Assisted Reproductive Technology Terms You Should Know

Aug 01, 2022 | By: Kacie Shrock, RN, BSN

Deciding to seek fertility testing or treatment while on the journey to get pregnant is a big step, but an exciting one at that! The key to helping you get through fertility treatments is being able to understand common fertility terminology used by OBGYNs and specialists to help appointments and the process go more smoothly. 

Assisted Reproductive Technology Terms in display

Whether you are considering fertility treatment and are trying to make sense of it all, or are currently working with your doctor and have seen some terms come up that you are unsure of, this blog is here to help. 

Common Reproductive Terms You Should Know

ART - Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Medical treatments and procedures that assist in overcoming infertility by handling the eggs and/or embryos and support and may include procedures such as IVF, IUI with and the use of fertility medications. 

Aspiration

A surgical technique to obtain sperm or eggs either from the ovaries or testes.

Azoospermia

The absence of sperm in the seminal fluid.  

Beta hCG Test

A blood test that looks for the pregnancy hormone called, “hCG”, commonly referred to as ‘a pregnancy test’.

Blastocyst

 The stage of preimplantation embryo development that occurs around 5-6 days after insemination or ICSI. 

Cervix

The lower section and opening of the uterus that protrudes into the vagina and has a small opening.

Chemical Pregnancy

 A very early miscarriage where the egg is fertilized bt does not fully implant in the uterus. 

Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate)

An oral, synthetic drug used to stimulate the production of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone that helps encourage follicles to grow and become an egg that will be released at ovulation.  TL:DR Medicated ovulation 

Cryopreservation

 The process of slow freezing to preserve biological material (eggs, sperm, embryo, etc.).

Ectopic Pregnancy

 A pregnancy that implants in the fallopian tube or outside of the uterine cavity. 

Egg Retrieval

 Surgical procedure where eggs are removed from the ovary, seen in IVF or egg cryopreservation (freezing).

Embryo

An egg that has been fertilized by sperm and has started the process of cell division.

Embryo Transfer

Final procedure of IVF when the embryo is transferred to the uterus for implantation.

Endometrium

The mucous membrane lining the uterus.

Follicle

Fluid filled sac that houses an immature egg. 

Implantation

The embedding of the fertilized egg (embryo) in the lining of the uterus.

Insemination

Introduction of semen into the reproductive tract of a female. 

Infertility

Inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex in women under the age of 35, or 6 months for women over the age of 35. 

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection

Or ICSI, a process where a single sperm is placed directly in the egg (done as part of an IVF cycle).

Intrauterine Insemination

Or IUI, a procedure where washed sperm are placed directly in the uterus using a device around the time of ovulation, performed by a specialized physician. 

In Vitro Fertilization

Or IVF, a procedure where an egg is retrieved from the female body and met with sperm outside of the body, it is then allowed to form an embryo, which is then transferred back to the female body after 3-5 days for implantation. 

Laparoscopy

A medical procedure that allows a doctor to look at the uterus and fallopian tubes, via a small instrument, called a laparoscope, that is inserted through a small incision around the area of the belly button. 

Oocyte

The official medical term for an egg, also called an ovum.

Ovary

Part of the female reproductive system, the organ that contains and produces eggs and hormones.

Ovulation

Release of a mature egg from a follicle at the surface of the ovary. You can simply track your ovulation time using ovulation tests.

PGT

Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) is used to identify any genetic abnormalities of an embryo created through IVF before an embryo transfer. 

Semen

The fluid released from a male upon ejaculation that contains fluid and sperm.

Sperm

The male reproductive cell that fertilizes an egg.  

Therapeutic Donor Insemination

Or TDI, an insemination (such as an IUI), that is completed using a donor (known or unknown).

Uterus

The organ of a female reproductive system where an embryo implants and grows during pregnancy.

Not sure if you should find a fertility specialist or what your next steps should be, you can reach out to one of our Experts right in the Premom app! You can use our Ask An Expert Feature and have an expert response back within one business day. 

About Author

Nurse Kacie is a registered nurse who specializes in fertility and reproductive health. She has always had a passion for women's health and she supports women and couples virtually across the world while on their journey to their dream families!

 

Resources:

https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/crm/patient-resources/health-library/glossary-terms

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5850297/ 

https://www.ivforlando.com/contents/understanding-infertility/fertility-glossary 

Ask an expert, cervical position, cervix, conception, consultation, endometriosis, getting pregnant, health, IUI, IVF
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