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Androgen: Hormone that stimulates the activity of the accessory male sex organs and encourages development of male sex characteristics, also produced in low quantities in females.
ART: Assisted Reproductive Techniques
Artificial Insemination(AI): The depositing of sperm in the vagina near the cervix or directly into the uterus, with the use of a catheter instead of by sexual intercourse. This technique is used to overcome sexual performance problems, to avoid sperm-mucus interaction problems, to maximise the potential of poor semen and for using donor sperm.
Assisted Hatching: When the zona(egg shell) is softened usually by the use of acid or a laser to assist in the hatching of the embryo.
Blastocyst: A multiple cell embryo which develops a cystic central structure.
Blastocyst Transfer: Embryos that are developed to the 5th or 6th day of development(until they reach blastocyst stage) rather than the usual 3rd day transfer in IVF.
Cervix: The lower section of the uterus reaching the vagina and which dilates during labour.
Corpus Luteum: A structure that forms at the site of an ovarian follicle after it releases an egg. The corpus luteum releases estrogen and progesterone two hormones for maintaining a pregnancy. If pregnancy occurs, the corpus luteum functions for five or six months. If pregnancy does not occur, it stops functioning.
Cryopreservation: Storage of organs or tissues at very low temperatures. Embryos that are not used in an ART cycle can be cryopreserved for future use.
Egg Retrieval: A procedure used to obtain eggs from ovarian follicles for use in in- vitro fertilisation. The procedure may be performed during laproscopy or through the vagina by using a needle and ultrasound to locate the follicle in the ovary.
Embryo: Term used to describe the early stages of fetal growth, from conception in the eighth week of pregnancy.
Embryo Transfer: Placing an egg fertilised outside the womb into a womans uterus.
Embryo Implantation: This is when the embryo is embedding itself into the endometrium tissue so that it can establish contact with the blood supply of the patient. This usually takes place in the uterus however, in the case of an ectopic pregnancy it may occur in the fallopian tubes.
Endometriosis: When the fallopian tubes, ovaries and peritoneal cavity has the presence of endometrial tissue.
Estrogen or Oestrogen: Hormone that stimulates secondary female sexual characteristics and controls the course of the menstrual cycle. Also produce in low quantities in males.
Dilatation and Curettage(D&C): The lining of the uterus is scraped using a curette.
Fallopian Tubes: Ducts through which eggs travel to the uterus once released from the follicle. Sperm normally meet the egg in the fallopian tube, the site at which fertilisation usually occurs.
Fertilisation: The combining of the genetic material carried by sperm and egg to create an embryo. Normally occurs inside the fallopian tube(in vivo) but may also occur in a petri dish (in vitro).
Fertility Specialist: A physician or nurse specialising in the practices of fertility.
Fertility Treatment: Any method or procedure used to enhance fertility or increase the likelihood of pregnancy, such as ovulation induction treatment, varicole repair (repair of varicose veins in the scrotal sac), and microsurgery to repair damaged fallopian tubes. The goal of fertility treatment is to help couples have a child.
Fibroid Tumour: Benign( not malignant or life threatening) tumour of fibrous tissue that can occur in the uterine wall. May be totally without symptoms or may cause abnormal menstrual cycles of infertility.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone(FSH): A pituitory hormone that stimulates follicle development and spermatogenesis (sperm development). FSH stimulates the growth of the ovarian follicle. High levels of FSH are associated with gonadal failure in both males and females.
Follicles: These are fluid filled sacs located in the ovary which contain the eggs released at the time of ovulation. Each month an egg develops inside the ovary in a follicle.
Follicular Phase: The first half of the womans ovarian cycle following menstruation and during which time the follicles grow.
Gamete: Is a reproductive cell so sperm in men and oocyte in the woman.
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH): This hormone enables the pituitary to secrete LH and FSH which stimulates the gonads. The Hypothalamus is the part of the brain responsible for the secretion of the hormone.
Gonadotropine: Hormones that control the reproductive process. FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (Lutenising Hormone).
HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin): This the hormone that is produce very early in a pregnancy that keeps the corpus luteum producing the progesterone. This hormone is sometimes also used as a trigger injection to prepare the patient for oocyte collection 36 hours later.
Hysteroscopy: This is an examination of the uterus under anaesthetic with the aid of a hysteroscope which allows the medical team to view the condition, remove fibroids or polyps without an invasive procedure, surgical cut.
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF): The process of collecting occytes and fertilised by sperm in a laboratory.
Infertility: The inability to conceive after a period of 2 years of unprotected sex.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injections (ICSI): A process using a microscope to micromanipulate the procedure in which the sperm is directly injected into the oocyte to enable fertilisation. This is a preferred option as opposed to IVF for men with very low sperm count or with non-motile sperm.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): A process in which sperm is placed directly into the uterus via the cervix.
Laparoscopy: By using a small instrument called a laproscope an examination of the pelvic region.
LH (Luteinising Hormone): The hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates hormones. In the woman LH is necessary in the production of estrogen and in the man the production .
LH Surge: When the LH is released to cause the release of a mature egg from the follicle.
Miscarriage: Spontaneous loss of a viable pregnancy.
Oocyte (Ovum): A fully mature egg produced by the ovary every month.
Ovarian Failure: When the ovary fails to respond to FSH stimulation because of damage to or malformation of the ovary. Chronic Disease can also be a cause of failure. An elevated FSH level in the blood is used in the diagnosis.
Ovaries: Female sex glands which produce eggs.
Ovulation: The release of the egg from the follicle
Ovulation Induction: Treatment carried out to induce ovulation.
Pituitary Gland: This is the gland that is at the base of the brain which controls most of the hormone functions.
Progesterone: The hormone that is produced by the corpus luteum in the second half of the menstrual cycle. It helps to thicken the endometrium in preparation for embryo implantation.
Semen: This is ejaculated fluid containing sperm and secretions of the accessory sex glands.
Sperm: The cell that carries the males genetic information to the female egg. The male reproductive cell.
Sperm Count: At ejaculation the number of sperm produced. This is given as the number of sperm per millilitre.
Sperm Motility: This is the ability of the sperm to travel(swim). When poor motility is apparent it means that the sperm will have difficulty swimming to meet the released egg.
Sterility: The irreversible condition preventing conception.
Testosterone: The hormone responsible for the secondary sex characteristics. This hormone also provides the sex drive and is vital in the development of sperm.
Ultrasound: An examination of the reproductive organs using an internal or external scanner (not an xray). Used to monitor follicle development and endometrium thickness.
Uterus (womb): The reproductive organ in the female which supports the developing foetus.
Vasectomy: Can be either accidental or elective surgical separation of the vasa deferential. In elective cases is used as a form of contraception.