estradiol: A form of Estrogen that is produced in the follicles of the ovaries. Highest levels of Estradiol are present right before ovulation.
  • Estrogen: A hormone that is primary for women. It causes the uterine wall to thicken monthly, helping spur ovulation. There are different forms of estrogen hormones. The main form is called Estradiol.


  • Fallopian tubes: Found in the woman’s reproductive system. They are a pair of tubes, attached on either side of the top of the uterus. Normal conception occurs in this area.
  • Fibroids: Non-cancerous (benign) tumors that form in the muscular wall of the uterus. They can be painful and cause abnormal bleeding. Fibroids are common and are treatable by a physician.
  • Follicle: A round sac, found in the ovary, containing an egg and cells that produce hormones.
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): A hormone, produced by the pituitary gland, which stimulates the growth of the follicle. The hormone is used in medical treatments, contained in injectable ovulation drugs to help spur growth of the follicles.


  • Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT): A medical procedure, where egg and sperm are transferred into a fallopian tube to produce fertilization.


  • ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection): A single sperm is injected directly into an egg. Used mainly in cases of male infertility.
  • Infertility: The inability to get pregnant or sustain a pregnancy. Condition can be medically investigated, diagnosed and treated.
  • Insemination: A medical procedure where sperm is put into the uterus or cervix to fertilize and egg. Also a term used to describe the method of sperm added to eggs in IVF.
  • IUI (Intrauterine insemination): Sperm that have been washed free of seminal fluid are inserted directly into the uterus.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF): A medical procedure where sperm and eggs are put together in a laboratory to produce an embryo. If successful, the embryo is then implanted into the uterus.


  • Laparoscopy: A medical procedure that allows a doctor to look at the uterus and fallopian tubes. A small instrument, called a laparoscope, is inserted through a small incision around the area of the bellybutton. The laparoscope contains a tiny video camera, providing the “eyes” for the doctor’s examination.


  • Ooycte: The official medical term for an egg.
  • Ovary: Part of the female reproductive system. There are two ovaries, located on either side of the uterus. They contain and produce eggs and hormones.
  • Ovulation: When an ovary releases an egg into the fallopian tube.


  • Pituitary gland: A small gland, located in brain, which produces hormones that simulate follicle growth.
  • Progesterone: A hormone that helps prepare the lining of the uterus for the implantation of a fertilized egg. It is present during the second half of the menstrual cycle.


  • Semen: Fluid that sperm swim in.
  • Sperm: The male reproductive material that fertilizes the female egg.


  • Therapeutic donor insemination (TDI): Using sperm from an anonymous donor, TDI can help couples who are experiencing male factor fertility problems.
  • Tubal embryo transfer (TET): A medical procedure where an early-stage embryo is transferred into the fallopian tube.


  • Uterus: Part of the female reproductive system. It is a muscular organ where the embryo implants and grows during pregnancy.


  • Vagina: Part of the female reproductive system. It is the canal that goes into to the cervix.


  • Zygote: A fertilized egg that has not begun the process of cell division.
  • Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT): A medical procedure where an egg is fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The zygote is transferred to the fallopian tube before cell division starts.