UT Medicine Fertility Center

Glossary

 
 

Embryo: a fertilized egg from conception to the eighth embryonic week.

 
 

Embryologist: An expert in early embryo development and in processing of eggs and sperm. Functions primarily in the in vitro fertilization laboratory as the caretaker of sperm, eggs, and embryos. Educationally prepared at the Doctorate level in Science, with hands on experience on embryology, andrology and related technologies.

 
 

Estradiol: A form of estrogen. This hormone is produced by developing follicles in the ovary. Measuring levels helps determine progressive growth of the follicles during ovulation induction.

 
 

FSH: Follicle Stimulating Hormone stimulates the ovary to ripen a follicle for ovulation.

 
 

Fibroid: A benign (not malignant) tumor of the uterine muscle and connective tissue.

 
 

Follicle: The structure in the ovary that nurtures a ripening egg and releases it.

 
 

Gamete Intra-fallopian Transfer (GIFT): Gamete intra-fallopian transfer involves combining sperm and eggs outside the body and immediately placing them into the fallopian tubes.

 
 

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An x-ray study in which dye is injected into the uterus to show the body of the uterus and whether the fallopian tubes are open. Does not require anesthesia, although pain medication will be administered before the exam.

 
 

Hysteroscopy: An examination of the inside of the uterus through a fiberoptic telescope inserted through the vagina and cervical canal. Requires anesthesia.

 
 

Infertility: The inability of a couple to conceive a pregnancy after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse.

 
 

Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI): IUI is the insertion of sperm, which have been carefully washed and prepared, directly into the uterus.

 
 

In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Performed in the laboratory, in vitro (in glass) fertilization involves the removal of eggs from ripe follicles and their fertilization by sperm cells outside the human body.

 
 

LH: Luteinizing Hormone increases in the middle of the cycle to trigger ovulation - the release of an egg.

 
 

Laparascopy: Use of a surgical instrument inserted through small incision below the navel to allow direct visualization of the ovaries and the exterior of the fallopian tubes and uterus.

 
 

Ovarian Cyst: Fluid filled sacs in the ovary.

 
 

Ovulation: Release of an egg from its follicle in the ovary.

 
 

Ovulation Induction: Use of hormone therapy to stimulate oocyte (egg) development and release.

 
 

Progesterone: A female hormone secreted after ovulation has occurred. It prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg.

 
 

Prolactin: Female hormone responsible for milk production in nursing mothers. Can be elevated for other reasons such as an underactive thyroid. Elevated prolactin can affect ovulation.

 
 

Post-Coital Test (PCT): Test in which cervical secretions are obtained following intercourse and analyzed under a microscope to discern problems with the interaction of sperm and cervical mucus.

 
 

Psychologist: A therapist qualified to help individuals or couples discuss, understand and manage the stresses of infertility and its treatment. Educationally prepared to the level of Doctorate in Psychology.

 
 

Reproductive Endocrinologist: A Doctor with a specialty in in Gynecology and Obstetrics who is additionally trained through fellowship in women's infertility medicine and reproductive microsurgery.

 
 

Sperm Morphology: Size and shape of individual sperm. Normal sperm have an enzyme-coated head, middle piece, and whip-like tail.

 
 

Sperm Motility: The ability of sperm to swim and move progressively. Motility is one of the most important determining factors in the sperm's ability to fertilize an egg.

 
 

STD: Sexually Transmitted Diseases include Chlamydia, Herpes, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and other conditions.

 
 

Testosterone: Male sex hormone produced in the testicles.

 
 

TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is released by the pituitary gland to increase thyroid hormone production. TSH results can reveal whether thyroid function is normal, which is necessary for normal ovulation.

 
 

Ultrasound: Also called sonogram. A technique using sound waves to visualize the uterus and ovaries, a fetus in the uterus, or the growth of ovarian follicles during infertility treatment.

 
 

Urologist: A physician specializing in male urinary tract problems who is particularly knowledgeable about penile and testicular function.

 
 

Zygote Intra-Fallopian Transfer (ZIFT): Zygote intra-fallopian transfer involves in vitro fertilization with a transfer of the zygote into the fallopian tube. The zygote is an egg that has fertilized, but not yet divided.